With no shows taking place we’ve had to switch around our weekly music news just a little bit. However we will still be here every Tuesday with a Leicester music update for you in partnership with PPL PRS Ltd.
INTERVIEW: Bob Christer
14/48 is the “World’s Quickest Theatre Festival”, which sees new plays created within 48 hours by people across Leicestershire’s arts communities. With the lockdown putting a pause to any live theatre work they have moved online for a series of working from home specials. Music plays an important role in the plays and we caught up with organiser, Bob Christer, about the work of local musicians and how important it is to the work created as part of 14/48.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of 14/48 before can you tell us a little more about it?
14/48 is ‘The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival’, it started in Seattle, USA in 1997 and in 2013 we brought it here to Leicester. Essentially over a 48 hour period we create 14 brand new world premiere plays with a team of around 70 theatre makers. It’s a truly international collaboration with artists form across the country heading to Leicester twice a year and Wolverhampton once a year to take part.
How have you adapted the project to be virtual during the lockdown period?
Well… we can’t exactly put 70 sweaty theatre makers in a room together at the moment, so as soon as lockdown began we decided we’d do something different. We felt audiences and makers alike would miss the sense of community, so we set up ‘WFH’ – a weekly stream of two new plays, created by an entirely randomly assembled group of artists each week. For us it was important to keep the spirit of 14/48 in there, randomising the collaboration, making the streams live, so there is more risk and rawness, and including live music as part of the offer.
You’ve got a number of local musicians involved, what role does music play in the productions?
We think 14/48 offers musicians a new and different experience, we throw people together to collaborate, and for WFH in particular, we’re giving musicians a purpose and immediacy to music making, often that can be interesting covers, as well as original scores, and it really doesn’t matter if the musician has fancy recording equipment at home, stripped back iphone videos have worked brilliantly, I think because everyone knows we’re in the same boat right now!
Who are some of the musicians that are involved this time round?
We’ve had a great range – Steve Escott, Olivia Deane, Gemma Fuller, Dave Morris, Sam Plummer, Caroline Rowland, John Helps to name but a few locally known musos, but we’ve also had people all over the country involved.
Will there be opportunities for other acts to get involved in future events?
Absolutely! We’re on week 11 right now, and we plan to go up to week 14, so there is still space for at least 6 more musicians to get involved with this, and we love to hear from new people. A big part of what we do is to hold doors open, so do get in touch if you’re interested! [email protected]
What is your favourite thing about working on the event?
I think genuinely seeing what can be made in such a short space of time, particularly when someone has taken risks and put themselves out there, because lets face it, that’s so often a difficult part of fringe performance, and new work. Also, we’re immensely proud of the small part we’ve played in helping to keep people feeling healthy and well during this really awful time, and we’ve had some great feedback about the big part that this small thing we do has played in people’s lives.
Who are some of your favourite local musicians and bands?
Anyone who raises others along themselves are always high on my list – John Helps and the Homage a Trois events are a highlight, Lloyd Luther, Nile Barrow… Any good people trying to do good things!
Where can people watch online and find out more?
Our website has a back catalogue at www.1448uk.com/wfh, or head to 1448leicester on Facebook.
Enjoy this week’s best of Leicester playlist! Each week we’ll be pulling together some of our favourites as well as recommendations to highlight some top local talent. This week’s list features the likes of interviewee picks Lloyd Luther and Ho•Fu, plus other great tunes from acts across Leicestershire.
Have a listen and get in touch to tell us which tracks you’re loving.