Tag Archives: the Albany

Food: A Universal Language

IMG_5060 2 With the warm summer months quickly coming up Justin Stathers, the Cafe Supervisor at Deptford Lounge, thinks about the importance of food, and even suggests a yummy smoothie to try out at home:

As I write, the birds are singing and the blossoms are heavy on the trees. Bees and butterflies meander aimlessly across azure skies, and the warm rays of the sun hint almost too optimistically at the summer to come, like a trailer that gives away all the best bits of the film. With this sudden turn for the bright and glorious has come that most mouth-watering of summer’s harbingers, the smell of barbecues wafting over neighbourhoods throughout the land. Indeed, it seems that if we want to celebrate something, our first instinct is to fête it with food.

Wakes and weddings, partings and homecomings, high days, holy days, and rainy days at home all feature food and drink as an essential ingredient to proceedings. What would birthdays be without cake, leaving without drinks, or dates without dinner? Sad and unsatisfying, that’s what. But why is feasting such a universal language? The obvious answer is that it’s essential to life. Our everlasting battle against our oldest enemy, the proverbial wolf at the door Mr Starvation, compels us to spend much of our lives either earning our food (whether by hunting the mammoth amid the frozen taiga or by hiking the margin amid the frozen assets) or consuming it. Indeed, the average UK resident is estimated to spend an average of 31,200 hours eating and drinking in their lifetime. If it takes a mere 10,000 hours to completely develop a skill, then no wonder humans are, as a species, are the ancient Shaolin masters when it comes to the art of food-fu.

Collectively, we are a hungry Paganini playing a Stradivarius made of delicious grub. Whatever the cause of its appeal, food’s been a big focus this month at the Albany, with a grand sprucing-up of the main café, a swathe of delicious new treats for every time of day at the Deptford Lounge, and, last week, Selina Thompson’s moving and hilarious show about our relationship with what and how we eat Chewing the Fat. We’ve also just had the first round of our very own Great Albany Bake-Off, which has already resulted in some truly spectacular creations that, after the judging was completed and the winner declared, were demolished almost as quickly as the loser’s pride. With summer barbecues, brand new dishes, and the inimitable work of pioneering foodie group In A Pikkle all on the Albany’s agenda for the coming months, we and all our visitors will be eating, drinking and making merry to our heart’s content. Oh, and one more thing – just in case the summer turns out to be as good as the trailer, here’s how to make the best cooler ever.

Tropical Iced Smoothie (serves 4)

You need:

1 medium pineapple, chopped or 1 tin pineapple chunks

1 large mango, chopped or 1 tin mango pieces

4 tbsp natural yoghurt

200ml orange juice

Ice

Vodka or gin (optional)

Method: 1. Peel and drain the fruit. Place them in a bowl and freeze overnight. 2. Take a blender and pour in the fruit juice and optional spirits. 3. Add the yoghurt. 4. Add the ice. 5. Pour warm water over the fruit to separate the chunks, and add them all to the blender. 6. Blend thoroughly, pushing the frozen fruit right down into the blades, until the mixture is perfectly smooth. 7. Pour into glasses, garnish with a pineapple slice and cocktail umbrella. 8. Sip, trying to avoid crippling brain-freeze while imagining yourself languishing on a tropical beach somewhere.

Justin Stathers, Cafe Supervisor, Deptford Lounge

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The Penguin in the Room

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This week we opened our doors to Dep Arts and Slung Low for unique family treat Emergency Story Penguin on Wednesday 22 April until this Sunday 26 April. This exciting, interactive family adventure starts in the foyer, takes you on a submarine, out into Antarctica, back onto the submarine and hopefully, if you’ve managed to power the submarine well enough, back home safe and sound with a penguin that you’ve rescued. Sounds exciting, right? We decided to test this theory by inviting two local primary schools in to be the first to go on this adventure. Our Marketing Assistant, Rachel McCall, lets us know how it all went down.

Wednesday saw two classes from Invicta Primary School come in for the first of two days of staff-led workshops and an exclusive showing of Emergency Story Penguin. Now I won’t lie to you here, myself and the rest of the team doing to the workshops were a little nervous, we were about to be swarmed by 60 five to six year olds, this is enough to put the fear in anyone who has made the conscious decision not to work as a teacher, but non-the-less we had done our prep, had a couple of coffees and we’re hyped up to go. The students arrived absolutely buzzing with infectious energy and within five minutes we were totally hooked on working with them. We took them on a tour around the back stage of the theatre, gave them a go at radioing the technicians and cuing the lights and sound effects, asked them to make their own play, and tested their theatre knowledge (which was impressively advanced). They then went to see the play, and we met them hour later to see how it had gone, the feedback was a thrilling mixture of ‘YAY’, ‘awesome’ and ‘that was so cool’; we’d call that a success!

And so Thursday morning dawned, and us weary work-shoppers dragged our aching bodies out of bed and into the Albany just in time to prep for the next school, St Winifred’s RC Infant School, who arrived with 60 new excited students. Once all florescent vests had been piled in a corner, we got down another day of workshops, theatre tours and Emergency Story Penguin shows. By the end of the day we all agreed that, although exhausted, we were sad that we’d only planned two days of schools and that it’s definitely something we’d love to do again.

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Some of the audience feedback from our schools performances.

Rachel McCall, Marketing Assistant, The Albany

There are still three days to catch Emergency Story Penguin. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Project New Moon, a Chinese New Year Celebration

We’re celebrating Chinese New Year in style at the Albany with Chinese Arts Space’s, Project New Moon. To let us know more about these celebrations, Creative Director David Tse has interviewed some of the artists involved in the show. projectnewmoon Chinese Arts Space Director, David Tse, gathered some of the most cutting-edge Chinese and East Asian artists in the UK to create work based around their creative interpretation of the moon.  He wanted to reflect on the significance China’s historic Chang’e Mission lunar landing in December 2013. He commissioned British composers Ruth Chan and Andy Leung, as well as choreographers Julia Cheng and Quang Kien Van, to make 15 minutes of new work each as part of Project New Moon. Once David had left his four artists to create their work, he decided it was time to check in and see how it was all going.

First up, composer Ruth Chan:ruthchan ‘My new music piece, Moon’s Magmatism, allows me to collaborate with an exciting bunch of international musicians. I was keen to integrate Chinese and Western instruments together, so I am collaborating with a variety of musicians and we play against a video backdrop by Lavin Lee. My starting point was the relationship between the earth and moon, culminating in the crowning achievement of human exploration; landing on the moon. All this inspired me to compose my piece. My music is in three sections, representing a chronology of the moon: its birth and gravitational effects on earth; humanity’s evolving fascination and development of lunar mythologies; and technological advances leading to the Apollo and Chang’e landings.’

Next, David spoke with composer Andy Leung:andyleThe New Cola is loosely inspired by the moon because I wanted to explore modern society’s addiction to the internet and the effect that night-time has upon that. From the moon’s perspective, we can see humanity; the speed and information overload from mass media communication. My music is characterised with eclectic beats, pulsing rhythms and a stroke of jazz drumming as a foundation, decorated with experimental samples, ‘chiptune’ synthesizer and inspired by multiple electronic music sub-genres. Erhu is re-imagined for the 21st century. Armed with a foot-controller effects pedal, the traditional erhu is able to produce a growling bass-line, distorted tone and ‘out-of-this-world’ special effects. I am making this piece a pioneering collaboration, played alongside a punchy video backdrop.’ David then turned his attention to the choreographers.

Next up, Julia Cheng: juliacheng ‘While researching Silver Moon, my female trio of dancers and I explored the areas between the dark and moonlight, between harmony and unrest, where shimmers of each reside and reflect waves of motion. I looked at the elements, the glistening of water rebounding moonlight, whilst exploring the constantly changing faces and phases of being an individual, and the effects and reactions to connections that we make in life.’

Finally, David spoke with Quang Kien Van: wuangv ‘My choreography for Lunar Orbits is a visual poem married to a fantastic piece of new music composed by Philip Feeney. It is a response to the resplendent beauty and deep mystery of the moon. Drawing from ancient myth and modern science, the work ponders notions of deep space and time and our ephemeral existence amongst the stars, amidst the ever-expanding abyss. Throughout my creative process, I have been inspired by a quote from physicist Richard Feynman, ‘Perhaps if more people were willing to live with doubt and uncertainty in their lives, there would be fewer conflicts in the world?’

If this has whet your appetite then don’t miss your opportunity to see exciting new work in Project New Moon on Saturday 21 February, 7.30pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Phenomena: Lulu’s Guide to Love & Physics

luluFrom Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 February, Sounds like Chaos and the Albany present Uncover Theatre’s, Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics. To get us in the mood for a journey of discovery, Lulu, one of the young artists, has written about her experience:

I have been with Uncover Theatre Company for nearly six years, joining the group at twelve when it was called Dig Deptford. Throughout this time we have worked together with Sounds like Chaos (Gemma Rowan and Roisin Feeny) to make our performances. At first I can remember being the youngest in the group and what it felt like to be around older teenagers who were all so different, but all of us, regardless of age, ability or who we would hang out with outside the group, shared a love of drama and performance and I felt at home. For the past six years that feeling of home when I’m at Uncover has grown and I have met most of my closest friends there. So for me Uncover has really shaped me as a person and when I’m there I don’t have to be anyone else but me. And I think that this closeness within the group is what makes us and our shows unique.

When I first joined, we produced small scale performances that parents and friends would come and see. The first show we made was performed in the small room we rehearsed in. From there we took part in National Theatre Connections and also performed some of our own devised small scale plays. Through all of this the group found its own identity; we became Uncover Theatre, writing our own plays about young people and performing them as ourselves. We produced Euphoria, performed in the Albany theatre, When it’s Night Time, performed on the roof of Deptford Lounge and at the Southbank Centre. Our current play, Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics, will run for three nights in the Albany theatre in February. All three of these plays have our own stamp on them and show the ways young people have fun, fall in love, party, cry and live.

We recently received Arts Council funding for Phenomena, which wasn’t because we’re kids from a bad borough, but because our work is at a professional level. In the past our plays have had an audience mainly made up of family and friends, With this show we wanted to do something new. We feature in the Albany’s main programme alongside other professional artists, because this piece isn’t just for family and friends, but for people who love going to the theatre and watching professional shows, because we’re not ‘just youth theatre’, we’re theatre.

I am also a spoken word artist and I used to dance and play music. As a young performer it can be hard to be taken seriously. But just because we’re young doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re doing.  We have our own unique ways of viewing the world, with all of its problems and beauties. We don’t just want to be viewed as participants. We are artists in our own respects and we should not be seen as anything less. We have our own energy and language and through our art we can share this. But how do we change people’s perception of youth arts, in my case, youth theatre? It seems that people think of it as plays written for young people and never by them. They think that the level of acting is going to be for parents to be proud of, not for an audience member to be blown away by. They think that youth theatre isn’t something that can be seen as professional, but in my opinion Uncover and so many other groups have proved this wrong.

Check out the trailer for Phenomena here:

Come and watch Uncover’s Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics on Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 February 7.30pm at the Albany, and see what youth theatre is really about.

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Louise Orwin finds out if she’s pretty or ugly

PRETTY UGLY PROMO 2_billboard

Over the next week actor and live-artist Louise Orwin will be with us for her show Pretty Ugly running Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 February, and to also develop her new show A Girl and a Gun. Exploring the dark world of teenage girls asking people to rate their looks online, Pretty Ugly involves roller-skating, lip-syncing and some alarming statistics. Louise Orwin let’s us know a bit more about it:

In 2013 I became someone else online.  And when I say someone else, I actually mean three people: three teenage girls.

It happened after I came across a specific YouTube trend.  Reader, I dare you: google this now: ‘am I pretty or ugly YouTube’. If you did that, you might understand my immediate horror. If you don’t fancy taking a stroll down into the YouTube gutter, let me explain. This is a YouTube trend in which young girls, largely aged between 8 and 14, post a video of themselves asking viewers to rate their looks. You’d be right to assume its best not to read most of the comments posted below these videos. And there are comments, lots of them. Currently, there are around half a million of these videos on YouTube.

My journey down the YouTube rabbit hole began back in 2012 when I was researching how teenage girls are using the internet, and in particular social media today.

Around that time I was becoming a bit obsessed with the kind of language they use. When I say language, I mean the language of the internet: fashions in fonts and acronyms and video-editing, self-referential memes, and the abyss of circular re-blogging. This was a world of sideways smiley faces; the un-ironic posting of emo video diaries; a world of ‘thinspiration’ sites sitting in the same blogosphere as hello-kitty-fan-blogs; a world where teen suicide videos went viral at the same rate as Justin Bieber’s stratospheric rise to fame.

I was intrigued about how this very specific teenage voice and language was being assimilated into the mainstream, and I began to wonder what it all meant.

Then I came across my first pretty/ugly video. Recoiling in horror, as I watched I had one thought going round my head: ‘WHY?’

I couldn’t stop mentally asking this young girl why she was doing this, and then, I couldn’t stop asking myself whether I would do it. The next step was obvious for me. I wanted to know how it would feel to post a video like this, and what the effect might be. So I devised an experiment. I came up with three generic teenage identities, made some very quick, very lo-fi videos, posted them on YouTube, and sat back to wait for the results.

I won’t tell you the whole story (you can come and see the show for that) but I can tell you it was addictive, and thrilling (in the worst way), and eye-opening. I can tell you my videos attracted a lot of attention, and I can tell you that this journey didn’t end there. The videos were online for a year before I took them down. The show tells the whole story of what happened in that year – from the responses to the video, to the people I met along the way.

I’m so excited that Pretty Ugly is coming to the Albany this week – it’s a hugely important show for me, both artistically and politically. And it feels right to be bringing this show to an organisation who understands how important it is to let teenagers speak honestly about their lives, through programmes like Uncover.

Alongside the show, I’ve also worked with young teens through organisations such as Girl Guiding UK, have given talks on the project (e.g. Southbank Centre’s festival Web We Want), and have a blog to help raise awareness about the kind of issues the show covers. You can find more here www.louiseorwin.com  and here: www.prettyorugly.wordpress.com

I’m also thrilled to be here at the Albany for the next two weeks starting work on my new show A Girl and A Gun, which will be premiering later this year. It’s in the very early days, but really wonderful to be working on a new project. If you’d like to keep up to date with the show’s progress, I’m blogging about it here: www.louiseorwin.com/blog

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For your chance to see how Louise was rated, come along to Pretty Ugly Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 February at 8pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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The Making of The Life & Loves of a Nobody

Third Angel‘s The Life & Loves of a Nobody follows the life of a nobody, Rachel, who dreams of joining the circus and having her name in the spotlight; it scratches the surface of the world’s fascination with celebrity and relentless pursuit of fame. Co-Artistic Director Alexander Kelly gives us some insight into the process of making this productionwhich has its only London performances here 3-7 February:

We [Third Angel] pulled together our existing research [for The Life & Loves of a Nobody] from a variety of sources:

  • A 30 minute solo piece Rachael [Walton, Co-Artistic Director of Third Angel] had written and performed a couple of years ago, called All About The Full Stops, about a girl who runs away to the circus, looking for love and escape (and doesn’t find either).
  • Some more recent texts Rachael wrote in response to a week’s R&D at ARC in September [2013], and for mala voadora & Mundo Perfeito’s 10 Anos Marathon Performance in October.
  • Research about the life of Joseph Grimaldi (particularly The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew McConnell Stott).

We talked about circuses, talent shows, entertainment as social control. We watched some Black Mirror and some Hunger Games. We revisited Chris Bachelder’s Bear v Shark. We talked about how contestants on (things like) The X-factor talked about how this was their “one chance”, their “only chance”, how they “couldn’t go back” to their other lives. And we thought about how those opportunities to escape always seem to be to allow one person to escape a long way, at the expense of those around them, rather than helping everyone escape by a shorter distance…

When we’re making work, what we’re often trying to find, is what the task of telling the story is in this project, how that task explores what we want the show to be about. By this point on The Life & Loves of a Nobody, we were using the phrase “storybook” to describe how the show works, and building images for different chapters. And the show was in traverse. The process felt like a familiar, older one. And here’s a thing. I don’t know if other companies do this, but when we’re making new work we talk (to each other at least), about which of our earlier shows the new show shares a heritage with. Which point does the new piece branch off from? With this piece we feel a connection back through 9 Billion Miles from Home, through Believe The Worst, to Experiment Zero and The Killing Show. It’s the feel of the world, the balance of narrative, text, task and the visuals and environment of the show. I’m excited about that…

The very first version of the show, called All About The Full Stops, contained the image of the narrator, as a young girl, sitting on the sofa with her grandad, watching old films and musicals on a black and white TV. Mention of it was no longer than that last sentence, but Rachael and I had both commented on how we liked it. As we’ve moved sections and text around this week, things got bumped, gaps appeared. And then Rachael called me one evening to read me a new text for one of the gaps. The image of the girl, watching movies with her grandad, revisited and stayed with us for longer.

I love the way moments like this point back to show you the way you have come, help you map your own journey to where you’ve got to – and, I guess, help you understand what’s going on in what you’ve got. They remind you of your early thoughts and interests in these ideas, in this material. Look, this is where it started. This has been here all along.

Excerpts from the Third Angel blog, written by Co-Artistic Director Alexander Kelly

The Life & Loves of a Nobody runs Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 February. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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When We Were Little…

Third Angel Life & Loves brochure image

Kicking off our thrilling Spring season, celebrated theatre makers Third Angel bring The Life & Loves of a Nobody to Deptford. As the title suggests, it follows the life of an apparent nobody, who has dreamed of running away with the circus and achieving fame since she was little. Exploring celebrity, identity and childhood dreams, this production is sure to pack a punch, and undoubtedly hit home with many of us. To get us excited for the show, Third Angel have asked the Albany team to join the #WhenIWasLittle bandwagon and answer what we wanted to be or do when we were little. Have a look at what some of us have said:

 

The Life & Loves of a Nobody is here Tuesday 3 – 7 February. For more information and to book tickets, click here. Join the #WhenIWasLittle conversation on our Twitter @TheAlbanySE8 and @thirdangeluk.

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