Blanche & Butch

Birds of Paradise and Tron Theatre present Blanche & Butch by Robert Softley Gale

“Performed with a fabulously brazen swagger that dares to make the (usually) unspeakable into shockingly funny entertainment that ambushes your heart as well.”
★★★★ The Herald

“Birds of Paradise aren’t trying to shock you for no reason. They’re challenging political correctness and audience ideas. And they do it so well.”
★★★★★ Broadway World

“Blanche and Butch is a twisted mix of camp, drama, comedy and music that is both glamorous and sharp.”
★★★★ The Wee Review

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Production Photographs

 

It was the best idea they’d ever had – three disabled drag queens – called ‘Heelz n Wheelz’ – it was sensational! But when the sparkles fade and tensions rise, a new way forward is needed. Join our stars backstage as they now tour the first ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ to star an ‘actually disabled’ Blanche. It’s seen better days and so have they. What can possibly go wrong as they pull back the curtain on their lives, loves and loses?

Starring Robert Gale, Garry Robson and Kinny Gardner with live music performed by Amelia Cavallo. Directed and designed by Kenny Miller with original songs from Akintayo Akinbode, ‘Blanche & Butch’ promises to be a night of outrageous unPCness, high quality campness and deeply touching stories of three men who span the generations.

The award-winning Birds of Paradise Theatre Company with Tron Theatre bring you a dazzling new production inspired by Noel Greig’s 2006 play. Blanche & Butch tells the witty and poignant story of the lives, loves and losses of the three disabled men who used to be the sensational Heelz on Wheels. There’s not much sensation now…

ACCESS

BSL Interpreter – Amy Cheskin – was fully integrated within the production and captioning played on a screen within the set.

Description during the show was delivered to headsets via one of the onstage characters, Wendy.  Audiences using audio description were invited Stage Manager Wendy for the backstage gossip and her take on Blanche, Butch and Bette as the relationships of these three men are tested.  Audiences wishing to experience Wendy’s pre-show blether were invited to come to the theatre early to catch up on all the background while settled in their seat.

Captioning was provided on a tv screen hung centrally within the set.  The text was designed to look like a script.

Intergenerational Cabaret

As part of the 2017 Blanche & Butch tour, we held an Intergenrational Cabaret on Saturday 14th October at Summerhall.  BOP, in partnership with Luminate and LGBT Age, presented an outrageous, accessible inter-generational cabaret featuring a cast of artists and performers who took part in a cabaret development project. It was compered by Kinny Gardner and even included performances from the Blanche & Butch cast! This event had BSL interpretation, live text and audio description. Find out more here.

Evaluation

Below is evaluation of Blanche & Butch from development to touring.  Evaluation looks at the original aims, outputs and learning from the activity and draws from surveys, group conversations and 1:1 feedback. This is an opportunity for the company to reflect on how it can improve on and learn from its work.

What were the original aims?

Blanche & Butch was a new piece of writing from BOP Artistic Director Robert Gale, which revisited characters from another play and examined their lives at a different point in time.  The aim of the work was to develop new writing and a new play for touring that would raise the company’s profile, deepen BOP’s relationship with audiences and venues across Scotland, further promote the inherent equality themes within the work and promote good practice around access provision by using our Creative Access approaches.  The play also aimed to provide employment opportunities for disabled people and to broaden the people that BOP works with by bringing in an external director.

What did we do?

The production and tour was a large scale undertaking for a small company with newly formed core team and it stretched our capacity. A fantastic five star reviewed production was created by the creative team and the production team managed a challenging tour.  The camaraderie of the cast and company was felt in the warmth and success (critically and anecdotally) of the production that was universally well received by audiences. There is evidence that it is important and has a strong impact for audience members to see the narratives and themes within this work.

As a company BOP has drawn a lot of learning from this intense period of activity, some of which was applied directly in the production that followed, The Tin Soldier.

Blanche & Butch took place across 2017 with focused activity around two development days in London on the 5th and 6th June.  The show went in to rehearsal on the 21st August, rehearsing for one week at Scottish Youth Theatre and then moving to The Tron.  Tech week began on the 11th September, the show previewed on the 14th and then ran at the Tron until the 16th. A 14 date tour was then undertaken, culminating in Edinburgh at Summerhall on the 13th and 14th October with the final show followed by a cabaret in partnership with Luminate.

This was a new play by Robert Softley Gale and included three commissioned songs using lyrics he had written.  Tayo Akinbode was the composer but unable to act as Musical Director and this became the remit of cast member Amelia Cavallo.  

The tour was challenging for the company and in places audience turnout was frustratingly low.  A great start and end helped boost morale and outcomes and there were very successful highlights along the way – for instance The Barn and Ayr Gaiety.

How did we develop Blanche & Butch?

This took place in Toynbee Studios in London and the two days were spent going over the existing script with dramaturg Philip Osmet and Director/Designer Kenny Miller running through exercises with the cast.  Kinny Gardner, Robert Gale, Garry Robson and Amelia Cavallo were in attendance (Cara Ballingall joined the cast later as did SLI Amy Cheskin). Makeup artist Fiona Tanner and hired wigs were brought in on the second day to turn Garry and Kinny into Baby Jane and Blanche for marketing images.

“Great to put faces to names and try out a few ideas. I feel involved and was pleased to be heard.”

“Good development of story and characters, interesting to hot-seat”

“Loved the communication from the office and being kept in the loop.”

 

What happened during Pre-production and rehearsals?

In the following two months Robert worked on the script, sending drafts to Philip and Kenny.  The rest of the creative team were secured, including lighting designer Grant Anderson. Production Manager Colin Bell came on board after a difficult time finding someone.  Set design was presented to BOP and a meeting was held with Colin, Kenny, Robert and Mairi at which a location was identified for a captioning screen and captioning was made part of production remit by mutual agreement.

An ongoing conversation with Luminate also resulted in them coming on as a partner and investing financially in outreach work that culminated in a cabaret on the final night of the tour (see separate evaluation and project page on website) in Edinburgh – Summerhall.  Find out about our Intergenerational Cabaret here.

Tour booking had begun with feelers going out in late 2016 and this was picked up by Michelle who joined BOP as a temporary Assistant Producer to work with Mairi and support her on B&B with particular remit for the tour.

An initial marketing image and flyer design was created by Greenlight Creative to Kenny’s brief and distribution coordinated across the tour.

During rehearsals there was a volunteer PA in the room who benefited from the experience:

“My experience was great as I had never been a rehearsal assistant for a big production like Blanche and Butch. The cast and director were very friendly and I would love to do it again.”

Rehearsals started in Scottish Youth Theatre and on reflection the first day could have been better managed and BOP has learned of the need to introduce the work of the company, it’s aim and mission as well as to explain what the small core team do. On the first day the trailer was filmed in the afternoon.

All company members were requested to complete an access requirements form prior to working and accommodation planning.

What happened during the tour?

Venue Date/s Seats sold
Tron 14-16th Sept 268
Beacon Arts Centre Tues 19th Sept 26
Lochgelly Centre Thur 21st Sept – CANCELLED 0
Macrobert Sat 23rd Sept 52
The Byre Theatre Wed 27th Sept 20
Woodend Barn Thurs 28th Sept 44
Eden Court Mon 2nd Oct 50
Dundee Rep Wed 4th Oct 57
Platform Thur 5th Oct 70
Eastwood Park Theatre Sat 7th Oct 27
The Gaiety Tues 10th Oct 76
CatStrand Wed 11th Oct 33
Summerhall Fri 13th / Sat 14th Oct 163
Summerhall Cabaret 66
Audience total 952

Some audiences on tour were disappointing though not unexpected from past experience and the general experience of touring companies at this time.  Where venues had strong local relationships with audiences – for instance, The Barn and Ayr Gaiety – we saw an uplift in audience figures and had a particularly warm welcome.

BOP has learnt a lot about how to plan accomodation with a few mistakes being made about location and type of accomodation.  For instance shared accomodation is not good for the Tech team that work late.

How did we market the show?

“provided good marketing resources”

Venues were on the whole very impressed with our press and marketing communications.  Freelance press manager Joy Parkinson worked with the company and Tron team to send out press release.

BOP provided / created:

  • (Greenlight) created package of poster, flyers, programme design
  • E-flyers
  • Webpage
  • Social media activity
  • Interviews
  • Trailer
  • BSL trailer
  • Audio Described trailer

Arriving at some venues the marketing material was not on display and flyers hidden.

What did audiences think?

Overall audiences were very engaged with the work and appreciative of the themes and representation inherent in it:

“I am a man with Asperger’s and an avid actor. I used to be fearful of people’s thoughts in ways that I heard spoken tonight. It is with such a delight to watch all of you mix satire with personal experience. It was very inspiring to me. You have joined the likes of Jim Henson and Dan Akroyd in expressing the gifts of the disabled world.”

“Very provocative – challenging all crip stereotypes!”

“Super-sexy, super-fun, super-super show! We want more! We’re hungry, we’re proud, we’re not scared, we want more! Thank you.”

Tron

  • Once again, a fantastic show Robert. Each and every one of you were wonderful. From an old friend – Bertie xx
  • Incredible chemistry amongst the cast. Best BSL interpreter I have ever seen! Thank you.
  • I was shocked and appalled by the sexist nature of this show. The fact that all the female characters were simply ‘dressing’ to the male eye was disgusting – clothing was completely inappropriate. Also the period line was dated and completely undermined the lead keyboard player. Sexism is not on!
  • That was FANTASTIC. Acerbic, powerful, important, cheerful.
  • Fantastic as ever! So nice and so rare to see such inclusive and accessible theatre. It’s always a treat to see work by your company.
  • I am a man with Asperger’s and an avid actor. I used to be fearful of people’s thoughts in ways that I heard spoken tonight. It is with such a delight to watch all of you mix satire with personal experience. It was very inspiring to me. You have joined the likes of Jim Henson and Dan Akroyd in expressing the gifts of the disabled world.

 

Beacon

  • Wonderful, really made me think. The characters were so normal and I felt involved the whole show
  • FAB and outrageous.  Great songs and brilliant lyrics
  • Fantastic.  Great Cast. Especially Robert Softely Gale
  • Interesting, challenging.  Didn’t always know what to think.  Held my attention totally. Well done.
  • Bold, touching, completely hilarious and utterly enjoyable,  Thank you for all the hard work and bravo!
  • Very provocative – challenging all crip stereotypes!

 

Macrobert

  • Funny, touching, crudish! I like to see / meet people who can laugh at themselves
  • Super-sexy, super-fun, super-super show! We want more! We’re hungry, we’re proud, we’re not scared, we want more! Thank you.
  • I was amazed!  The interpretation was incredible and the performance showed class, reality and fun at the same time.  You have made me miss drama classes. I need more of this show! Good Luck.
  • Excellent performance.  Very thought provoking. Well done to everyone involved with this production.  I’ll certainly be recommending it.
  • Fantastic show!  Loved how it was political and hilarious. 10/10 would recommend and will tell everyone!
  • Funny, great characters, though provoking and also amusing dialogue.  The staging was visually engaging, rich and natural and the set was beautiful.  I really enjoyed it.
  • What an amazing show!  Thank you for breaking down the stigma and that song!!!
  • Fantastic show.  Great to see so much relevance with the world and LGBT issues / intersectionality.
  • Excellent, I loved the intersectional song.
  • To Robert and the rest of the cast, that was fantastic!  Really enjoyed the show. Love how you involved keys and the interpreter! All the best and break a leg!

 

The Byre

  • Such a lot in one hour! Really enjoyed it, well done all. Clever, funny, shocking, emotional, entertaining, sad. All of life
  • Loved the humour, the honesty and vulnerability. Loved how the AD + BSL was part of the show”.

 

POSTCARD:

I witnessed your amazing performance at The Barn, Banchory and has certainly made me think and hopefully react to disabled.

 

Dundee Rep

  • A talented performance. Very enjoyable
  • I loved it! I hope to see more like it at the Rep!
  • Totally Brilliant. Songs – Wow. Love you guys. Will tell everyone who FAB show is.
  • Had no idea what to expect from this show – boy was it different! Funny, thought-provoking & good music. Will go home laughing. Thanks.
  • Super show, quite funny, really loved the characters. The set looked awesome. Fab!
  • Entertaining – Different – Loved it!

 

Platform

  • The first “all access” show I’ve seen. I loved it and perceived everything to work very well together. Critique on phias{sic} could be even stronger without being too much for my taste
  • A really enjoyable and thought provoking piece of work. The set and cast were outstanding and was totally mesmerised. Love it – more like this thank you please 🙂
  • It was a good show. Worth the admission fee. I was just passing through, I didn’t know I was going to see a show. It was a good experience.
  • Seriously fun. So fun. So much to keep thinking on. So glad I came.
  • Really enjoyed the show! Didn’t pull any punches!
  • Loved it
  • Really enjoyed it. Fantastic ensemble cast. I had no idea what to expect and was thoroughly entertained, prodded, stimulated.
  • Very good. Real nice.
  • Fan dabee dosee
  • Thank you x
  • Lovely set, lovely lights, lovely costume, lovely acting, lovely music, lovely people, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely. One thing – watch the tuning when singing.

 

Eastwood Park

  • Excellent and thought provoking show. Very well done.
  • Very Interesting
  • Great production. Loved the intimacy of the dressing room, and honest dialogue. Thanks.

 

Gaiety

  • It was a very good production with strong points on the issues faced by those with disabilities
  • I was impressed by the acting and the comedy timing. Well done.
  • Thoroughly impressed by the acting and comedy
  • Very entertaining, good mix of comedy and drama. Good acting and good laughs but too much vulgarity weakened it. I have a seriously disabled son and watching so much misery was dreadful and could not hear what was being said and found it harsh.
  • Fucking fantastic
  • It was heart warming, funny as hell and refreshing to see such inclusion on stage. Yaaaaasss xxxx
  • This was one of the best pieces I have seen in a long time! I would happily watch this again.
  • I liked the diversity of the play, and that it wasn’t pretty.
  • Really good. Loved all aspects. Well done.
  • Amazing performance! In terms of accessibility the captions were blocked behind the curtain when it was down and when the interpreter was out of the boxed set there could have been a little more lighting. Fab performance otherwise.
  • Fearless! Fun! Filthy! Fabulous! I loved it. Nipple tassels did not disappoint!

 

CatStrand

  • Brilliant. As a BSL user it was extra special
  • Absolutely fabulous
  • Magic. Thank you
  • Excellent! Really good. Had zero expectations before I came but was blown away by the energy and the story line and (dare I say it…) the texture. Felicia Keys I found mesmerising, with an astonishing voice and the rest of the cast excellent. Interesting how Bette got more nasty as her make up came off. Thank you.
  • Very thought provoking and unexpected. Well done keep it up – more advertising needed – we’re from Gatehouse of Fleet
  • Fantastic, laugh out loud show.
  • Absolutely brilliant
  • Fabulous. Funny and very entertaining.
  • Stunning
  • Fantastic
  • Worth coming to experience

 

Summerhall

  • Excellent. I’ll come to the Tin Soldier

What did venues think about working with BOP?

“We knew that BOP had the capacity and will to make a success of the shows and we weren’t disappointed. We had 2 sell-out performances.” – Summerhall

“Universally applauded and many of our (admittedly small) audience said it was the highlight of the 10th Anniversary Festival.” CatStrand

All venues were contacted for feedback. From our own observations and this feedback we know:

  • Some venues have far stronger relationships with audiences than others
  • Venue specific marketing can work – The Barn created its own poster and on the night stated best reaction to a show they had witnessed
  • New work is seen as a challenge – “I’d be interested in seeing BoP tour titles that are better known to audiences to engage more people in their excellent work.”
  • Education packs could be useful though venues were offered such and events/talks ahead of time and not many picked up on it.  
  • “We always love to develop our staff – so it’d be great to support their understanding of BOP and what you do with some shared training.”  Venues also suggested staff visits ahead of time.
  • BOP provided extensive marketing and press info and this was appreciated “your help in providing marketing material was excellent”
  • Some venues felt it did not diversify their audience – they reached “the usual faces” while others admitted they are still building relationships with audiences.
  • For others it “Helped us talk to a more diverse audience”. “It brought in far more audience members who bought tickets at concession prices.” “opened doors to new audience”
  • Flagging the accessibility or the work and how that works could help – “chat to us right at the start about relaxed performances etc.”

What were outcomes? What changed as a result?

“BOP is one of the few companies that integrates audience access needs in every performance instead of a couple here and there as an afterthought. It’s great practice that more people should do. The work is also funny, thought provoking, and gaging by audience reactions, ​ reaches out to people who don’t normally hear/see their ​ needs/struggles/desires addressed in live performance, if at all.”

  • Increased awareness of BOP’s approach and style of working (see above quote)
  • New partnerships – venues and Luminate
  • Greater confidence in company of unique knowledge and skills around access and need to be confident about the control we need to exert
  • Audiences and participants empowered by seeing lives reflected and opportunities to perform

What actions will we take from our learning?

1) Communicating as a company about access – done with The Tin Soldier.

2) Create Access briefing doc for production so all involved understand approaches

3) Core BOP staff more present in the rehearsal and tech spaces to oversee access

4) Captioning designed and delivered by distinct people – too much strain on capacity

5) Review accommodation plans as get out times known

6) Staff job description outlines on BOP website

7) Welcome packs to freelance staff to include access briefing, Grievance Procedure

8) Marketing pack to contain info about access and marketing ideas

 

Blanche & Butch

Written by Robert Softley Gale

Presented by Birds of Paradise Theatre and Tron Theatre

Cast


Robert Softley Gale – Blanche
Garry Robson – Butch
Kinny Gardner – Bette
Amelia Cavallo – Keys
Amy Cheskin – BSL Interpreter
Cara Ballingall – Wendy

Blanche and Butch were originally characters in the late lamented Noel Greig’s 2006 play with songs Heelz on Wheels produced by Fittings MMA and directed by Russell Barr. Original production featured Garry and Robert with Mark Beer and Sally Clay.

Creative Team


Robert Softley Gale – Writer & Lyricist
Kenny Miller – Director & Designer
Tayo Akinbode – Composer
Amelia Cavallo – Musical Director
Philip Osment – Dramaturgy
Grant Anderson – Lighting Designer
Darren Brownlie – Movement Director
Fraser Macleod – Assistant Director
Jennie Lööf – Wardrobe
Amy Cheskin –  BSL translation
Christopher McKiddie – Audio Description Writer
Philippa Clark – Cabaret Development Facilitator

Production Team


Colin Bell – Production Manager
Avalon Hernandez – Stage Manager
Daniel Thompson – Technical Stage Manager
Sophie Wall – PA to Amelia Cavallo
Cassie Dickson – Rehearsal Assistant
Jamie Rae – BSL Trailer presenter
Glenda Carson – Captioning consultant

For BOP Theatre


Robert Softley Gale – Artistic Director
Garry Robson – Artistic Director
Mairi Taylor – Executive Producer
Michelle Rolfe – Assistant Producer
Callum Madge – Projects Officer
Joy Parkinson – Press Coordination

BOP Thanks


James Collins for use of “I don’t do drag”, Outspoken, Everyone at Tron Theatre, Amble Skuse, National Theatre of Scotland, Mark Cameron, Carol Chambers, Eamonn McCarron, Kevin Murray, Scottish Youth Theatre, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Lyceum Theatre, Dundee Rep, Steve Mackluskie, Colin Stephen, Sean Clark, Matic Media, Citizen’s Theatre, Amy Sinead Moran

 

Bios

Kenny Miller - Director & Designer


Kenny Miller is a freelance designer and director who was for many years Head of Design/Associate Director at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow and is currently Associate Artist: Designer for the Sherman Theatre, Cymru.

He has worked in Theatre and Opera both nationally and internationally, designing and directing for many companies such as: Royal Court Theatre London, Royal Shakespeare Company, Oxford Stage Company, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Palace Theatre Watford, Greenwich Theatre, Bush Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Tron Theatre and Dundee Rep Theatre…

He has won three Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for: Scrooge (Best Production), Smoking With Lulu (Best Technical), and A Little Bit of Ruff (Best Ensemble). He has also won the Manchester Evening News Award for 10 Rillington Place (Best Designed Production).

He recently directed Witness for the Prosecution (also designed, Dundee Rep), And Then There Were None (also designed, Dundee Rep), Face, Jacquoranda, directed and designed April in Paris & And The Beat Goes On (Perth Theatre), The Chooky Brae by Daniel C Jackson (Borderline Theatre & National Tour) and directed and designed Snout, The Seagull, Company Policy, Romeo and Juliet and Don Giovanni for Oran Mór’; designed Born Bad and directed and designed Pinocchio for Scottish Youth Theatre and Harold and Maude and Days of Wine and Roses for Theatre Jezebel of which he is a founding member.

Most recent design work includes Cuttin’ A Rug (Citizens’ Theatre & Royal Lyceum Edinburgh), The Weir, Bird (& Royal Exchange Manchester), A Doll’s House & Romeo and Juliet (Sherman Cymru); The Tin Forest (National Theatre of Scotland), The Dolls – Abroad (National Tour); Macbeth & Blithe Spirit (Perth Theatre), In An Alien Landscape (Beacon Arts Centre) and The Man Who Lived Twice (Arches Theatre) for Bird’s of Paradise Theatre Company both of which toured Nationally, The Snaw Queen, Sleeping Betty (& Directed), Miracle on 34 Parnie Street, Peter Panto and the Incredible Stinkerbell (& Directed), Cannibal Women of Mars, Aganeza Scrooge, Plume, Mister Merlin’s Pure Panto Magic, Flo White and Valhalla! (Tron Theatre), Casablana: The Gin Joint Cut for the Tron Theatre, Edinburgh Festival & National Tour, Marilyn for the Citizens’ Theatre & Royal Lyceum Edinburgh.

kennymillerdesign.com

Robert Softley Gale - Writer and Actor



Robert is an established figure in the Scottish arts scene. His professional acting debut was in 2002 and since then he has appeared in many productions – including co-writing and performing in Girl X for National Theatre of Scotland. His award-winning solo performance – If These Spasms Could Speak – was a hit of the 2013 Made in Scotland programme and has subsequently toured internationally to countries including Brazil, Estonia, the USA, Ireland and India. For BOP he has directed the smash-hit sex comedy Wendy Hoose and Purposeless Movements, for which he was nominated for a CATS Best Director award.

Garry Robson - Actor



Garry Robson has directed over 40 professional productions here and abroad receiving awards including a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award and a Herald Angel. He was Artistic Director of DaDaFest International 2008 & 2010, establishing DaDaFest as one of the key International Festivals for Deaf and Disability Arts and performance worldwide. As an actor He has performed in numerous roles on TV and Radio in many of the major theatres in the UK in a range of classics and new works. He’s looking forward to donning a frock once more in the never-ending story that is Heels on Wheels.

Kinny Gardner - Actor



Kinny is from Leith, is Hard of Hearing and is 58 years old. Studied Classical Ballet and at The Martha Graham School with Martha Graham herself. West End credits: ‘Godspell’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, ‘The Mousetrap’ and ‘ Chicago’. Rep. and tours include: ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, ‘Marat/Sade’, ‘The Threepenny Opera’, ‘Assassins’ and ‘Cabaret’.
Kinny is a principle guest solo artist with The Lindsay Kemp Company with whom he has toured the world in ‘Flowers’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Big Parade’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Variete’ and ‘The Last Dance of Elizabeth the First’. He retains the honour of being the only person permitted to re-create a Kemp company work outside of Lindsay Kemp’s own, re-staging ‘Variete’ for Youth Music Theatre U.K.
He is Artistic Director of Krazy Kat Theatre Company and a Development Adviser to BBC Cbeebies.
Awards: BBC Community Hero Award, British Citizens Award, British Empire Medal for services to Theatre and Disability (Queen’s Birthday Honours List).

Amelia Cavallo - Actor & Musical Director


Headshot of Amelia Cavallo
Amelia Cavallo is a blind performer from the USA with experience in acting, singing, dancing, aerial circus and burlesque. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, musical director and composer. Recent stage performances include Tommy (Ramps On The Moon) Into The Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester) A Winter’s Tale (Taking Flight Theatre), Beauty and The Beast (Theatre Royal Stratford) and The Threepenny Opera (Graeae Theatre Company) She has also composed, MDed and performed in original works called Sailing Through The Dark (Liberty Festival) and I Breathe (Flying Diplodocus). She also works as a freelance MD and composer for PAD Productions, Extant Theatre and with her band, Sunshine Savage. Amelia was a sway pole performer in the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, and also performed at the cultural Olympiad in Rio with Graeae Theatre’s production of The Garden in September, 2016. When not on stage, behind a musical instrument or dangling from a height, Amelia can be found working towards her Phd in disability politics and theatrical performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. For more information visit ameliacavallo.com.

Amy Cheskin - BSL Performance Interpreter



Amy Cheskin is an experienced Sign Language Performance Interpreter. Graduating from Bristol University in 2008 with specialist knowledge in Sign Language Literature and Performance, Amy has since performed at Tramway, Citizen’s Theatre, RCS, CCA Glasgow, Eden Court, Dundee Rep, as well as the Traverse and Assembly & Zoo venues in Edinburgh. Previously regaling the sides, she made her main stage debut with delightful presence in the beautifully crafted Purposeless Movements by Birds of Paradise (2016). Originally pursuing the dream of becoming a ballet dancer, her ambition faltered on the discovery that she has two left feet.

Cara Ballingall - Actor


Cara Ballingall headshot
Cara Ballingall is an actor and musician from Edinburgh, who trained with National Youth Theatre and Guildford School of Acting. Theatre credits include: Young Chekhov: Ivanov (Royal National Theatre), Alice’s Adventure’s Underground (Les Enfants Terribles, Olivier-nominated), Lost at Sea(Finborough Theatre), Stars Over Kabul (Tramway Theatre). She was the Piano-conductor for the Olympics and Paralympics Team Welcome Ceremonies for London 2012, and has created work with the Smooth Faced Gentlemen and Cr8tive Collective. Training: Guildford School of Acting and National Youth Theatre.

Tayo Akinbode - Composer



I was born in London to Nigerian parents and discovered theatre at the Royal Court’s Activists Youth Theatre. At 18 I went to Manchester to work on the stage crew at the Royal Exchange Theatre for 3 months but didn’t return home. Three years later, Manchester Youth Theatre asked me to write some music for their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I have subsequently been a composer and MD for numerous companies such as: Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, The Generating Company, OCT East, Shenzen, Almeida Theatre, Littlebigman Films, Nottingham Playhouse, Eclipse, New York Public Theater, The National Theatre, Specsavers, Spirit of the Union UAE 40th Birthday celebrations in Abu Dhabi.

Recent work includes: Junkyard for Headlong Theatre Company, Aladdin for Theatr Clwyd, Omeros, Twelfth Night for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Listening Project theme for BBC radio 4, Sylvia South the Word Catcher for Spark Arts Theatre Company, King Lear for Royal Exchange/Talawa, Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Tempest for Singapore Repertory Theatre, 2 Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Caesar and Stig of the Dump for Storyhouse Chester, Sponge for Turned on it’s head.

Philip Osment - Dramaturg


Philip wrote a series of Devon plays which were directed by Mike Alfreds and himself directed landmark productions for Gay Sweatshop in the 1980s, including Poppies, Compromised Immunity and This Island’s Mine, and for Theatre Centre and Red Ladder in the 1990s. More recently, he created and directed Mad Blud (a verbatim play about knife crime) for Theatre Royal Stratford East and wrote and co-directed Inside (about young fathers in prison) for his company Playing ON at the Roundhouse. He has also directed for the National Theatre Studio, Bristol Old Vic and three productions for Graeae including his own translation of George Dandin. His play Whole won the Writers’ Guild Award for Theatre Play for Young People in 2013 and in 2014 he created a new adaptation of Kes with Kully Thiarai for CAST in Doncaster. His play about mental health, HEARING THINGS, presented by Playing ON has played at London venues and at the Latitude Festival 2017 and will be seen at Birmingham Rep’s Bedlam Festival on October 21st.

Grant Anderson - Lighting Designer



Grant is a Lighting Design graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Select credits include: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs (Edinburgh International Festival); The Broons national tour (Sell A Door); Cuttin’ A Rug, Simon’s Magical Christmas Socks, Panic Patterns (Citizens Theatre); Submarine Time Machine, To Begin (National Theatre of Scotland Learn); Love Song, In My Father’s Words, Hecuba, Promises Promises, Baby Baby (Dundee Repertory Theatre); The Polar Bears Go Wild, Weans In The Wood, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast (Macrobert, Stirling); News Just In (Random Accomplice); And The Beat Goes On (Perth Theatre & Random Accomplice); Wendy Hoose (Birds of Paradise & Random Accomplice); Summer on Stage 2012 – 2016 (Lyceum Theatre); The Maw Broon Monologues, The Snaw Queen (Tron Theatre); Chess, Cabaret, 9 to 5,
Urinetown, Addams Family, Company (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Little Red And The Wolf, Freak Show, Forest Boy, The Girl Who (Noisemaker). Grant has also, designed extensively for the Scottish Events Industry, including Botanic Lights 2015 Seasons In Colour and 2016 EXPLORE, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as well as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Torchlight Procession & Street Party. grantanderson.design

Fraser Macleod - Assistant Director


Fraser trained at Scottish Youth Theatre and Queen Margaret University College. Fraser has worked with Ickleflix, Theatre Jezebel, Licketyspit Theatre Company, East End Community Arts Project, UK Theatre School, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, Citizens Theatre Education Department, Cutting Edge Theatre Productions, Birds of Paradise, National Theatre of Scotland, Tron Theatre and Scottish Youth Theatre. In 2014 Fraser presented a workshop tilted ‘Creating Work with the Instant Generation’ at Performing the World in New York. In 2016 Fraser delivered ‘creative landscaping’ workshops in New Delhi, India for the British Council.

Directing Credits include
A Present State (Tron Studio/Tron Theatre), International Performing Company – The Tin Forest (SYT/NTS), Now’s the Hour (SYT/BBC), Instant (SYT/Glasgay), Tips – Development (Random Accomplice/Mary Gapinski), The Glasgow Passion (Cutting Edge Theatre Productions), It Wasn’t Me, It Was Goldilocks, Jack and the Magic Beans, The Princess and the Pea (SYT/Aberdeen Performing Arts), The Happiness Formula, Collateral Damage, The Sky is Falling, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, You Can’t Catch Me, Born Bad?, The Court of Miracles, The Ugly Duckling (SYT)

Jennie Lööf - Wardrobe


Swedish born Jennie Lööf is a Glasgow based costume maker/designer and sewing teacher.
Jennie began sewing at the age of 7, a skill that has been passed down through the Lööf family for generations. Since arriving in Glasgow in 2004 she has worked as a wardrobe supervisor and designer in Scottish professional theatre making costumes for countless shows. Jennie also runs her own fashion label ‘Jennie Lööf Clothes’ and is one of the founding members of Shawlands ‘Glad Rags’ Thrift Shop.
jennieloof.com

 

Poster for Blanche & Butch. Depicts a red velvet glove coming in from the left hand border, between the thumb and forefinger the gloved hand is holding a rat by the tail which dangles down the left hand border of the poster. The bottom of the poster shows a dark pool of water in which a red high heel and wheelchair are both half submerged. In the top half of the poster are the words "Blanche & Butch" in the style of the Hollywood sign, on the side of a mountain, with two spotlights picking out the words in their beams. The whole poster is bordered with light bulbs, like a dressing room mirror, though some of the bulbs have blown leaving gaps in the border.

Tour Dates 2017

Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th September 2017 @ 7.45pm: Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Tuesday 19th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock

Saturday 23rd September 2017@ 7.30pm: Macrobert, Stirling

Wednesday 27th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: The Byre, St Andrews

Thursday 28th September 2017 @ 7.30pm: Woodend Barn, Banchory

Monday 2nd October 2017@ 7.30pm: Eden Court, Inverness

Wednesday 4th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee

Thursday 5th October 2017@ 7.00pm: Platform, Glasgow

Saturday 7th October 2017@ 7.30pm: Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock

Tuesday 10th October 2017@ 8.00pm: The Gaiety, Ayr

Wednesday 11th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: CatStrand, Castle Douglas

Friday 13th and Saturday 14th October 2017 @ 7.30pm: Summerhall, Edinburgh