Similarly to the 1920s which began with the Spanish Flu Pandemic the 2020s have hardly been a stroll in the park so far.
But like the rich and brilliant iconic era that sprung from a post-war period of lockdown and depression, like a phoenix from the ashes the arts will rise again and kick start this decade!
And with the centenary of roaring twenties well and truly upon us Birmingham based dance company, The Swing Era, is coming back fighting with a relaunch of their incredibly successful dance school and their diverse event offerings.
In 2014 Martyn Nelson, founder of The Swing Era, embarked on a mission to teach the people of Birmingham how to Lindy Hop and they have recently proudly celebrated their seventh anniversary!
From the humble beginnings of offering the metropolitan town of Moseley Lindy Lessons dance classes quickly expanded to include Lindy Levels, Solo Jazz and the occasional specialist lesson in Shag, Shim-Sham or Jitterbug. This only grew dancer’s knowledge and appreciation of dances from the 1920s all the way through to the 1950s.
As the community grew so did the call for social events including freestyle dance evenings, Big Band Nights, holiday celebrations, drop-in classes and trips to the bothy for some after-class fun.
He has created a beautiful and loving community in Birmingham and the Midlands. When you step into a Lindy lesson you immediately enter a group of people with a common interest. With the additional connections the groups have on various social media platforms you’ll instantly feel part of the family.
But they have an events department too! Filled with everything you could possibly need to make any upcoming events the perfect homage to the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.
Again, this began somewhat incongruously with requests to the company for dancers to appear at themed events to set the scene for visitors.
Noticing a niche in the market for different packages for vintage events, with the rise in popularity of television programmes like Peaky Blinders putting the West Midlands on the map and realising the centenary of the 1920s was not that far away, The Swing Era Events Department was launched.
Pre-pandemic their events went from strength to strength diversifying into the Wedding and Hen Parties, Birthday Celebrations and Corporate Events providing everything from First Dance Choreography, Swing Bands, DJs, MCs, Live Performances, Taster Classes, Flash Mobs and Decoration at events and festivals all over the Midlands. They had even branched out into school workshops and corporate team building programmes run over six weeks concluded by a performance.
By expanding into events they have increased brand awareness of the company locally and nationally and raised funds to boost their dance community.
Of course, during the last year and a half The Swing Era has had to close many of its services to uphold the government coronavirus laws and guidelines, but they have been able to run online workshops in Jazz and Lindy Hop.
With a team of amazing instructors desperate to get back in the classroom and a huge community of passionate dancers, this company will be one to watch over the next few months, relaunching their events department when restrictions lift and hoping to bring back their dance school in September! So keep an eye on The Swing Era Website, Social Media or sign up to their mailing list for updates. You’ll find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
I don’t doubt that The Swing Era will be the guiding light of the decade heralding us into the new modern, new but hopefully still roaring twenties.
Is their a way your business could diversify in events? Think about how this could improve your brand visibility and internet following.
Do you already run events with your arts company?! We would love to hear from you so hit us up in the comments below!
Usually, at this point annually Art Schools, Conservatoires and Universities up and down the UK are creating performances, curating galleries and tuning up instruments to show key industry contacts (and the rest of the world) what to expect from this year’s graduating class.
Well, it’s been a crazy year and here at The Arts Business, where we believe in education to creatives, we wouldn’t want your showcase to go unseen just because of the pandemic.
So, we have compiled a list of all of the online showcases we can find and plan to visit as many of them as possible throughout the month! By doing this I hope to promote the importance of digital and social media marketing to you soon to be grads.
Have we mentioned your showcase? If not let us know and we’ll add it to the list!
Also, if you want a shoutout we are all about sharing the love on our social media so send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we will get you sorted.
Your showcase should be the best part of your course! The pinnacle of everything you’ve learnt and the direction you want to take the creative industries! Let us help you share your work with the rest of the world!
Welcome to the Grad Co! A showcase of work, created at a distance by the BCU Graphics Class of 2021.
Glasgow School of Art
Glasgow School of Art has created their own Graduate Showcase Platform during the Pandemic to exhibit the work of 2020/21 Graduates. It is being frequently updated so check back regularly! Check out the following courses:
The Glasgow School of Art’s Fashion and Textile students, like designers across the world, have responded to the challenges of the ongoing pandemic by presenting their work digitally this year. In a 20-minute showcase 16 third-year Fashion Design 26 third-year Textile Design students unveiled their latest designs using a range of approaches from stop motion animation, collage animation, abstract animation to time-lapse, motion capture, digital puppetry, projection and more.
Pieces of Us is a kaleidoscopic series of short, stand-alone solo performance works created by Guildhall School students. Written, directed, and performed by the students in lockdown isolation across the world, these original performances will provide a unique and deeply personal snapshot of the diverse range of stories, artistry and lived experiences that exist within Guildhall’s student community.
Please note that some of the Pieces of Us performances contain explicit language and adult themes.
26 Minutes | Charlie Beck | Spotlight | A clever depiction of a night out gone wrong in Nottingham told from the perspective of three local lads from three very different lives.
Becoming Lola Enitan | Tara Tijani | Spotlight | Tara Tijani shows real versatility and depth in the piece showing two sides and two possible futures, or parallel worlds, of a woman who has been victim to abuse.
BLOB| Dolly Webb | Spotlight | Effortlessly reflects the pressures put on single women both by themselves and from society, showing the ups and downs of loneliness in a beautiful production.
Blue | Millie Smith | Spotlight | What is normal? Alice Simpson (played with perfect nuances by Millie Smith) makes us question this as she sits in a waiting room weighing up whether or not to have an abortion.
Bring Me the Head of Alfio Marullo | Noah Marullo | Spotlight | A theatrical performance from Noah Marullo of an imagined conversation between Steinbeck and his friend. With a bit of lengthening and workshopping I could see this being a hit at the Fringe!
Bute Street | Hassan Najib | Spotlight | WOW! A moving portrayal of Mahmoud Mattan, the last innocent man executed in Wales, exquisitely performed by Hassan Najib.
Can we dance now? | Genevieve Lewis | Spotlight | An apt piece for the pandemic, where cases of domestic abuse have risen dramatically, Genevieve Lewis delicately explores the aftermath.
Fever | Nia Towle | Spotlight | Ever tried to win a dance competition when your period has come to life and your archnemesis’ mum is on the judging panel? No?! Well then, watch the hilarity ensue.
half-self. | Zachary Nachbar-Seckel | Spotlight | Opening with a beautifully written and performed folk song we see an affray between two brothers in a therapists office… or are they?
High Road | Felix Newman | Spotlight | Watch the meteoric rise and catastrophic fall of a Tour De France Champion Cyclist performed with easy naturalism by Felix Newman.
Hoxton Hall | Aoife Gaston | Spotlight | An important piece of theatre during the #BLM campaigns, set in the 1970s and shrewdly showing us how in some ways we’ve come do far, yet in others, we’ve still got so far to go.
little finger | Hope Kenna | Spotlight | The portrayal of an acrophobic mother struggling with post-natal depression, living in a shed and trying to overcome issues from her past. Very moving.
Mashiach | Dan Wolff | Spotlight | What does being Jewish mean in the 21st Century? Dan Wolff tells us the facts in this semi-autobiographical, darkly comic monologue.
妈妈 (Mum) | Brandon Grace | Spotlight | When an overbearing mother doesn’t understand the cultural differences in her and her son’s life, she gets frozen out, but does absence make the heart grow fonder?
Pepper Spray | Levi Brown | Spotlight | 1984 meets Peep Show crossed with The End of the F***ing World. A little experimental, a little bizarre but completely genius.
Scotland – Yard | Umi Myers | Spotlight | The story of a radio DJ trying to figure out who she is, living in Scotland but with Jamaican heritage she starts to explore her ancestral roots.
SIX BLANKS | Sam Thorpe-Spinks | Spotlight | Juxtaposing images and footage from the fateful day in 1981 when the Queen was shot at during the Trooping of the Colour, Sam Thorpe-Spinks combines great design with noteworthy acting to bring the shooter’s story to life.
Soft White Underbelly | Lily Hardy | Spotlight | You don’t need words to tell a story. A woman running from abuse in the midst of the Corona Epidemic tells her story through action and emotion.
SPLIT | Isla Lee | Spotlight | Trying to navigate the cruel world of dating with a mother struggling from mental health problems, this is a moving, relatable piece of theatre.
Three Clowns | Sonny Pilgrem | Spotlight | A poignant film illustrating the mental health struggles of so many creatives in the industry through the art of monologue and mime.
When You See Me | Alyth Ross | Spotlight | The delusional and occasionally psychotic rantings of a woman’s obsession with a man whom she has never actually met.
who, what, where? | Sheyi Cole | Spotlight | A funny mockumentary following a new artist on the rap scene and exposing his upper-middle-class roots. And I have never seen a Chicken Cottage that big!
Guildhall Jazz Orchestra with Ivo Neame | Friday 26 March, 7.30pm | Ivo Neame: Composer/Piano | Scott Stroman: Director
Guildhall Jazz Orchestra presents a programme of pianist, composer and Guildhall professor Ivo Neame’s original Big Band compositions and arrangements, including his newly composed suite The Rise of the Lizard People.
Guildhall Studio Orchestra | The Great British Songbook – The Beatles Reimagined | Thursday 1 April, 7.30pm | Malcolm Edmonstone: Director
Guildhall Studio Orchestra draws upon the legacy of the Lennon and McCartney songbook in this performance broadcast from Milton Court Concert Hall. The orchestra will perform reworkings of hits including In My Life, Eleanor Rigby and Yesterday in concert.
Guildhall Big Band | A History of Big Band: 1930s & 40s – The Swing Era | Friday 9 April, 7.30pm Matt Skelton: Director | Colin Skinner: Director/Saxophone
For their third concert in their History of Big Band series the Guildhall Big Band welcomes band leader, arranger and saxophonist Colin Skinner as special guest director and soloist. The performance will span the 1930s, 40s and immediate post War transition from the Swing Era.
A student arts festival where students have not only devised and developed there own shows and companies but have explored web development, graphic design, social media management and video editing to promote their work.
Little Bird | Charlotte Elizabeth & Alexa Godfrey Evans
98228 | Holly-Eden Docherty | An audio adaptation of Leon Greeman’s An English Man in Auschwitz
Still Waiting for Godot | Mattia Centaro & Jake Venning | Whilst I was at uni, my course devised a sequel called Listening to Godot so I really love this idea!
Lost | Georgia Dudley | Exploring the concept of being and feeling lost in this bizarre world.
My Darling Pan | Twist Theatre | Abbie Roberts & Jacob Marriott
Pros Elysium | Keziah Chalkly, Breagha Mason, Annia Eldridge & Jazmin Price | How far would you be willing to go to find out who you are?
The Hidden Truth | Caitlin Cole-Irving & Casey Egerton
2020 Vision | Scarlet Gb Potter | A brave 12-hour improvised performance about the year that was 2020.
Encore Arts | Chloe Soby & Cecily Reid | Facebook | Instagram | A community theatre company grown in lockdown which puts students at the heart of their online drama and dance workshops.
It’s Freddie | Robbie Bond | A cross between Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project and Beckett’s Not I, It’s Freddie was a great take on the modern one-man play.
Please Don’t Tell | Once Upon A Time | Instagram | YouTube | Fairy tales reimagined by a Young Girl figuring out lockdown, told with simple but beautiful props, lighting and puppetry techniques from her bedroom.
Interactors | Audio Guide and Instructions found here | An opportunity to solve a mystery with accompanying audio guide and clues. Cleverly designed and following the trend of the creative industries to create more audio entertainment with Covid Measures.
Claes Horse Productions | Finding Yourself Without Hope | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | A unique perspective of the Scottish Referendum from the point of view of Glaswegian Teenagers of the time cleverly made within Covid Guidelines, complete with an excellent website and Social Media to boot. Watch the show on YouTube.
Man, I miss the cinema! Indra manages to capture the novelty of cinema visits, which just can’t be achieved with Netflix! This darkly comic commentary of women in horror movies makes us reassess how women are depicted in the wider media through a clever balance of highly comedic and sinisterly serious moments.
An incredibly apt perception of life during the pandemic: never before has life passed so slowly yet so quickly at the same time. Originally intended to be a walk from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to Greenock in 10 days, best friends Jack MacMillan and Grant Swanson redesigned their project to meet corona guidelines showing us the sites of Edinburgh and beyond. It is inspirational to see the mental health benefits of a healthy lifestyle! Have fun storming the castle lads!
The Unholy Knight gave me some serious Assassin’s Creed vibes as we follow a lone templar discover what is true and what is legend. An ingenious soundscape combined with voiceover and beautiful film work meant the viewer was fully immersed in the story. Concluding with an awesome original rock song paralleled with mystical characters, evil potions and powerful symbols the piece came to an epic end! Genuinely brilliant!
Content Here | Althea Young | Instagram | 26th March @ 8.30pm | Binaries of reality and surreality, absence and presence overlap as objects become the main performers in a show that interrogates the relationship between art, artist and the act of living | BOOK TICKETS
Taking you into the world of the surreal, where inanimate objects appear more real than humans and the in-between is fully explored. It is a truly imaginative way to get the audience to rethink what they see in the world and ask themselves questions like: Is gender a construct? Is it hard to be an Artist? Does love have no boundaries? Also, on a side note, as a theatre technician in a past life, that is one beautifully coiled cable!
Before this piece even began, I already felt connected to it. After all, who of us over the last year haven’t woken up and wanted to stay under their duvet until they are “empty and new and ready to continue.” Simple, yet beautifully staged with insightful AV, a gorgeous soundtrack and the odd duvet dance Forest makes us all feel a little bit less lonely and a little bit more connected.
In light of the recent Megan and Harry Interview with Oprah there is no better time to take a satirical look at the talk show. Follow in the epic rise and catastrophic fall of chat show host The Real Cosmopolitan who interacts live on social media to enhance the show’s realism. An insightful production with excellent attention to detail even includes terms and conditions, advert breaks and influencer promotions as we get an insight into the dark world of showbiz.
6678… | Holly Worton | 27th March @ 8.30pm | Instagram | Do you remember when you were young? What music did you listen to? Who did you listen to it with? | BOOK TICKETS
When you’re stuck at home in lockdown, with limited contact to the outside world, surrounded by only your family for company, who better to pull into your production than your little brother! This sibling relationship is put under the microscope with dyed hair and festival lights Holly shows us that even when you’re all grown up, you’re never too old to enjoy a trampoline. Honest and Heartwarming theatre.
Opening in a cabaret setting, we are part of Minnie Crook’s family reunion. We sit and relive memories through Minnie’s eyes, old fuzzy VCR footage manipulated with moving folk music and the slow-mo function turned on so that we might remember moments as she does. This humble offering evokes incredibly powerful emotions, and there is something about Irish dancing in a village hall that immediately puts a smile on your face. Brilliant.
If you had an opportunity to confront your past selves what would you say? And how would you feel? Would you be a little bit less lonely? Rachel Mclean talks to photographic portraits of herself, discussing her lifetime spent alongside the ups and downs of mental illness. In this fearless monologue Rachel reminds us that it’s ok not to feel ok, and that however trapped you may think you are, there is always hope: “If I am brave enough to see the light, I am brave enough to be it.”
Mother’s Milk | Sally Charlton | 28th March @ 8.30pm | Instagram | Twitter | In a space cluttered with discarded costumes and glasses of milk, a single female body dresses, undresses, drinks and dances again and again in a choreographic attempt to embody the lineage of women that brought her into being | BOOK TICKETS
With an exploration into key moments in her personal history and a balletic milk sequence which I can only liken to Las Vegas Fountains of Bellagio, Sally Charlton analyses the importance of understanding where we come from with a shrewd look at the all-important mother-daughter and the often-overlooked grandma-granddaughter relationships.
BA Performance in BSL & English
I had no idea this course existed. What an excellent way to ensure equality in the performers and performances of the future!
Enough | by Stef Smith | Irina Vartopeanu & Amy Murray | A high energy, energetic interpretation of this hilarious extract from Stef Smith’s Enough. A real ‘Girls on Tour’ vibe, but are they friends or enemies?
Laurie & Kate | by Emery Hunter | Emery Hunter | Beautiful and versatile monologue to be performed by stage or screen which has an element of truth to any viewer.
Boys | by Ella Hickson | Amy Helena & Benedetta Zanetti | Performed with delicate subtlety: after grief, can things ever be like they once were? Also, one of the best seagull impressions I have ever seen!
Speaking Tongues | by Andrew Bovel | Emery Hunter & Claire Wetherall | We’ve all heard that to get over someone you need to get under someone else! This discussion descends from sympathy to pure sass in the girl’s bathroom of a club!
My Angry Vagina | by Eve Ensler | Amy Murray | This well-known extract from The Vagina Monologues has been perfectly reimagined for any audience by Amy Murray with excellent facial expression and actions. I LOVED IT!
Miss Julie | by August Strindberg (trans. By Michael Meyer) | Claire Wetherall & Neil Shand | A naïve, innocent girl desperate for attention (playfully performed by Claire Wetherall) seduces a man (cool, calm and sexily portrayed by Neil Shand) who knows the game only too well.
Greenland | by Moira Buffini| Emery Hunter & Benedetta Zanetti | A mockumentary stylised piece with excellent comic timing, showing a relationship that begs the question: Should opposites attract?
Hoors | by Gregory Burke | Amy Murray & Amy Helena | Questioning the five stages of grief and climaxing in hysterical rehearsed crying this scene was hilarious from start to finish.
Beg | by Kate O’Reilly | Neil Shand | Cunningly staged and filmed with Neil Shand slowly advancing onto the viewer this monologue felt incredibly intense and claustrophobic as if there would be no escape.
a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) | by Debbie Tucker-Green | Benedetta Zanetti & Irina Vartopeanu | This felt like a scene pulled from the Academy Award-winning Birdman in its unique composition and stand out performances covering many different levels of a relationship.
When Our Daddies Come | Author Unknown | Claire Wetherall | The eerie soundtrack, disturbing voiceover and striking physical theatre combine to create an overwhelmingly effective piece about child abuse.
Glory on Earth | by Linda McLean | Whole Company | Showcasing everyone at their best the Class of 2021 show us we are never more alive than when we are afraid.
The University of the Arts, London, has created their own Graduate Showcase Platform during the Pandemic to exhibit the work of Graduates across all of their colleges. It is frequently updated and gives you an amazing taste of the sort of creative endeavours taking place at the institution from the Class of 2020 and 2021.
The BA (Hons) Graphic Design class of 2021 have taken matters in their own hands to produce an online showcase of their work. 26 students have 75 projects all of which are worth checking out! So what are you waiting for?