Archive for the ‘theatre’ Category

Life Class

19Feb19

9th February saw the first work-in-progress performance of LIFE CLASS, marking the 30th anniversary of Bodies In Flight – the Bristol/Nottingham company co-founded by Simon Jones and Sara Giddens back in 1989. The original 1989 date was significant as being Simon’s 30th birthday. After several years lecturing at Lancaster University he had recently taken up […]


The murder of my great uncle, Fred Jeffs, in 1957, remains one of the West Midlands’ great unsolved crimes. I first stumbled across the story when I was in my early teens. My Nan – like so many of her generation – did not yield family secrets so easily, but she had been sent a […]


Bold Text  are a collective of West Midlands-based playwrights (Steve Jackson, Liz John, Nicola Jones, Helen Kelly, Sayan Kent, Vanessa Oakes, Tim Stimpson, and Julia Wright) who have responded to the remarkable Steelhouse Lane Police Lock-up – built in 1891 but unused since 2016 – by writing or back-filling imagined stories about the gaol’s historic […]


The Box Offices are now open for the July performances of Fred Jeffs: The Sweetshop Murder, commissioned as part of FURNACE, Birmingham REP’s Community Engagement Programme. Tickets for the three shows are free, but limited in number so please book ahead if you can.


Here’s a couple of hapless Greek deities from the 1992/3 show, ROUGH, devised by Bodies In Flight View this post on Instagram Another image from the Bodies In Flight Theatre Company archive, in anticipation of a publication to mark their 30th anniversary in 2019. This photograph is from their production “Rough – a passion” (1992), […]


After an early morning interview with presenter Alex Lester on the WM Breakfast Show, I appeared on Caroline Martin’s lunchtime show (BBC Radio WM, 3/4/2018) talking to her about the mysterious unsolved murder of Fred Jeffs and my community project with the Birmingham Rep Furnace programme. The broadcast is available for ‘Listen Again’ until 29th […]


Maundy Thursday

30Mar18

What is it about an unsolved murder that holds its grip on us? Perhaps it’s a need to complete the story and provide some sort of closure? Or a fascination with gruesome misadventures?  Wherever I have been in the last month – whether talking to local history societies, visiting retirement homes or holding sessions in […]


Last April, on the 60th anniversary of my great uncle Fred Jeffs’s untimely death, I marked the occasion by writing a blog post “Murder By Person Or Persons Unknown“. I’d visited the press archives at the Library of Birmingham, and sifting through pages of journalistic speculation about this remarkable case helped me renew my determination […]


Earlier this year while working for the Ministry of Truth (Creation Theatre’s 1984 at Oxford Maths Institute), my friend and erstwhile MTO collaborator Dazz Joyce introduced me to “Looking Backward 2000-1887” – Edward Bellamy’s time-travelling Utopian novel set in Boston in an imagined 2000AD. I immediately latched on to it as an ideal subject for […]


I confess I find van-loads and get-ins energising; even exciting. Whilst it is arguably the hardest, most arduous part of gigging and something oft to be dreaded, Stan’s Cafe prides itself on an history of everyone mucking in. There are plenty of jobbing actors who might balk at the idea of emptying a truck or shifting set, but […]