4th Jul, 2022

Coventry entertainers to livestream variety show in lockdown

John Carlon 14th Apr, 2020

MUSICIANS and artists working in Coventry have clubbed together to host a live-streamed variety show.

The local entertainers are set to present a ‘digital scratch night’ on Wednesday (April 15).

Starting at 7pm, ‘Shut Down but Scratching’ is being established by Coventry City of Culture Trust and Belgrade Theatre Coventry.

The organisers say the online event gives artists the chance to develop and perform new work, and crucially, get paid for it, as viewers will be able to live stream, which will include a range of artistic and cultural expression including music, folk tales, theatre, spoken word, visual art and a radio play about the quest for loo roll.

The ten artists taking part in Shut Down but Scratching are:

· Luke Pettenuzzo, performing ‘Acoustic Dreamscape’, an acoustic solo composition on a classical guitar.

· Emily Woodruff, a visual art, digital and performance artist, showcasing ‘Moulding Masks’, an exploration of autistic ‘masking’ and social belonging.

· Nick Knibb, a spoken word artist also known as The Archbishop, will perform three poems about the coronavirus lockdown titled ‘Here’, ‘Touch’ and ‘Hope’.

· Alexandra Johnson has written ‘Bedside Manner’, a piece which imagines the death of a man and has been influenced by her contemplating the darkest outcome of her father’s current fight with coronavirus in hospital.

· Angela Mhlanga will perform Folktale, a traditional African folk for this new digital age.

· ‘I imagine we are meeting but can only reach each other by sight or sound because we are apart at a height’ will be platformed by visual artist Michael Snodgrass. Michael will be creating a black and white line drawn illustration depicting local people from Coventry and Warwickshire atop ladders, unable to reach each other.

· UK based Americana, folk and country duo formed around the guitarist Emily Eglinton and vocalist Fiona Laycock, ROSSO will be performing.

· Sam Colby will perform ‘The Mighty Quest for the Holy Loo Roll’ a radio play about one man’s quest to avoid the mythical creatures roaming Coventry and claim The Holy Loo Roll.

· Koyesax, a Nigerian saxophonist currently studying at the University of Warwick, will perform ‘The African Dream’. Using his saxophone and storytelling Koyesax asks the audience to imagine a free, prosperous and powerful Africa.

· Lisa Franklin’s ‘The Wild Places’ will explore the relationship between nature and isolation, using spoken word, soundscape and projections of animation.

Shoot Festival Co-Director Jennifer Davis said: “We are so excited to be announcing the ten artists and the titles of their performances today.

“We were overwhelmed with the talent of all the applicants and found it incredibly hard to choose our final ten, but these artists really stood out and we have put together a fresh, original and poignant programme for the livestream on the 15th.

“Shut Down but Scratching is part of our rapid response to the current crisis – to find, support and celebrate independent artists in Coventry and Warwickshire. This is a brand new venture and an experiment for us but we can’t wait to see the breadth and depth of creativity in Coventry and Warwickshire on display.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “As coronavirus continues to put a stop to normal life, it is crucial that artists and performers are able to continue to create and exhibit new work.

“It is also vital that artists get paid for this work, as the lockdown goes on life becomes harder for those who earn their living through exhibition and performance. Coventry City of Culture is proud to be part of Shut Down but Scratching, a project that supports artists to create new and exciting work.”

A spokesperson at Belgrade Theatre Coventry commented: “In recent weeks, there has been much publicity around the impact of the ongoing pandemic on theatres, pubs and restaurants. But what can be forgotten is the knock-on effect these closures have on independent artists who rely on these venues to share their work and earn a living.

“With limited support currently available to freelancers, there’s a pressing need for projects that respond to challenges these artists face. It’s because of this that the Belgrade Theatre is thrilled to be supporting Shut Down but Scratching.”

Shut Down but Scratching will be live streamed on Wednesday 15th April at 7pm. To find out how to view the livestream check the Shoot Festival and Belgrade Theatre websites.

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