I’ve been commissioned to write a new monologue as part of Z-Arts’ Family Matters project. If you don’t know, Z-Arts, formerly the Zion Arts Centre is Manchester’s only venue dedicated to inspiring and providing creative opportunities for children and families across Manchester and the Northwest. Here’s the blurb about the project from Z-Arts website: A series of 5 monologues from spoken word artists on the theme of family. Each piece is a real life portrayal of one person’s family, what it means to them, what family life is like growing up, the challenges, the love and ultimately how it has shaped them as an individual. Including a gay Muslim who grew up in a loving Bengali family in a small Essex town, now living as a practising Muslim with a non-Muslim partner who want to start their own family, or a Somali woman who is cohabiting with her partner and now has her own young family, but has estranged from her parental family for seven years, as a consequence. Or a simple story of a teenager and the dependent /independent struggle of family ties and releases that represents. This project doesn’t just focus on families, it puts families into focus. Each monologue would be a piece of beautifully crafted writing, drawing on emotions and creating a window on the multiplicities of human existence in the modern world. Followed by Q&A on the state of the ‘family’ in 21st century Britain, and what it means to be part of a family in this day and [...]
Voices of Dissent was my first solo show, which I made in 2008 at Contact, Manchester. It was ‘an anarchic multi-character piece combining spoken word, dramatic monologue, movement, music and renewable energy’. Voices of Dissent began life during my At Home residency at Contact in 2006. I wanted to create a piece of work that explored the issue of sustainability, while being a sustainable product in its own right. The piece tells the story of Tali – an ancient trickster god from a forgotten pantheon who ‘in the beginning’ stole fire and gave it to humanity. For his crime, Tali was condemned by the other gods to live out his immortal days on earth, experiencing their pain and hunger forever. But now the gods are over-heating, and are forcing Tali to try and steal fire back from the humans. Realising the impossibility of his task, Tali sets out to try and prove to the gods that humans are worthy of the gift of fire, intervening in the lives of a host of characters to make them act more responsibly. Tali’s story and the stories of the characters he meets are told in a combination of dramatic monologue, dialogue and Ben Mellor’s trademark verse, full of imagery, wit and wordplay in this engaging new solo show. The production aimed itself to be sustainable, and as a result was necessarily participatory. A bicycle was used on stage, mounted on a pedal generator which powered the lights. The faster the pedals turned, the [...]
I’m just coming to the end of my brief residency at Dartington Arts, and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to spend some creative time in such a beautiful setting supported by such a friendly and progressive arts organisation. I’ll post a bit more about what I’ve done while I’ve been here etc. in due course, but I just wanted to post this before tonight’s show so that anyone who wants to leave any feedback or continue any conversations we have in the bar afterwards can do so through the comments at the bottom of the page. Looking like it’s going to be a sell-out so thanks in advance to everyone who comes tonight, I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing what you’ve got to see (albeit slightly apprehensively!) Cheers.