Friday, 7 August 2020

NEWS: Film documentary of Other Music sees cinematic release at end of August.

Other Music documentary announces wide North American digital release on Aug. 25, distributed by Factory 25
After a cancelled theatrical run due to Covid, the film was released via record stores and theatres helping them make thousands while their doors were closed
"One of the world's greatest record stores gets a fitting eulogy.”
-John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Watch the latest trailer here
Brooklyn, New York (August 7, 2020) - Factory 25 is pleased to announce the wide digital release on Aug. 25 of Other Music, a documentary about the legendary NYC record store that closed in 2016. The store helped launch the careers of countless indie stars. The film will be available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, etc.
The film was slated to have a theatrical run in April which was cancelled just as Covid hit.  The filmmakers made lemonade out of lemons by partnering with over 200 temporarily-shuttered record stores and theaters on a Virtual Cinema release, which raised over 25k dollars for those places in a time when it was desperately needed. Tickets to stream the film were sold via the partners with 50% of the proceeds going to the store or theater in need. The cancelled April theatrical release was planned for the week of Record Store Day, and this wide digital release will coincide with the week of Record Store Day's rescheduled 'RSD Drops' event.
The film delves into the iconic New York City record store's influence with appearances by Tunde Adebimpe (TV On the Radio), Jason Schwartzman, Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Matt Berninger (The National), Janeane Garofalo, Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and more.

"It's a story about record stores, sure, but moreover it's about the power of community, and the changing face of our cities and towns and culture. The film is a joyous celebration of creativity and the people and places that matter in this life. And it feels all the more relevant today." - Josh Madell, Former Owner of Other Music

Other Music was an influential and uncompromising New York City record store that was vital to the city’s early 2000s indie music scene. But when the store is forced to close its doors due to rent increases, the homogenization of urban culture, and the shift from CDs to downloadable and streaming music, a cultural landmark is lost. Through vibrant storytelling, the documentary captures the record store’s vital role in the musical and cultural life of the city, and highlights the artists whose careers it helped launch including Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, William Basinski, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sharon Van Etten, The Rapture and TV On The Radio.

NEWS: Nick Kingswell shares his new single, 'Homesick'.

Australian singer/songwriter Nick Kingswell sold his house and belongings and moved to London in an effort to push his music career. Drawing on his memories of Australia’s oceans, beaches and open landscapes, Kingswell runs these through the gritty filter of London’s big city. His music delivers a cinematic feel, layered with dynamic movement and intricate guitars, all tempered with a deep emotionality.

Kingswell provides a musical safe haven for listeners, through his heartfelt, gentle vocals and thoughtful lyrics. Reminiscent of artists such as Fink, Bon Iver, and James Vincent McMorrow, the songwriter presents his own take on indie folk, bestowing a ponderous serenity and something all his own.

His latest album Brontide is a stunning collection of 12 tracks, written peripherally while trying to focus in on a distant feeling. A feeling you can’t quite comprehend, or is just beyond your reach. Kingswell shares, “I covered a lot of ground on Brontide. Both lyrically and sonically. Brontide is the low sound of distant thunder, and my take on that is evident in these songs. They’re the closest I’ve gotten to the truth.” Produced by James Bunton, the album speaks about hope, with even the saddest of songs leaning towards finding a light at the end of the tunnel.

Leading single “Homesick” narrates Kingswell’s move from Australia to the UK. He confides, “I love living in the UK and I feel equally as lucky to get to go home to a place like Phillip Island. It’s the best of both worlds. But the feeling of being homesick comes and goes. It’s like that whole idle hands idea. As long as I’m busy and happy and in touch with my family regularly, I can make it work.” The track highlights evolving feverous guitars, organic instrumentation and raw vocals, resulting in a candid and relatable anthem.

“There’s No Cure” tackles regret and everything that comes in hand with it. It speaks about how acknowledging past mistakes is a great way of moving on. Featuring honest, personal lyrics and glowing piano melodies, it’s a simple yet poignant song, sure to warm the heart.

Then there is, “Now I’m Gone”. Stemming from the day he decided to leave Australia for good, the song is fuelled with emotion, coming to life through ethereal harmonies, resonating guitar melodies and echoing string arrangements, creating a dreamy and celestial release.

Brontide showcases Kingswell’s ambition to find his own voice. He reveals, “I used some big brush strokes, but in saying that, I think I still managed to paint a picture.” Kingswell has been featured in numerous notable playlists including Spotify's "gentle acoustic", as well as Alex Rainbird's YouTube channel. Brontide is slated for release October 23rd, via Audio Network – an eOne Company.

NEWS: Birmingham Hippodrome postpones panto and remains closed until February.

The Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime, described by producer Michael Harrison as 'the UK's biggest regional panto', has been postponed.

The news comes as the central Birmingham venue has decided to close until February 2021, cancelling its festive production of The Nutcracker performed by associate artists Birmingham Royal Ballet.

CEO Fiona Allan said today: "After much discussion and heartache, we are saddened to announce that Birmingham Hippodrome will not be staging live theatre productions in our main auditorium until 1 Feb 2021 at the earliest.

"We have spoken at length with both Qdos Entertainment and Birmingham Royal Ballet, exploring various scenarios for this year's pantomime, 'Goldilocks And The Three Bears', and the annual performances of The Nutcracker. However, it is still not financially viable to host full-scale productions on our stage while social distancing remains in place.

"We are delighted to confirm that both Jason Donovan and Matt Slack will still be joining the cast of 'Goldilocks And The Three Bears' for its rescheduled dates over Christmas in 2021.

Whilst the venue continues to be unable to reopen its main auditorium for live performances, they are actively exploring other innovative and creative ways in which they can engage with audiences and the people of the West Midlands during this time.

Pantomime producers Qdos Entertainment has said that due to lack of clarity from the government, it is currently impossible to plan for pantomime productions without any certainty that they can go ahead.

Last week culture secretary Oliver Dowden announced that it may not be until November that venues will know when exactly they can recommence performances without social distancing.

NEWS: Film sequel to iconic 'Dirty Dancing' in the pipeline.


A follow-up to hit film 
Dirty Dancing is officially in the works.
Thirty-three years on from the original film, the brand new sequel will star Jennifer Grey with direction by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies).
Featuring the iconic tune "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", the film will be a full narrative successor to the cult classic, rather than a "prequel/reimagining" in a similar vein to 2004's Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Other musical hits in the film include "Hungry Eyes", "Hey! Baby" and "Do You Love Me?", with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis (Five Feet Apart) providing a screenplay. Casting beyond Grey and a release date are to be revealed.
Grey's co-star Patrick Swayze, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle, passed away in 2009 at the age of 57.
The stage version of Dirty Dancing received its West End premiere at the Aldwych Theatre in 2006, where it ran for five years. It has since gone on to tour the world and returned to the West End in 2013, playing at the Piccadilly Theatre. It then returned again to the Phoenix Theatre in 2016.
The show had a record-breaking advance of £15 million, making it, at the time, the fastest ever selling show in West End theatre history.

NEWS: Images released of socially distanced rehearsals for Regent's Park Theatre's production of Jesus Christ Superstar

'Jesus Christ Superstar' at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre: first look at socially distanced rehearsals

Photos have been released from the rehearsal room from the new staging of the show The 90-minute run of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's show will have socially distanced audiences and cast members.

Many roles in the production will be shared with different performers taking on different dates. Declan Bennett and Pepe Nufrio will share the part of Jesus, with Ricardo Afonso and Tyrone Huntley as Judas. They are joined by Maimuna Memon and Anoushka Lucas as Mary, David Thaxton (Pilate), Shaq Taylor (Herod), Ivan De Freitas (Caiaphas), Nathan Amzi (Annas), Phil King (Peter), Cedric Neal (Simon), and Genesis Lynea, Rosa O'Reilly, Elliotte Williams-N'Dure as the Soul Singers.

Completing the cast are Daniel Bailey, Dale Evans, Rosie Fletcher, Josh Hawkins, Stevie Hutchinson, Billy Nevers, Charlotte Riby, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Barnaby Thompson and Tara Young.

The creative team features Will Burton CDG and David Grindrod CDG (casting), Lee Curran (lighting design), Tom Deering (musical supervisor), Barbara Houseman (associate director, voice and text), Drew McOnie (choreography), Nick Lidster for Autograph (sound design), Tom Scutt (design), Timothy Sheader (director), Kate Waters (fight director) and Denzel Westley-Sanderson (co-director).

The piece begins its run on 14 August. Capacity in the venue has been cut from 1256 seats to 390 to allow for socially distanced performances.

NEWS: Cornwall's Minack Theatre to entertain with The Last Five Years this summer.

'The Last Five Years' outdoor revival to run at the Minack Theatre

A new outdoor production of The Last Five Years will open at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall in September.

The piece will be directed by Omar F Okai (Ruthless, Purlie, Five Guys Named Moe Frankfurt) and follows a half-decade-long relationship, being told from two different perspectives. Casting for the piece is to be revealed soon, with a six-piece band appearing in the show.

The Last Five Years, written by the Tony award-winning Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, Parade, Bridges of Madison County) tells a story of love, loss, ambition and the price we pay for all of it.

It is an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show's unconventional structure consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his story chronologically.

From an award-winning creative team with a stunning West End cast and band, this outdoor production will bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.

The Last Five Years was originally produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell, originally produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago, USA. This professional production is performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.

Full cast to be announced shortly. Tickets will be available via the Minack Theatre website, with the show running for a week from 14 to 19 September.

NEWS: A new immersive theatrical experience comes to the streets of London this summer.

An immersive digital show requiring users to download content to their phones and sync up to the performers will hit the streets of London from the end of August.

Initially created by Samuel SenĂ© and Gabrielle Jourdain and originally premiering in Paris, the piece, C-o-n-t-a-c-t allows audiences to go on a virtual journey and will be set in three initial locations – Tower Bridge, Greenwich and Clapham Common.

Audiences are able to buy tickets online, and, once they receive a link, download an app that will provide the exact location of the performance. The show will run for 50 minutes without an interval and participants can download audio from the app to listen to through headphones, which will then synchronise with that of performers.

One of the piece's producers, Katy Lipson, said: "As soon as I discovered C-o-n-t-a-c-t I was immediately drawn into the creativity and themes of the piece and recognised how relevant the material was and how it was created specifically around the times we are currently living. "As a producer, I remain committed to creating opportunities not only for audiences but for the immense talent pool we have in the UK who are currently without many opportunities to perform. I hope the city of London embraces the experience as much as the Parisian audiences."

Only 15 tickets are available per show, to allow the production to follow social distancing guidelines. C-o-n-t-a-c-t runs from 31 August to 10 October.

The UK production has book by Eric Chantelauze, English adaptation by Quentin Bruno, music and sound design by Cyril Barbessol, associate direction by Bronagh Lagan and casting by Jane Deitch.

NEWS: The Fontaines announce further UK tour dates amidst chart battle.






Fontaines D.C. have added a further four live dates to their quickly selling-out 2021 UK tour. Earlier this week the band played new album A Hero’s Death live in full for the first time online to a watching audience that topped 4000. Lockdown has not dampened appetite for live music and in the wake of selling out two nights at Glasgow’s Barrowlands, a show at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange is added. In the North West, Liverpool’s Mountford Hall will host the band after two nights at Manchester’s Academy sold out fast. Sheffield’s show at the O2 Academy has also just topped-out. Nottingham Rock City and Bath Forum complete May 2021’s new additions.
This week of course also sees the band’s universally lauded new album A Hero’s Death go toe-to-toe with global pop icon Taylor Swift’s Folklore in a battle for the #1 album spot this Friday. Anyone buying the album before midnight tonight via the band’s webstore will get access to the ticket pre-sale for the new dates, which begins at 9am on Wednesday 12th August. Anyone who has already purchased the album via the band’s webstore will automatically get access. Alternatively, those who sign up to the band’s mailing list will also get access to the pre-sale. Tickets go on general sale on the 14th August.
Buy / stream A Hero’s Death via the band’s webstore HERE
Buy / stream A Hero’s Death on all platforms HERE
UK 2021 headline tour dates are as follows
NEW - 1st May – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
NEW - 3rd May – Nottingham Rock City 
NEW - 4th May – Bath Forum 
NEW - 6th May – Liverpool Mountford Hall
7th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
8th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
10th May – Leicester De Montfort Hall
11th May – Leeds O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
12th May – Newcastle O2 City Hall
14th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
15th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
17th May – Cambridge Corn Exchange
18th May – Sheffield O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
20th May – Birmingham O2 Academy
21st May – Cardiff Great Hall – SOLD OUT
22nd May – Bristol O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
24th May – Bournemouth O2 Academy
25th May – Southampton O2 Guildhall
27th May – London Alexandra Palace
Supports TBC

Thursday, 6 August 2020

NEWS: The Barn Theatre, Cirencester announce cast for online Kander + Ebb revue musical, "And The World Goes Round".


The Barn Theatre in Cirencester and Piers Cottee-Jones have announced the casting for their new outdoor production of the Kander & Ebb musical revue The World Goes ‘Round.

The revue, which features songs from Kander & Ebb’s hit musicals including Chicago and Cabaret, will run for two weeks during the Barn Theatre’s Summer outdoor theatre festival BarnFest from 24th August to 5th September.

The World Goes ‘Round, conceived by Susan StromanDavid Thompson & Scott Ellis,
follows five individuals as they find themselves careening through the world of love, babies and coffee. From Cabaret to Chicago, the Drama Desk award-winning revue features unforgettable gems, including “Mr. Cellophane”“Maybe This Time”“Cabaret” and “New York, New York”, seamlessly interwoven into a passionate, harmonious, up-tempo evening of musical theatre.

The cast for The World Goes ‘Round will be George Arvidson (The Outpost, Les Miserables), Jenny Fitzpatrick (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Ghost), Nick Barstow (Zorro, Just So), Rosalind Ford (Once, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Ryan Carter (Motown The Musical, The Boy Friend).

The production will be directed by Kirk Jameson with musical direction by Nick Barstow. The pair have previously collaborated with the Barn Theatre on their 2018 revival production of the Stiles & Drewe musical Just SoDuring lockdown they have both been collaborating with Alice Fearn on her digital concert series Intermissions.

The theatre will be adhering stringently to all government guidelines during the festival and have released further details and information regarding the venue and procedures to keep audiences, staff and performers safe on their website here:

Areas will be divided into pods which individuals or families can purchase. Pricing for pods begins at £40 for up to 4 people with disability and premium options are also available. There are also 5 limited two-person pods per performance at a reduced price.

BarnFest, which runs until 5 September, marks the theatre’s first live theatre performances since the start of the year and includes West End musical theatre star Natasha Barnes and Vikki Stone in their new musical cabaret Funny Gals (5-8 August), Outlander star Rosie Day in Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon (10-15 August) and EastEnders star Aaron Sidwell in Scoot Theatre’s reimagined production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (29-30 August).

NEWS; TV Coma share their break-up song for the Millennial generation, "Congratulations"

- OUT 14 AUGUST 2020 -

Back with bang, South coast indie/rock quartet - TV COMA - release their latest single: ‘Congratulations’ on 14th August.

You can hold-fire on the cake and party poppers for now though. In a year where finding cause for celebration has been a challenge at the best of times, the ‘Congratulations’ on offer in TV Coma’s new single are rather aptly on the sardonic side.

More slap-in-the-face than slap-on-the-back, ‘Congratulations’ is a break-up song for the millennial generation. Written immediately after a messy split, the track recounts a fiery farewell with a former lover, while dwelling more deeply on the impossibility of truly escaping an ex in the digital age. “Congratulations, you win again...” deadpans Leo Troy, his vocal sneer stinging with venomous release as he spits lyrics of cutting sarcasm and knowing self-awareness throughout.

Opening up about ‘Congratulations’, TV Coma vocalist Leo says: 

"It's about the unexplored paradigms of modern relationships. As the first humans to publically document relationships, millenials were pioneers in dealing with the psychological impact of social media on modern day love. Congratulations explores the aftermath of this: how hard it is to get over someone when there's a 24/7 feed of what they're doing just a click away, when you see that person with another person, followed by a unique kind of acceptance.  

Coupling the elastic basslines and Coxon-esque guitars reminiscent of early Blur, with the rollicking bravado and emphatic choral hooks of Weezer at their peak, ‘Congratulations’ buzzes with an electrifying fusion of each. Reaching a critical mass of sprawling feedback, thunderous rhythms and toxic ripostes, like the relationship at the heart of the track, ‘Congratulations’ goes into an exhilarating and chaotic total melt-down. 

Recorded at The Ranch Studios in Southampton, ‘Congratulations’ was produced by Neil Kennedy (Creeper/Milk Teeth), before final mastering by Pete Lyman (Weezer/Fallout Boy) at his LA studio.

Formed in a cesspit of post-university malaise, TV COMA are a power-pop band based in Brighton. After gaining coverage on Spotify’s “Hot New Bands”  playlist, plus airplay from Radio X, BBC Introducing, Louder and Fresh On The Net, the four-piece are now gearing up for the release of WUSS, their debut full-length album. WUSS is named after an essay by Bret Easton Ellis called "Generation Wuss" which criticises the millennial generation. On their debut, TV COMA look to re-appropriate the word for their own disenfranchised generation by writing punk-flecked millennial pop songs  drawn from the personal experiences of co-frontmen and siblings Max and Leo Troy. Delving into the psychology of the disoriented 20-to-30 year old, WUSS will present a scathing, empathetic and essential new record; laying bare all facets of a generation left blinking at the lights of a rapidly changing world that they helped create, but no longer understand. 

A break up anthem for a post-truth digital age, ‘Congratulations’ is the latest single to be cut from their upcoming album: WUSS - out this Autumn. 

NEWS: Cordovas announce new album 'Destiny Hotel' out in October.


Cordovas’ new album 'Destiny Hotel', out 30th October on ATO Records, is a work of wild poetry and wide-eyed abandon, set to a glorious collision of folk and country and groove-heavy rock-and-roll. In a major creative milestone for the Tennessee-based band—vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Joe Firstman, keyboardist Sevans Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Lucca Soria and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Toby Weaver—the album harnesses the freewheeling energy of their live show more fully than ever, all the while lifting their songwriting to a whole new level of sophistication. The result is a batch of songs that ruminate and rhapsodise with equal intensity, inviting endless celebration on the way to transcendence.

Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Rick Parker (Lord Huron, Beck, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Firstman’s Atlantic Records-released debut solo album 'The War of Women'), Destiny Hotel expands on the harmony-soaked roots rock of 'That Santa Fe Channel', a 2018 release that earned abundant praise from outlets like Rolling Stone, Clash and NPR Music. Before heading to L.A., Cordovas spent over three months in their second homebase of Todos Santos (an artist community in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula), sketching dozens of songs partly sparked from their voracious reading of authors like mythologist Joseph Campbell, poet/novelist Rainer Maria Rilke, and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. And when it came time for the recording sessions—a frenetic seven-day stretch squeezed in just before stay-at-home orders took effect in response to the global pandemic—the band methodically eliminated any lyrics they deemed inconsequential.
“We wanted to strike the term ‘want’ from our music—to get rid of all the ‘Baby, baby, baby, I want this, I want that,’ and create something more useful,” says Firstman. “We needed to make sure these were songs we’d be proud to sing forever.”
But while Destiny Hotel unfolds in untold revelations on fear and ego and self-liberation, Cordovas offer up that insight without ever slipping into didacticism. In fact, much of the album radiates utter elation, each moment echoing Cordovas’ band-of-brothers kinship and extraordinary closeness: when they’re not touring the world, taking the stage at leading festivals like Stagecoach, Newport Folk and Pickathon, or hosting their own Tropic of Cancer Concert Series down in Todos Santos, Cordovas spend much of their time practicing in the barn at their communal farm home just outside Nashville. “I can’t imagine that many bands rehearse more than we do,” says Firstman, whose wife and young child also live on the farm. “We’re all here together in this wonderful space, and we’re pretty good about never taking it for granted.”
On the lead single to Destiny Hotel, Cordovas channel their unbridled joy into a soul-soothing call for radical openness. With its references to old country revivals and mid-’60s Dylan, 'High Feeling' (which features additional production, guitars & mixing from the Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada and additional backing vocals from the Black Pumas’ touring members Angela Miller and Lauren Cervantes) speaks to the pure euphoria to be found in shaking off whatever binds you (“Open up your heart, let love come through the door/Open up your mind, that’s what it’s for”).
After playing 100's of shows in support of 'That Santa Fe Channel', the band continues to hone their dynamic live performance through a weekly Facebook live stream from their farm outside Nashville. To date, the band has broadcast 56 sessions since going into self-isolation in March, regularly performing on their Facebook page.

NEWS: The Mowgli's announce virtual concert live from Brooklyn's Knitting Factory.


 -- Concert Experience Available Through Mobile App Powered by Buzznog, Launching Today --

Link to the show here:

BROOKLYN, NY (August 4, 2020) - Los Angeles indie-pop band, The Mowgli’s, are excited to announce a new virtual concert performance taking place at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory via augmented reality on mobile phones. The new app-based platform will be available for download beginning today on both iPhone and Android devices.

In support of their virtual debut, The Mowgli’s have prepared a career-spanning set of fan favorites as the music collective marks its tenth anniversary since formation in 2010. 

Says the band: “When Covid hit, like most artists, we were all concerned about not being able to play shows for a while. Luckily, this opportunity came our way, and it's unlike anything we've ever done. When we saw the technology utilized to bring the performance to life, our minds were blown. Now you can enjoy a Mowgli’s concert from anywhere, directly off your phone, and maybe scratch that concert itch we're all missing so much this year.”

By simply downloading the free app at fans have the ability to launch their digital concert-going experience on-demand wherever they please using Buzznog’s cutting edge technologies. After using the phone’s camera to virtually place the AR stage, fans can then seamlessly engage with the performance itself with a variety of interactive features including options to activate fog, lighting and other special effects on-stage; position the cameras to ensure ideal sightlines throughout each song while also offering unique perspectives across the venue space; and dial up both audience participation and background noise from the virtual crowd.  

The AR performances were shot on individual green screens and recorded in isolation by each band member to help ensure the health and safety of those involved. After the performances were recorded separately, the video footage from each member was digitized and then synced with the other bandmates, while the band’s custom backdrop videos were inserted to mirror their physical live show. . 

A virtual replica of the iconic music venue was created from scratch in close collaboration between Buzznog and the Knitting Factory. Buzznog, a direct-to-fan immersive platform for live events and activations, has provided solutions for entertainment properties globally including Rolling Loud Music Festival, Breakaway Music Festival, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Big Machine, HSU Events, and Madison Square Garden Company, among others.

We’re very excited to help usher in a new type of concert experience with Buzznog, and one of our favorite bands, The Mowgli’s! It all fits perfectly into the Knitting Factory story. We hope this is the first of many delivered from our virtual stage to you. Please enjoy, and stay safe! - James Irvine / Talent Buyer

To stay up to date on The Mowgli’s please visit For more information about Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory, make sure to visit

NEWS: Can song ease a troubled mind? Opera Online believe so, and here's how and why...

Joshua Sofaer and Wunderbar present 
Opera Helps Online
In these troubled times can the power of song help us look at a problem in a new way? 

Are you lovesick or facing divorce? 
Has your partner stopped listening to you? 
Do your children disrespect you? 
Are you isolated, or alone? 
Are you grieving someone’s death? 
Are you worried about the future? 
Have you lost your motivation? 
Are you desperate for a change?

Opera Helps.

Opera Helps began as a site-specific art project in which professional opera singers visited people in the comfort of their own homes to sing to them one to one. It harnessed the redemptive power of opera to help with participant's personal problems. Unlike therapy, or a trip to the doctor, Opera Helps doesn’t aim to cure the problem - but participants found the experience deeply affecting and have felt that their private space feels different afterwards.

Of course, due to Covid19 restrictions we cannot currently welcome strangers into our homes. Nevertheless, Opera Helps creator, internationally renowned artist and passionate opera enthusiast Joshua Sofaer, has been inspired to work with producers Wunderbar to adapt the concept for online delivery. They feel that now, more than ever, the power of live opera can be a powerful tool to help people through a time of crisis, a crisis that is causing great stress and difficulty. So, for Opera Helps Online, people with a problem are invited to contact Opera Helps to arrange for an online visit from a professional opera singer. 

Anyone can apply for an Opera Helps slot. The simple process is explained at https://operahelps.comI If it’s felt that Opera Helps can meet the applicant’s needs, an appointment will be made. Taking part is an intimate and personal experience. People who have a problem – it can be anything that they find worrying – apply to book a session and arrangements are made for a singer to meet you online. The singer will listen attentively to the participant's account of their troubles before selecting a suitable aria to sing. Face to face onscreen, the power of the voice beaming into a domestic setting creates an intense and moving experience. The participant hears music in an unfamiliar way, encouraging them to listen attentively, while focusing and reflecting on their individual problem. 

Opera Helps lasts approximately 30 minutes. It is completely free. Those who wish to take part can apply at now (or by calling 07943 939395). The project will run until mid October.

'Historically opera was always a popular art form,’ says Joshua. ‘Even 50 years ago hairdressers in Italy would sing arias as they worked. Yet now it is seen as something highbrow, for the rich and highly educated, inaccessible to most people. By relocating opera to the home in an online setting and relating it to personal problems I truly think we can introduce people to the music who wouldn’t otherwise have given it a chance.'

As a passionate opera enthusiast, Joshua found that listening to opera had a direct emotional impact on him. It reached his heart and core very quickly, had a very positive effect on his mood and he came away refreshed. Joshua sees Opera Helps as a way of introducing new audiences to his passion as well as demonstrating the transformative power of song.

A pool of 6 experienced professional singers have been specially trained by Joshua (an accredited Relational Dynamics coach) to listen appropriately, to empathise and to ask simple, open questions but not to offer advice or counselling. With little or no live work currently available, Opera Helps is providing unique work opportunities for them.

Joshua Sofaer is an entertaining, witty and erudite interviewee. Ilana Mitchell of producers Wunderbar and singers from the pool are also available for interview and limited radio singing sessions. Contact Steve Forster as above for availabilities and images. High resolution images are also available to download from 

While we cannot offer review facilities due to the nature of the project (participation in Opera Helps is a deeply private affair and confidentiality is very important), we do invite selected journalists with a genuine problem to have their own Opera Helps Online session. If this is of interest please approach Steve Forster for a call back from our telephone team for a potential ‘preview’ sample session in your own home, with a view to addressing a problem.

'We know that Opera Helps affects audiences deeply.' says Ilana Mitchell, Wunderbar's Artistic Director. ‘We strive to make work that meets its audiences in the places where they live and work, so it is a privilege to be adapting Opera Helps to bring an intimate experience to people who might be stuck at home, living through these challenging, isolating times. Working with Joshua again is a pleasure too - he's an outstanding artist producing work which, on the surface, appears deceptively simple, but is transformative, carrying extraordinary depth and attention to detail.'

Opera Helps Online is open for applications now and continues until mid October. or call 07943 939395.

NEWS: Brother Tiger announces release of new album in September.

Paradise Lost

Release date: Friday, September 11th 2020

Airplay Date: Friday, September 11th 2020

What does contentment really mean to us? Is there such a thing as a perfect life, and are we wrong for constantly yearning for something more in the distance? These weighty, generational questions are put under a microscopic lens on Brothertiger’s new album Paradise Lost, the latest release from Brooklyn-based, Ohio-hailing 30-year-old electronic pop musician John Jagos. A lush journey through oceanic textures and gorgeous, tactile synths, Paradise Lost charts Jagos’ perspective of optimistic existentialism, his lovely cloud of a singing voice hovering over the proceedings and radiating emotional honesty.

Paradise Lost is the latest exciting chapter in Jagos’ career, which began in earnest as he experimented with his own productions in college back in 2009. After uploading a few of his early creations to MySpace, he quickly attracted prominent music blog attention from outlets like Pitchfork and No Pain in Pop and found himself amidst the style of electronic pop sometimes referred to as chillwave. “The music I was already making was fitting into that vibe,” he recalls.

He released two albums—2012’s Golden Years and Future Splendors in 2013—on electronic label Mush, which counts Bibio and Daedelus in its stable; in 2015, Jagos went full-on independent by self-releasing his third album, Out of Touch. Since then, he’s released a collection of Tears for Fears covers, Brothertiger Plays: Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair, as well as last year’s A Chain of Islands EP—but when it came to making his fourth full-length, Out of Touch loomed largest in his mind. “With Out of Touch I felt like I finally found the sound I was looking to achieve,” he explains. “I used that album as a springboard for this new record, carrying forward that style while making the sonic landscape sound bigger.”

Drawing from musical inspirations ranging from the aforementioned ’80s legends Tears for Fears to Talk Talk and Prefab Sprout, Jagos has constructed a glistening melodic web across Paradise Lost‘s ten tracks as he waxes philosophical on his current city of residence and the shifting nature of his own expectations. “I’ve definitely grown a lot while being here, but it’s grown a bit tiresome to me, too,” he reflects while discussing the central themes of Paradise Lost. “New York City’s lost a lot of its glimmer when it comes to music. It’s a lot harder to make music here now, with the shutting down of DIY venues and rent increases that make it harder for artists to cultivate something. A lot of this album is about my frustrations about possibly leaving the city, as well as my yearning to escape somewhere else—if not for a brief period of time, then maybe permanently.”

Over delightfully woozy synths and a pounding backbeat, “Livin'” addresses the malaise that’s affected every generation—specifically, the pressure to live up to those that came before you, and the power of your own decision-making. “There’s always underlying pressure to be achieving certain life goals at certain ages,” Jagos explains. “The song is about doing your own thing and not worrying about how other people think you’re living your life.” Accompanied by the type of beacon-esque synth work that recalls iconic electronic duo Boards of Canada, Paradise Lost‘s title track is a melancholic reflection on what happens when we properly take in the changing world around us. “The atmosphere isn’t the same that it used to be,” Jagos expresses while discussing the song’s lyrical bent. “When I moved here, I thought of this place as a paradise for the arts. And it’s still a great place to establish a foundation, but things are harder than they used to be, which is the natural progression of human existence.”

Elsewhere, the lovingly languid “My Canopy” finds Jagos reflecting on his own personal nirvana—a place in which, he explains, “I can be where I’m content with everything. The weather’s always good, and I’m making all the music that I want, while not worrying about finances. It’s a paradise, and it’s important to find your own place that can exist in your mind.” But Jagos is quick to point out that, according to the ethos he’s laid out on Paradise Lost, that place may not exist anywhere else—and there’s nothing wrong with that. “The place you call home is never going to be perfect, no matter how much you love it,” he ruminates. “Paradise doesn’t exist, and that’s okay. And even though it’s okay to keep searching for paradise, it’s also okay to accept things the way they are.”

NEWS: Lancaster's Dukes Theatre announces fun children's theatre adventure for all the family this summer.

Arts Organisations Step out of the Box with School Holiday Adventure

Creatively bringing the excitement of theatre into families’ living rooms during the summer holidays, arts organisations The Dukes, Lancaster and the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield have collaborated with theatre producers The Big Tiny to create a new interactive theatrical experience for 7-12 year olds to enjoy at home.

Charlotte Holmes invites budding young sleuths to find clues and solve mysteries over the course of seven days, with an Adventure Box packed with games, activities, puzzles and links to online content and recorded performances with actors.

Set in 1940, Charlotte Holmes follows the story of a young girl who has been evacuated during World War II from London to Yorkshire, and takes inspiration from the legendary, super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes.

Interested families can order an Adventure Box to be delivered directly to their front door for £25 by visiting or, whilst a Charlotte Holmes book is also available from

With summer schools, creative opportunities and the chance to enjoy live arts reduced this year following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Charlotte Holmes Activity Box has been developed as a fun, artistic and educational way to keep children creatively engaged whilst away from schoolwork.

It also marks another digital step forward for The Dukes and the Lawrence Batley Theatre, who both adapted their artistic output into online platforms and interactive activities when their buildings closed in March.

The Dukes launched Digital Dukes, a virtual cultural space featuring masterclasses from the Dukes staff, artistic opportunities and creative commissions, ranging from dance workshops and photography challenges, to storytelling and story writing activities.

They have also provided cinema content for their film audiences, as well as produced an activity blog inspired by their dementia arts project Bring Me Laughter for participants and all to try from home.

The Dukes Director, Karen O’Neill said: “The Dukes is excited to bring the interactive theatrical adventure of Charlotte Holmes to families across Lancashire and beyond. As an organisation, we are committed to bringing high quality family theatre to our audiences and finding new ways to connect with them during this time through our digital programme. We hope you will join in the adventure.”
The Lawrence Batley Theatre have also been prominent in digital engagement, having launched their own online channel, LBTV, featuring workshops, activities and backstage videos, as well as producing two online plays – The Understudy and Nigel Slater’s Toast – which reached over 40 countries.

Henry Filloux-Bennett, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Lawrence Batley Theatre comments: “We are thrilled to be working alongside our friends at The Big Tiny and the Dukes in Lancaster. Charlotte Holmes builds on the success of our digital programme which has now reached over 20,000 views through our ticketed online plays and free platform LBTV – allowing us to reach new audiences by keeping young people and their families entertained and educated during the summer holidays.”

Both venues were delighted to team up with Greater Manchester-based theatrical imagineers, The Big Tiny. From their workshops the company make and produce all manner of show content, from puppets and pantomimes, to sets and scripts.

The Big Tiny’s co-founders and producers Ben Richards and Will Cousins said: “We are big believers that theatre should be entertaining and relevant for modern audiences. We're very proud to be working with our partners at the LBT and the Dukes to create Charlotte Holmes.  It's exciting to be able to bring something so innovative and creative to family audiences across the country”. 

Just one Charlotte Holmes Activity Box has everything needed for the whole family to play along, and they’re available to purchase now to enjoy throughout the summer.