Bradford Playhouse, Ocean Color Scene and Topic Folk Club among our selection of entertainment

REAL life stories from the Canterbury Estate of Bradford are brought to the stage in a powerful play which begins a national tour next week.

Full English explores the experiences of women who have found a place on the estate to raise mixed-race families.

Starring Bradford actress Natalie Davies, the play is inspired by her grandmother, a reggae-loving dance enthusiast who “overcame obstacles to find her place in Bradford”.

Natalie, who grew up on the Canterbury Estate, says: “While it’s the story of my grandmother, it’s also a story of identity and finding my own place. And it’s vital that I understand that now, because my story will be the most important thing I can pass on to my daughter.

Bent Architect, based in Bradford, says: “In the late 1950s the first wave of migrant workers arrived in the UK from Pakistan and Bangladesh. These young men quickly met and began to fall in love with local girls. When Nan fell in love with her man, her life turned into chaos. It was not until she arrived at the Canterbury Estate with her three children that she found the solidarity of a small group of women who loved each other across borders.

Using first-hand stories, Full English is described as a “poignant, funny and invigorating tribute to the strength of these women, who struggled with their identity, never really belonged to any culture or particular race and have constantly had to stand up against the racists. ”.

The piece is produced by Bent Architect, created by Jude Wright and Mick Martin to create “original shows that give voice to the voiceless”.

“Full English is a celebration – a collision of cultures, blending music, dance and storytelling to create a dynamic and uplifting journey rooted in Bradford,” says Jude. “It’s not tinted pink. The women we celebrate have faced challenges and prejudice, and had to watch their children – and grandchildren – do the same. But along this journey they loved and laughed, danced and ducked, and finally found their place and voice here in Bradford – where else?

Kamal Kaan in full English. Photo: Karol Wyszynski

Bent Architect has a growing reputation for creating innovative new work that defies expectations. Their famous This Space is Occupied took over a disused pub and turned it into a 1970s commune and their Women of Aktion international tour examined stories of German women’s resistance to war.

Full English takes place at Kala Sangam, St Peter’s House, Bradford from 11-14 May.

* At the Bradford Playhouse, the office party, that hot political potato on the corporate calendar, is about to get into full swing.

Sit back and watch the spinoffs as the Playhouse performs its house show, John Godber’s dark comedy classic The Office Party. Set in the offices of the Chapman Howard advertising agency, the play follows the employees as they prepare for their 1994 Christmas party and the ensuing chaos. As editors, accountants, graphic designers, secretaries, and the CEO himself attempt to get into the party mood, events culminate in a night they’d all rather forget.

“It was such a fun and enjoyable process bringing The Office Party to life on stage,” says director David Ayres, who also appears in the production as jingoist Bob Marsden.

“John Godber has managed to write such an astonishing insight into the mundane politics of office life, where often the failure of the coffee machine creates more panic than the fact that the company might lose a huge account.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Office Party cast members include Darren Ryder, Jessica Sweeney and Paul Forsberg.  Photo: David AyresOffice Party cast members include Darren Ryder, Jessica Sweeney and Paul Forsberg. Photo: David Ayres

“When the office Christmas party is in full swing, inhibitions are dropped and drunken mouths come with sober thoughts.”

The play is taken over by a talented cast featuring Darren Ryder as “very married but frustrated Andy”, Jessica Sweeney as office newcomer Jo, Paul Forsberg as stressed MD Gavin, Kelsey Johnson as receptionist Pippa, Lanna Howard as finance officer Patty, and Fen Greatley-Hirsch as desperate Junior Lee.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fen Greatley-Hirsch as Desperate Junior LeeFen Greatley-Hirsch as desperate office junior Lee

Set to a soundtrack of disco classics and 90s hits, The Office Party (featuring strong language and adult content) is another gem from comedy maestro Godber, whose much-loved pieces include Bouncers, Shakers and Teechers.

It’s May 11-14 at the Bradford Playhouse, Chapel Street, Little Germany. Call (01274) 800415 or visit bradfordplayhouse.org.uk

* Ocean Color Scene, the mainstays of the Britpop scene, went on a sold-out UK tour last year. Now vocalist Simon Fowler and drummer Oscar Harrison tour together, playing acoustic performances of the band’s hits and anthems.

An Evening With Simon and Oscar of Ocean Color Scene, at King’s Hall, Ilkley, on May 19, features hits such as The Riverboat Song, The Circle, Traveller’s Tune and The Day We Caught The Train.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Simon Fowler and Oscar Harrison.  Photo: Lee HeathfieldSimon Fowler and Oscar Harrison. Photo: Lee Heathfield

Simon describes the acoustic shows as “a real tonic – a great opportunity to look the audience in the eye and interact with them in a more personal way than ever before”.

The shows are the latest chapter in a long career that has seen OCS grow from a Breton disciple of the Stone Roses to one of Britpop’s biggest bands. Behind the swagger were lyrics and melodies that formed the soundtrack of a generation. Now you can hear the stripped down songs.

* Hallival is the debut album by Leeds folk singer and songwriter Iona Lane. Fascinated by British folklore, Iona says Hallival is inspired by “natural landscapes, scientific discoveries, equality, human relationships and the supernatural, bound together by a strong sense of place and a love of being in wild places”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Iona Lane is at the Topic Folk Club Iona Lane is at the Topic Folk Club

Iona has won praise on the folk scene for her delicate yet powerful voice. She will play Topic Folk Club on Thursday May 12 at Groove Pad, Shipley.

* Dog-friendly film screenings are coming to Skipton’s Plaza Cinema in Skipton this month as part of the Hinterlands International Rural Film Festival. Screenings include The Truffle Hunters (May 14), a moving and uplifting documentary about a group of elderly Italian men and their highly trained truffle-sniffing dogs. Together they scour the forests of northern Italy in search of rare truffles, which sell for a small fortune at some of the best restaurants in the world.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: moving and uplifting film The Truffle Hunters.  Photo: Park Circus FilmsMoving and uplifting film The Truffle Hunters. Photo: Park Circus Films

This glimpse into a timeless, secret way of life has at its heart the deep camaraderie between man and his best friend. The festival takes place from May 13 to 15. Visit hinterlandsfestival.org.uk

Jessica C. Bell