Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Megan Swann, Richard Smyth, The Story of Looking.
Megan Swann is the first ever female President of The Magic Circle, and the youngest ever President at just 28 years old. She tells Tom how she got into magic, and how she uses magic to share an environmental message.
Richard Smyth is one of the five authors shortlisted for the £15,000, 16th BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University. He tells us what his short story, ‘Maykopsky District, Adyghe Oblast’ and his 2008 appearance on Mastermind have in common.
On what would have been her 90th birthday Front Row celebrates the work of the artist Dame Elizabeth Blackadder who died last month. Susan Mansfield, the writer and art critic for The Scotsman, examines one of her paintings - Cat and Flowers (1981) from the Fleming Collection
Award winning film maker Mark Cousins’s new film The Story of Looking is a reflection by the film maker as he waits for an operation to restore his vision on the powerful role that the visual experience plays in our individual and collective lives. Playwright Mark Ravenhill and writer on film Sophie Monks Kaufman give their take on the film, and react to the news of the deaths of filmmakers Roger Michell and Melvin van Peebles.
Presenter: Tom Sutcliffe
Producer: Harry Parker
The Contains Strong Language Festival
On 6 October 1941 “The Coventry Telegraph” reported that women of Coventry had sent a message of support to the women of Stalingrad. And so began a relationship that became formalised by twin city status in 1844. Coventry now has 26 twin cities and those connections are celebrated in a new project, Twin Cities: Postcard Poems which paired ten poets from Coventry with poets from across the world. The resulting correspondence led to new poems being written and we hear from two of the poets involved: Emile Lauren Jones – the newly announced Coventry Poet Laureate - and David Morley.
Boff Whalley came to public attention as part of the exuberant pop group – Chumbawumba. He joins Front Row to discuss the Belgrade Theatre’s new musical, Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency. It’s a show that he’s written the music for, and which is based on a true housing story that happened in London in the 1970s, Members of the cast of The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency perform one of the songs in the musical - B.N.V.A. R
The Twin Cities: Postcard poems have also been collected into a new book – To Coventry by Sun. Poet Jane Commane is the editor of the new collection and as well as the organiser of the Twin Cities: Postcard poems project. She talks to Nick about Coventry’s multi-twinned status and how correspondence from abroad can help us to see our homes afresh.
The distinguished 19th century African-American actor, writer, and theatre manager, Ira Aldridge, makes an appearance in the world premiere of a new play, This Little Relic, set in present-day Coventry. The writer and actor Karla Marie Sweet, has written the play and discusses why she wanted to bring Ira Aldridge back to the future.
Presented by Nick Ahad
Studio Engineer: John Cole
Produced by Ekene Akalawu
Spiers and Boden, music streaming economics, Calvin Kasulke, Danny Rhodes
There's some excitement in the world of English traditional music: Spiers and Boden have reunited, recorded a new album and are embarking on a month long tour. Squeezebox player John Spiers met fiddle player Jon Boden in a pub session twenty years ago and quickly established themselves as a duo playing English music, winning a devoted following and several awards. They formed the hugely successful 11-piece folk big band Bellowhead, but separated in 2014 and didn't play together again until this year. Spiers and Boden talk about their new album, Fallow Ground, explain how they find old tunes, and write new ones. And they play two tunes inspired by ancient English places.
A DCMS Report has called for a “complete reset” of the music industry following an investigation into the economics of music streaming services. Reporter Melanie Abbott describes the impact that streaming and new forms of music distribution have had on the earnings of artists and why the Government have accepted the recommendation to refer major music groups to the Competition and Markets Authority.
Although written before the pandemic and the rise of working from home culture, Calvin Kasulke’s novel, Several People are Typing is set entirely on the Slack chat of staff working at a small advertising agency. He joins us to discuss how our online versions of ourselves can interact with our physical lives, as well as the complexities of writing as an online bot.
We talk to another of the authors shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2021. Danny Rhodes’s story ‘Toadstone’ tells the story of a man returning to the village of his childhood, and looking to his own future. Danny Rhodes is a novelist and a lecturer in creative writing.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Sarah Johnson
We announce the winner of the 2021 Art Fund Museum of the Year
We announce the winner of the 2021 Art Fund Museum of the Year, the world’s largest museum prize. Front Row broadcasts a special programme from London's Science Museum, reflecting on the resilience and imagination of museums throughout the pandemic.
John Wilson will be joined by judges Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate; artist Thomas J Price, Lead of Strategic Projects at Google Suhair Khan and broadcaster Edith Bowman. As well as Director of Art Fund Jenny Waldman.
We'll also be exploring the future of museums and galleries with Tilly Blyth from the Science Museum and Sandra Shakespeare from the British Black Museum project.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Simon Richardson
Everybody's Talking about Jamie, Rory Gleeson, Grinling Gibbons Exhibition
Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is a feature film based on the stage musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. It centres on Jamie, a gay teenager from Sheffield who wants to attend his prom in drag. Ellen E Jones reviews.
We talk to another of the authors shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2021. Rory Gleeson’s story is called The Body Audit and in it a group of teenagers carry out a revealing ritual, with surprising results. Rory Gleeson is a novelist, playwright and screenwriter.
Woodcarver Hugh Wedderburn, discusses the genius of this art, Grinling Gibbons, whose tercentenary is celebrated in a new exhibition at Compton Verney in Warwickshire.
Main image above: Limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons
Image credit: Abingdon Town Hall