Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music.
Peaceophobia, Help Review, Georgina Harding, Kurt Elling
If you go down to the Oastler Centre carpark in Bradford over the next few days, you’re sure of a big surprise because this derelict multi-storey is the venue for a new theatrical production - Peaceophobia - exploring the passions and the lives of three young Pakistani-heritage Muslim men from Bradford as they attend a car meet. Evie Manning is co-director of the show and joins Front Row to explain how Peaceophobia came about.
Sam Delaney reviews Jack Thorne's new Channel 4 drama, Help, which is set in Liverpool care home during the pandemic.
Georgina Harding is known as an acclaimed novelist for works including Painter of Silence which was shortlisted for what was then the Orange Prize (now Women’s Prize) for Fiction in 2012. She has just been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award for Night Train. It’s the account of a woman’s train journey across Ukraine, striking up conversation with a fellow passenger. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday at 15:30. She talks to Front Row about the story.
In a career spanning thirty years Kurt Ellling has been nominated no less than ten times for a Grammy and won the Jazz Vocal Album award twice. His latest album Superblue was recorded under lockdown conditions with all the musicians playing in separate studios. Kurt explains how they managed to maintain the spontaneity under such conditions and how that will translate to playing live on his British dates.
Anuradha Roy, Propaganda ceramics, British Ceramics Biennial, a new Culture Secretary
Award-winning author Anuradha Roy crafts pots as well as prose. She joins us live from India to discuss the fusion of ceramics and storytelling, pottery and politics in her new novel, The Earthspinner, a coming of age story set between two continents.
At a recent auction some 19th century pottery jugs, expected to fetch £100 or so, sold for £3,000 - £4,000. They were bought by major museums vying to add them to their collections. The jugs' selling point was that they were decorated with anti-slavery images or celebrations of abolition. Clare Durham, ceramics specialist at auctioneers Woolley & Wallis, who sold them, talks to Kirsty Lang about pottery propaganda and the increased interest in such pieces.
The British Ceramics Biennial is the largest ceramics event in the UK. Its new artistic director, Clare Wood, joins Front Row to discuss the shortlist for the festival’s contemporary ceramics prize and to reflect on a new artwork that puts slavery on a plate.
Nadine Dorries replaces Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. BBC Arts Correspondent Vincent Dowd discusses the implications.
Main image: A plate from Jacqueline Bishop's History at the Dinner Table exhibition.
Image credit: Jenny Harper
Julian Clary, Antonio Pappano, Booker Prize shortlist
The role of Norman, the longsuffering, waspish eponymous dresser in Ronald Harwood's 1980 play, might have been written for Julian Clary. It's about a touring theatre company bringing Shakespeare to the provinces during the Blitz. As all the young actors are away fighting it's a motley crew, led by Sir, a monstrous yet pathetic veteran actor. Sir's mind and his world are crumbling. Only Norman can cajole him onto the stage. Now Julian Clary is playing Norman, in a touring theatre company, during a pandemic. He talks to Kirsty Lang about Norman, his relationship with Sir, and how, now we know more about dementia, this play, considered the best ever about theatre itself, is more pertinent than ever.
This week, the Royal Opera House opened to a full capacity audience for the first time since March 2020, with Sir Antonio Pappano picking up the baton in the pit. He tells Kirsty how good it felt to be back, why it’s taken so long for him to conduct Verdi’s popular masterpiece, and why he’s jealous of his continental counterparts.
And on the day that the Booker Prize shortlist is announced, we’re joined live in the studio by Horatia Harrod, member of the judging panel and an editor at The Financial Times Weekend, to discuss the six novels in the running for this year's £50,000 award.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Oliver Jones
Liane Moriarty, Matthew Bourne, Igor Levit
Liane Moriarty is the best-selling author of nine novels including, Big Little Lies, and Nine Perfect Strangers, both of which have been adapted for television. Her latest novel, Apples Never Fall, is a mystery wrapped up in a domestic drama which focuses on an Australian family shaped by their passion for tennis.
Described as a pianist like no other, Igor Levit describes himself as a citizen and a European before a pianist. He has performed around the world, but when lockdown put a stop to that he took to live-streaming “House Concerts” from his apartment in Berlin. His new album ‘On DSCH’ features music by Shostakovich and Ronald Stevenson. He tells John Wilson why he chose music by those composers, and what he learnt from music in lockdown.
Matthew Bourne joins us to discuss his new ballet The Midnight Bell, based on the work of the writer Patrick Hamilton
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Hilary Dunn
BBC National Short Story Award Shortlist, tenor Stuart Skelton, Shang-Chi film review, Girl Bands now
Front Row announces the shortlist for the £15,000, 16th BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University. Judge Fiona Mozley, author of Booker-shortlisted novel Elmet, joins us live to discuss the stories
Australian tenor Stuart Skelton is a fan of a party. And what bigger party in classical music than the Last Night of the Proms?! Stuart will be taking centre stage and singing the traditional ‘Rule Britannia’ as well as a selection of opera arias. He tells John why he’s looking forward to the event, and the all-important outfit reveal.
This month Marvel Studios released its first film with an Asian lead – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It’s an origin story that brings together martial arts, Chinese folklore and Hollywood CGI spectacle. Cultural critic Yuan Ren reviews.
25 years since the release of The Spice Girls debut album, more recently the departure of Jesy Nelson from Little Mix saying she found “the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard." And this week, the announcement of the death of Girls Aloud member, Sarah Harding. Dr Julia Downes, who edited Women Make Noise: Girl Bands from Motown to the Modern, shares her thoughts on the girl band.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Julian May
Elijah Wood, the future of live streaming, Imriel Morgan
Elijah Wood tells Tom Sutcliffe about his new film No Man of God. Elijah Wood plays criminal profiler Bill Hagmaier in a story based on interview transcripts. Hagmaier is sent by the FBI to visit the serial killer Ted Bundy on death row. A fascinating, troubling relationship develops which becomes all the more intense when the date of Bundy's execution is announced. It's just a week away; Bundy agrees to talk, and he has much to confess.
As lockdown and the pandemic brought concerts to a standstill, many musicians and comedians turned to online live streaming to perform, entertain and connect with audiences. According to YouTube, 78% of British people watched a live stream over the last 12 months. But now as live events return, and with concerns still over safety, have live streams proven they can coexist alongside in-person concerts as a way to feel part of an experience? Musician Paul Smith from Maximo Park and director and filmmaker Oscar Sansom discuss
It’s often said that we’re living in a podcast ‘boom,’ with increased investment from technology giants and big name celebrity signings. But how diverse is the industry itself? The Equality in Audio Pact, launched in 2020, aims to tackle some of the systemic barriers to entry in radio and podcasting for people from under-represented backgrounds. Imriel Morgan is the Founder and CEO of podcast marketing agency Content is Queen- a signatory to the pact- and she’s also an award-winning host of the Wanna Be Podcast. She joins us to give her assessment of diversity and inclusion in the audio industry today.