The research of neuropsychologist Dr. Weeks suggests that people who live their lives without worrying what others think are more likely to be healthier and live longer than the rest of us. Social commentators have suggested that eccentrics provide evidence for well functioning societies, which can accept and respond to new and challenging ideas. So, not only can we learn from people who defy convention – they are good for us!
We celebrate such people, scouring Britain for the most eccentric communities and developing bespoke tours in each place that include hilarious performances, a creative audio experience, gently encouraging people to have glorious fun in public places.
The project was initially created in Brighton by Paschale Straiton and Ivan Fabrega and subsequently developed with Sarah Sansom from Time Wont Wait to involve greater opportunities for people to take part – in our research, in satellite workshops and as performers.
Performer (Lesley): Michael Wagg
Michael studied at ArtsEd London & Hull University. Theatre includes work with Theatre Alibi, Teatro Vivo, Trestle Theatre Company, Dash Arts, Hijinx Theatre, Birmingham Stage, Sonia Friedman Productions, Changeling Theatre, TNT and Tour de Force. Film & TV includes Tournament of Shadows, Ibiza Undead, Whistler, Bedlam and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Radio: The Eliza Stories, The Arts Show andWoman’s Hour. Also a writer, Michael has written for Teatro Vivo, Royal Court education, The Guardian and The Observer
Performer (Leslie): Paschale Straiton
Paschale is Artistic Director of Red Herring with a keen interest in audience participation and the value of play. She has directed several projects for Red Herring including That’s The Way To Do It! commissioned by Without Walls and produced by Time Wont Wait, Drive In commissioned by Sitelines Festival and Hogarth Productions, and Speakers’ Corner for Brighton Fringe.
She trained at Circomedia – circus school in Bristol and the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck College. She has worked as a freelance director and performer with a range of companies including The New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent, Bureau of Silly Ideas, Coney, Wildworks, Forkbeard Fantasy and Gonzo Moose and has worked in shows designed for locations from a car park in Reading and a shopping centre in Stockton, to Kensington Palace.
Performer in Harlow (Vivienne): Lucy Frost
Lucy is a founder member of Molly Orange, a circus and street arts company. She trained as a scenic designer and has a first class degree in Performance Design and Management. She began working in street theatre with Artizani in 2008 touring with Desert Island Discs. In 2009/10 she co-devised and performed in the Lakes Alive commission The Cabaret of Dr Caligari with Artizani. She went on to perform circus and music in theatre productions such as Hard Times by the Library Theatre Manchester and as the Princess Celestial in The Adventures of Sinbad at the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond. Recent work includes performing and producing for Emergency Exit Arts and performing around Australia and developing networks with circus and street arts practitioner in Australia and the UK, supported by Arts Council England’s Artist Development Fund.
Performer in Harlow (Vivian): Simon Spencer Hyde
Simon graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2003. Work since includes: Ark-ive for The National Theatre & Wildworks; Enchanted Palace for Wildworks; Alice In Wonderland at the New Vic Theatre (Stoke); Alan Ayckbourne’s Intimate Exchanges with Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal; The Boy Who Cried Wolf for tutti frutti; Three Witches for Hoopla Productions & Belgrade Theatre: Home Fires for inroads productions & Zap Arts. He is a regular performer for commedia dell’arte company The Rude Mechanical Theatre, where shows include: Who Saw Marjory Daw?, Harlequin Goes to the Moon & The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cat. As an actor/muso Simon plays several musical instruments including accordion, clarinet, guitar, ukulele, piano & mandolin – he also is a confident baritone and is quick to pick up and hold harmonies.
He worked previously with Red Herring as Mr. Punch in That’s The Way To Do It!
Engagement Director: Nick Cassenbaum
Nick is a storyteller, street performer and theatre maker. He has an MA from Goldsmiths in Writing for Performance and is a graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers programme. Nick writes plays, makes and performs solo work, creates street performances and broadcasts podcasts for the Guardian. He is co-artistic director of Slap Haddock, take stock exchange and regularly makes work with Circadian.
Designer: Alison Neighbour
Alison is a freelance scenographer and designer, with a particular interest in creating adventurous environments for audiences. She trained at RADA and has worked extensively in theatre and event design, as well occasionally for film and TV. Alison is most excited by performances that happen outside of traditional theatre spaces, and has designed for theatre in tunnels, on beaches, and on bicycles, as well as more traditional performances spaces. Alison is also Artistic Director of Bread and Goose.
Music and Sound Design: Joss Peach
Joss is a pianist, vocalist and multi instrumentalist composer and sound designer. He is a regular performer at top jazz venues, and his zany side sees him performing in the street and at events dressed as Rowlf The Dog (The Muppets). Recent projects include composing and performing live a new score for the 1929 silent film ‘A Cottage on Dartmoor’ for Filmspot. He is also composing for 2 animated series with Nickelodeon and a set of animated songs for CBBC.
Funny Peculiar was originally created in Brighton 2014 with the following artists:
Lucy Bradridge, Thor McIntyre Burnie, Katie Etheridge, Marion Duggan, Ivan Fabrega, Matt Rudkin and Catherine Soanes,
With special thanks to Flora Herberich and the Time Wont Wait team, Elly Hargreave, Ragroof Theatre, John Baldock, the Max Miller Society, Brighton Youth Centre, Brighton Theatre Royal, Nick Jones, The Walley Range Allstars and all of our sponsors.
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