Colors: Red Color

Kim Kardashian West has publicly addressed her husband Kanye's mental health issues following his recent series of erratic statements after writing on Instagram: "As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder.

"Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, know how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand."

She described him as a "brilliant but complicated person whose words sometimes do not align with his intentions."

Noted by many as one of America’s biggest music stars, the rapper is currently attempting to run for US president. But his first campaign rally and a number of recent Twitter messages have sparked confusion and concern.

Married in 2014, Kim and Kanye have four children together and in her message, the Reality TV star and model said she had not previously spoken publicly about how his mental health had affected the family "because I am very protective of our children and Kanye's right to privacy when it comes to his health".

She wrote: ‘But today, I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health. Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgemental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.’

She went on to say her husband was ‘subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions", but asked for greater empathy and understanding.

‘He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a Black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder’, she added. ‘Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions.

‘Living with bi-polar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some. That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his big dreams have come true. We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most.

‘I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this’.

Theatre officials will stop using the term BAME (Black, Asian and Multy Ethnic), saying it is outdated.

Coventry's Belgrade Theatre said it made the decision after listening to local Black artists who want to see the term eradicated across the industry.

Echoing the reasons set out by Black Creative Network, the theatre said its use "reinforces the assumption of white British as the 'norm' or default". The move was "only the first step on a long journey", it added.

Recently, UK students and artists explained why they felt the term - which originated in the '60s and '70s - was no longer relevant to them.

Corey Campbell, co-artistic director at the theatre, said the decision had already attracted criticism but he stood by it.

Setting out its "statement of intent", the theatre said the group of West Midlands-based artists identified several problems with the term and similar acronyms.

It said: "Although originally intended to refer to groups of people as a means of measuring diversity across organisations... it stripped away people's individual identities and encourages us to see those who are not white British as a single, homogeneous group."

To assign a "single, collective identity to the vast range of racial, cultural and ethnic groups currently living in the UK, it assumed that all of these groups share broadly similar
experiences as well as reinforcing the assumption of white British as the "norm" or default".

The term also "conflated physical characteristics with geographic identity... Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic are not equivalent terms".

The theatre added: "It has always been important to us to provide a space where all of the people who make up our city feel seen and supported, and now more than ever, we want to listen to and act upon the requests of those who currently do not,".

BAME will no longer be used in its public and internal communications, but theatre officials said they accepted the acronym may still appear in some official documents they would be required to use.

Due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, and the extended closure of both concert halls, Town Hall Symphony Hall have entered a period of redundancy consultation, with half of their staff at risk of redundancy.

The future of these two iconic concert halls, and the music charity responsible for them, looks very different from the plans they began the year with.

“Though we have been awarded emergency relief funding by Arts Council England, it remains the case that all other income generated through the core business of live music and entertainment has stopped,” the statement said.

“This period of closure has already resulted in huge losses and it is still unclear as to when it may be possible to re-open. In order to have a chance of survival we must now take the painful decision to reduce our staff in anticipation of the continuing uncertainty ahead.”

“We have responded to the challenge of declining public subsidy through the unwavering enterprise and spirit of our team. The announcement today is all the more painful because of this. Over the last few years we have evolved into an organisation that earns more than 90% of its turnover from our trading activities and this supports every aspect of what we do, from presenting international superstars on our stages to supporting emerging talent and creating first musical experiences for children in local schools. Our vulnerability to the current closure is a direct consequence of a business model that is less reliant on public subsidy than most.”

“In order to have any chance of survival we desperately need a time-based reopening strategy from the government and the funding to reach that point. Making an Entrance, our £13.2million transformation of Symphony Hall, is approaching completion and poised to reconnect the city through music. The government must now give the cultural sector a proper road map, and allow us to play our part in rebuilding the City’s cultural and community life following this pandemic.”

“This is heart-breaking news to share,” said Nick Reed, Chief Executive for Town Hall Symphony Hall, “We have a superb team of staff who care passionately about what they do and who openly share their love of live music with everyone that we connect with as a music charity.

“The digital activities we have continued to deliver in these desperate times are testament to that, sharing music from our halls, artists homes and venues from across the continent. Music has the power to bring people together and it fills me with great sadness that we remain unable to bring people together in our halls.

“Our thoughts are very much with the employees and their families that will be affected by this decision, as well as the numerous freelance musicians and artists who have been impacted by this global pandemic,” Reed continued.

“Along with the executive team, I continue to demand clearer guidance from the government on the detail of the grants and loans available and clearer guidelines for re-opening our cities cultural institutions,” said Anita Bhalla, Chair of the Board for the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall.

Despite improving the reserves of our music charity in recent years, due to the hard-work of our staff, this unprecedented global pandemic will have long term ramifications for our business. We have seen a vast number of redundancies across the arts and culture sector and it saddens me that we are today joining that long list. This is a difficult and sad time for all.”

“Those affected have been contacted and no final decision for redundancies we will be made until the consultation process has been completed.”


Hollyoaks actress Talia Grant has spoken about how the TV industry, "like life in general", treats Black people as being "disposable".

She told the soap's Don't Filter Your Feelings podcast that the media "can capitalise off of us without actually doing the real work behind the scenes".

Grant, 18, was discussing racism alongside co-stars Trevor A Toussaint and Richard Blackwood. It comes a month after Rachel Adedeji said she witnessed racism on the soap.

Grant, who plays Brooke on the Channel 4 soap, told the podcast: "It's amazing that there is a Black cast, and there's all of us, and there is that diversity.

"But I can't help but feel that sometimes in the industry, and in life in general, they treat Black people like we're disposable." She said she had "dealt with difficult situations and micro aggressions" on the soap. The actress added: "It's great for us to be in a high up position, but we're still going to experience it.

"The revolution will not be changed by diversity training, or racism training. It is changed by people changing their attitude and the way that the structural system works."

Toussaint, who plays Walter, pointed out that there were no senior Black staff on the Liverpool set of the soap, which is made by Lime Pictures.

The actor said: "There's racism in society... TV is no exception to this. There is not one person of colour... who has a position of authority within Lime Pictures. Why is that? I think I've seen two Black directors in all the time I've been there and definitely no Black producers. Why?"

Lime Pictures said Toussaint's comments did not apply to its London operation, but acknowledged it needed to do better.

"Hollyoaks celebrates inclusivity on screen and off," a statement said. "Whilst we believe that is evident on screen, we recognise that we need to do more to increase and support inclusivity behind the camera, especially for Black writers, directors and crew.

"We have significantly increased the number of writers of colour working on Hollyoaks, but we need to do more to support Black writers in particular."

The company said it had various initiatives in place to increase diversity, including a new writing award and internships.

Grant also said she was "extremely grateful" for the way the soap had dealt with her autism. They really made an effort, they all went on training, I felt just accepted and understood. People didn't view me as the problem," she said.

The trio also discussed racism and micro-aggressions beyond the broadcasting industry.

Recounting a recurring experience, Toussaint said: "I'm sitting on the Tube and it's a white person and they look around and there's only one seat left and it's the seat next to me and they will look directly at me and they choose to stand.

"If you say to a white person, 'That is a micro aggression', they will discount it because they haven't lived through that time and time and time again.

"Even at this point in my life, someone will say to me, 'You're really eloquent, aren't you?' And then there's a pause."

Toussaint also said: "I have lost jobs because I've spoken out and I'm not scared of losing my job. I have been vilified because I've spoken out about racism within companies. I've been beaten up because I've spoken out, I've been arrested because I've spoken out."

The podcast was the first in a series of special episodes in which Hollyoaks cast members will discuss racism and their personal experiences in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Three generations of a high-profile Bollywood family have tested positive for Covid-19, officials in the Indian state of Maharashtra say. Results showed the actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss World, and her daughter Aaradhya, eight, were infected with coronavirus.

Her husband Abhishek and father-in-law Amitabh, both also actors, were taken to hospital on Saturday with the virus. Both men were said to have mild symptoms.
Abhishek Bachchan tweeted that they would remain in hospital "till the doctors decide otherwise".

Aishwarya Bachchan, 46, is one of Bollywood's most famous faces both in India and abroad, featuring in several Bollywood and Hollywood films. She won the Miss World pageant in 1994 and is Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS. In 2003 she was the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.

The 77-year-old and her daughter are said to be asymptomatic. Her husband tweeted to say they would be self-isolating at home. He told his millions of Twitter followers he had tested positive for Covid-19.

"I have tested Covid positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests, results awaited," he wrote. He has been involved in 200 films over five decades.

He and Abhishek, 44, were taken to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. Abhishek described them both as having mild symptoms. Amitabh is currently in the isolation unit of the hospital, news agency ANI reported, quoting a public relations officer for the hospital. He urged anyone who had been close to him in the past 10 days to get tested.

His wife Jaya had tested negative, officials said. It was not clear whether results for other family members were yet in. Mumbai municipal officials have since put up banners outside the actor's house in the city, classifying it as a "containment zone".

The news has led to an outpouring of support for the family on social media. Among those paying their respects were actress Sonam K Ahuja and former India cricket player Irfan Pathan.

"Dear Amitabh ji, I join the whole Nation in wishing you a quick recovery! After all, you are the idol of millions in this country, an iconic superstar! We will all take good care of you. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!" said India's Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Bachchan Snr has enjoyed starring roles in hit movies such as Zanjeer and Sholay. Since rising to fame in the 1970s, he has won numerous accolades including four National Film Awards and 15 Filmfare Awards.

France has also bestowed its highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, for his contribution to cinema.

Outside acting, Bachchan Snr had a brief stint in politics and was elected as a member of India's parliament in 1984 at the behest of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But he resigned three years later, disillusioned by a corruption scandal under Mr Gandhi's government.

In recent months, he has been prominent in helping the government get its message across in the fight against coronavirus. India saw a record rise in the number of coronavirus cases by 27,100, with the total climbing to nearly 850,000 - the third highest caseload in the world.

There have been complaints about a lack of both testing and frontline medical staff. Indian megastars don't come bigger than the Bachchans, a family considered acting royalty.

At the helm of the dynasty is Amitabh Bachchan, one of the most famous people on the planet, with billions of fans spanning continents. Over five decades, the 77 year old actor has starred in hundreds of Bollywood films, fronted prime time television shows and is revered, even worshipped - by his die-hard followers.

Little wonder then, that news he has coronavirus is massive news in India and beyond. In 1982, the nation stood still as Amitabh Bachchan spent months in hospital after a film stunt went horribly wrong. This time he is said to be stable, with only mild symptoms. The star who has 43 million Twitter followers, has been tweeting thanks to his well-wishers from hospital.

His son, Abhishek Bachchan, and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who both tested positive, are big stars in their own right too.

As attention is focused on this one family, thousands of other Indians are contracting Covid-19 every day. The country is seeing a sharp rise in cases, now the third highest number in the world after the US and Brazil.

Actress Kelly Preston, the wife of John Travolta, has died.

Travolta posted on Instagram: "My beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many."

The couple had been married for nearly 29 years. Preston's career included roles in Twins, From Dusk Till Dawn, Jerry Maguire and The Cat in the Hat.

She also collaborated with her husband on Battlefield Earth and Old Dogs.

In his post, Travolta thanked the health workers who had looked after his wife "as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side".

"I will be taking some time to be there for my children who have lost their mother, so forgive me in advance if you don't hear from us for a while. But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal. All my love, JT".

The couple's son Jett Travolta died at the age of 16 in January 2009 from a seizure during a family holiday in the Bahamas.

They have two other children, Ella Bleu and Benjamin.

Ella Bleu wrote on Instagram: "I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you."

A family representative told People magazine that she died on Sunday morning and that she had kept her cancer diagnosis private.

"She had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends," the family representative said.

"She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched. Her family asks for your understanding of their need for privacy at this time."

Born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith in Honolulu, she changed her name to Kelly Preston before securing her first film role in the 1985 romcom Mischief, then appeared in another teen comedy, Secret Admirer.

Early tributes included those from Maria Shriver and Josh Gad. He (Gad) said he was "in absolute shock".

Spencer Breslin, who played Preston's son in The Cat in the Hat, remembered his "screen mom" as being "a lovely woman", adding: "Such a sad loss."

Lost star Daniel Dae Kim, meanwhile, said he had been "lucky enough to work with her on one of my very first films," 1999's For Love of The Game.

"We were shooting on cold days in Colorado, but she couldn't have been warmer or kinder to a young, nervous actor trying to make good," he continued.

One of Preston's last screen roles came in the 2018 crime biopic Gotti, in which she appeared opposite her husband.

While promoting the film at the Cannes Film Festival, the actress spoke to reporters about their long relationship.

"We took the time to get to know each other," she said. "Marriage doesn't just happen on its own; you have to keep creating love.

"We also keep it light. Neither of us like to fight so we purposely do not push each other's buttons."

She was 57.


Award-winning DJ Steve Sutherland has died, according to the organisers of the MOBO Awards.

The MOBO Awards paid tribute to his contribution to the Black British music scene and tweeted to say they were "deeply saddened". It is not yet known how he died.

Sutherland, who has been widely praised for his contribution to the UK Black music scene, won several MOBO Awards for Best Club DJ and had his own radio shows on Choice and Galaxy FM.

He was well known on the club circuit in Ibiza, London and beyond, with his brand Twice As Nice.

Fellow DJ Trevor Nelson and singer Beverley Knight were among those to pay tribute to him on social media.

Nelson tweeted: "Just heard the sad news of another great loss to British Black music.
"Condolences to the family of Steve Sutherland who I first met and worked with at the Kensington roof gardens 30 years ago. @TwiceasNiceUK r.i.p."

There’s no end to the on-going benevolence of mega superstar, Stormzy.

After breaking onto the music scene the rapper has used his highly-polished platform for doing seemingly nothing but good; with the latest overwhelmingly gratifying deed seeing the multi-award winning rapper unexcitingly showing up in a schoolboys’ bedroom, in Croydon, south London, to help paint and decorate his bedroom as part of a ‘give back’ scheme run by decorating company The Good Guys.

For 15-year-old Ishae, you couldn’t have thought of a better ‘What I did in the holidays’ when he gets back to school.

For Croydon man, Stormzy, it’s just another of his growing portfolio of great and substantial stances he has made since he’s been in the public eye.

Having offered scholarships to Black UK students who have admitted to the University of Cambridge, pledged £10 million to UK organisations, charities and movements tackling racial inequality, justice reform and Black empowerment and announced a publishing deal with Penguin to help young writers become published authors

The 24-year-old superstar, who has a record label called #Merky, which has a deal with Atlantic Records to release his own music and to find "fresh new talent" was the first grime artist to achieve a UK number one album, topping the charts with his debut Gang Signs and Prayer in 2017. It went on to earn him the prizes for best album and best male at the 2018 Brit Awards.

His array of other awards include; MOBO, Mercury Prize, BET, Ivor Novello, GQ Men of the Year, Global, BBC Music, AIM Independent Music, MTV Europe Music, NME, Q, Rated Silver Clef, South Bank Sky Arts and UK Music Video awards.

Goodness only knows what might happen come the net New Years.


Vamos Theatre announce transmission dates for ‘How Hard is Waving?’ marking the company’s BBC debut
Worcester-based Vamos Theatre, the UK’s leading full mask theatre company, announce the transmission dates for How Hard is Waving? a brand-new series of specially commissioned short films. 
Part of  BBC’s Culture in Quarantine, the 20, 1-3 minute shorts will be screened across a range of BBC social media platforms, including BBC iPlayer, with the Culture in Quarantine mission ‘to bring the arts to UK homes despite venue closures, social distancing and lockdowns’.
Vamos Theatre fought off competition from more than 1,600 applications to win the commission, part of a total of 25 projects from a range of artists selected across England.
Described as Jack Tati meets Homer Simpson, and performed entirely without words, How Hard is Waving? is the story of Ryan, alone in lockdown and doing his best to support his quirky, extended family through video link alone – not to mention keeping his own mental health on track. Playful, comic, and poignant, these non-verbal shorts take us on a journey through four weeks of daily online meetups…can Ryan keep Gran happy? Will Dad come a cropper with his DIY? And does Ryan stand a chance with Katie, Gran’s carer?
How Hard is Waving? marks Vamos Theatre’s debut performance on the BBC providing the company with a unique opportunity to bring their work to a much wider audience. The film commission is also a great addition to their growing portfolio of work which includes full mask theatre productions across the UK as well as performing at national and international festivals and events. 
Vamos Theatre’s submission is based around film shorts produced for social media which the company screened every day during the initial phase of lockdown.
Rachael Savage, Vamos Theatre’s Artistic Director said “How Hard is Waving?  starts transmitting this week across BBC Arts social media platforms and will run Tuesday-Saturday mornings for the next four weeks. It will also be linked to our own Vamos Theatre social media too.
“We are extra excited because each weekend BBC iPlayer will screen an Omnibus edition providing viewers with the chance to ‘binge watch’ all of the previous week’s shorts.”
Alongside Rachael Savage (director and performer), the cast is made up of renowned full mask actors, Alan Riley and James Greaves, with Rosa Savage making her professional debut for the company. Norah the dog also takes part, playing herself. Guided remotely by film maker and editor Dan Hill, each of the cast has been performing at home and filming their own footage, which has been a steep but fascinating learning curve for everyone. All episodes feature an original score by composer, Janie Armour.
Vamos Theatre’s Culture in Quarantine project was made with support from The Space, a digital agency and production company helping to promote wider engagement across the arts and cultural sector, and Battersea Arts Centre.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre was transformed into a bright beacon of red light as part of the national Light It In Red initiative.

The REP’s lighting technicians joined other workers, freelancers and specialists from across the country to transform the venue in support of ‘Light It In Red’ which aims to shed a light on freelancers, suppliers and those who work in the theatre and events industry in a time of uncertainty as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.

Artistic Director, Sean Foley and Executive Director, Rachel Thomas said; "Tonight, we join a multitude of venues across the country who are lighting their buildings red in support of freelancers, suppliers, and those in the theatrical and events industry on whom our entire theatre ecology relies.

“We hope that funds in the Government’s new cultural support package will be distributed in a representative and inclusive way that recognises the vital role played by these individuals and companies in sustaining the theatrical landscape.”



The Italian composer whose credits include the ‘spaghetti westerns’ that made Clint Eastwood a star, has died in Rome.

According to Italian news agency Ansa, he died in hospital having fractured his femur in a fall some days previous.

The prolific composer also wrote music for Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, he went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Morricone, who was simply known as "Maestro" in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

Yet he remains best known for the haunting melodies he wrote for the trilogy of 1960s westerns Sergio Leone made with the then little-known Eastwood.

A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly centred around Eastwood's taciturn gunslinger, known as "The Man With No Name".

Leone called the composer's contributions "indispensable" and would have him write the score before shooting so he could design his shots around Morricone's contributions.

Eastwood went on to direct Westerns himself, including the Oscar-winning Unforgiven, but Morricone did not write music for them out of loyalty to Leone.

Before his win for The Hateful Eight, Morricone received Oscar nominations for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena.

His death was marked by Italian health minister Roberto Speranza, who tweeted: "Adieu maestro, and thank you for the emotions you gave us."

Fellow composer Hans Zimmer said Morricone was "one of a kind" and "an icon".

"His music was always outstanding and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought," he continued.

He was 91.


Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has died aged 96.


The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in the 1967 film Taming of the Shrew and Dame Judi Dench on stage in Romeo and Juliet.


Italian media said Zeffirelli died after a long illness which had grown worse in recent months.


The two-time Oscar nominee also served in the Italian senate for two terms as a member of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party.


He is perhaps best known to many as the director of the 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet – starring a then-unknown Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey.


It was viewed by generations of school students studying the Shakespearean drama.

The illegitimate son of a merchant, his mother gave him the surname "Zeffiretti" – meaning "little breezes" – which was misspelled on his birth certificate.


The original meaning came from a Mozart opera – and Zeffirelli would go on to become a prolific creator of opera himself, staging more than 120 during his career in London, Milan and New York.


"Franco Zeffirelli, one of the world's greatest men of culture, passed away this morning," tweeted Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence. "Goodbye dear Maestro, Florence will never forget you."


Zeffirelli initially studied architecture at the University of Florence, but his education was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. During the conflict, he fought for Communist partisan forces against Mussolini's Fascists and the occupying Nazis.


After being captured by Fascists, he was saved from execution when his interrogator turned out to be a half-brother whom he'd never known. His half-brother arranged for his release.


When the war was over, he continued his studies but said he became inspired to pursue a career in theatre after seeing Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944).


In 1945, he started work as a set designer at Florence's Teatro della Pergola, and concentrated on theatre throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


At the Pope's request, in 1970 Zeffirelli staged "Missa solemnis" in honour of the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.


His first film was a Shakespeare adaptation, The Taming of the Shrew. While initially intended to star two Italian actors, it was heavily funded by Hollywood couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who eventually assumed the two leading roles.


Another notable adaptation of the bard's plays would come in 1990s Hamlet – starring Mel Gibson in the title role, with Glenn Close and Helena Bonham Carter among the supporting cast.



Wolverhampton Grand Theatre has today announced that regrettably, and with great sadness, their 2020 pantomime Cinderella, has been postponed until December 2021.


Cinderella is the first pantomime to be produced by the theatre in over three decades and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the creative teams have been unable to collaborate together to deliver the first-class pantomime audiences have come to expect.


The safety and welfare of the audience, artists and employees was also a key factor in the decision to postpone. Over 60,000 people attend The Grand’s annual pantomime, with a large proportion of those tickets purchased by schools and families, including young children.

Adrian Jackson, CEO and Artistic Director said: “It has been an enormously difficult decision to postpone this year’s pantomime which, during the lifetime of the Grand Theatre, has become a tradition loved by many generations of families. We will continue to work hard during the next eighteen months, and we will present our spectacular pantomime during the festive season next year.

Cinderella is one of the most magical pantomimes and we will create something very special for Grand Theatre audiences.

It will be very sad not to be welcoming our loyal patrons to panto this Christmas, however I encourage audiences to please stay with us for 2021, which I know will be a fantastic year.”

Ticket holders have been automatically transferred to the equivalent performance with the same seats next year. The theatre will send individual correspondence to everyone affected outlining the options available.

Pantomime sponsor Dudley Zoo and Castle has also pledged its support by transferring their sponsorship to next year.

All remaining productions for 2020 have either been transferred to new dates or have been cancelled. West End hits Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and 9 To 5 will be amongst the first shows to open at the Grand in the New Year.



Earl Cameron, one of the first Black actors to forge a successful career in British film and television, has died a family friend has said.


The Bermuda-born star that lived with his wife in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, died in his sleep.


Cameron first appeared on screen in the 1951 film Pool of London, in a rare starring role for a Black actor.


His other credits include 1965 Bond movie Thunderball and Doctor Who.

Cameron was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.


Family friend Martin Beckett said: "He had sheltered himself because of Covid and had not really been keen on going out, he had chest problems.


"He's a great character, very spiritual, very modest; we're going to miss him.


"He would never take on roles that demeaned people of colour... he was often subject of a lot of racial prejudice, but he never really got angry about it. He pitied people that couldn't accept him."


Actor David Harewood called Cameron "a total legend".


Bermuda Premier David Burt tweeted: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of iconic Bermudian actor Earl Cameron."


Paterson Joseph, who recently starred as Kamal Hadley in the BBC's Noughts and Crosses series, said Cameron was a "giant man", whose "pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on".


Artistic director Sir Matthew Bourne said he was a "groundbreaker" with a "great legacy".

Cameron also starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in the 2005 film The Interpreter.


One of his final acting credits was for a small part in the 2010 film Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page.


As he turned 100, Cameron said he wanted to see more Black actors in roles.


He said: "There's a lot of talent out there and I think the British film industry would prosper by using more Black talent."


Cameron joined the British merchant navy and arrived in the UK in 1939.


He told the Royal Gazette he made his debut in the chorus of Chu Chin Chow, a West End show, when he was working as a dishwasher at a restaurant and they needed someone quickly.


He was 102.

Birmingham Opera Company has announced that conductor Alpesh Chauhan will join the organisation as Music Director from 1 July 2020.

Chauhan will stand alongside Artistic Director Graham Vick leading the Company on its mission to make great opera for all the peoples of Birmingham.
Birmingham born Alpesh was Principal Cello with the CBSO Youth Orchestra. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in 2008 to study the cello before pursuing the prestigious Master’s Conducting Course. Highlights of Chauhan’s career include a subscription concert with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre and his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic, a production of Turandot in Valencia at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía as well as regular appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where until 2016 he was Assistant Conductor.

For the past five years Alpesh has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma, who awarded him the title of Principal Conductor and with whom he has performed and recorded staples of the great symphonic repertoire, including a complete cycle of Brahms’ symphonies. He regularly appears as a guest with acclaimed British orchestras including across the UK and further afield internationally. Chauhan made his UK opera debut in 2019 with Birmingham Opera Company, the CBSO and director Graham Vick for Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He is a finalist in the International Opera Awards 2020.
A keen advocate of music education for young people, Alpesh has worked with ensembles such as the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the symphony orchestras of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Northern College of Music. He is a patron of Awards for Young Musicians, a UK charity supporting talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds on their musical journeys.
On the appointment Graham Vick, Artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: "From the word go it was clear to me that Alpesh not only was an outstanding conductor with great theatrical flair but also had a profound empathy for the Company. As the need for the Company’s values becomes ever more urgent, I am thrilled that he has agreed to join me at the helm.”
Alpesh Chauhan said: "It’s a huge privilege for me to take up the post of Music Director at the Birmingham Opera Company. Following the success of last year’s project - Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - I’m particularly excited to work more alongside Graham Vick - one of the world’s greatest opera directors.

“It’ll be an honour to stand at the front of this special organisation which combines its massed forces to be a shining beacon for Birmingham. Growing up in Birmingham gave me the best of musical starts - being immersed in a city of culture at the highest level - and I’m now extremely happy to be a regular contributor to the city’s glowing cultural output. I am especially delighted to be a part of an organisation such as BOC which constantly thinks outside of the box with its totally immersive performances, successfully broadening the opera audience.”



Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, although Town Hall and Symphony Hall have closed, the music has played on.

The last performance at the Birmingham venues saw Jamie Cullum perform to a sell-out audience. Before the concert, the award-winning artist met four Birmingham-based jazz pianists from the Jazzlines talent development programme.

David Austin Grey, Ashley Allen, Piera Onarko and Stella Roberts will perform across consecutive Friday’s in Spring 2021 part of a series titled “Jamie Cullum recommends”. Each concert, which were originally scheduled for this Autumn, will be free to attend but tickets must be booked in advance in order to secure entry.

Jamie Cullum said: “I was thrilled to be asked to recommend some of the hottest artists from Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Jazzlines Talent Development Program. These four incredible Birmingham based Jazz pianists; David Austin Grey, Ashley Allen, Piera Onako and Stella Roberts must be seen so make sure you catch this exceptional series of talent.”

The live music industry is asking the general public to share pictures and videos from the last concert they attended on social media with the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay, to show the vital importance of the UK’s live music industry.

Nick Reed, Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Chief Executive said: “I’m proud of the digital activities we have continued to deliver in these desperate times. Of course, our charitable output relies on income generated through our core business of live music entertainment and sustaining these impactful activities long-term is simply not possible. The recently published government guidelines provide no assurance. We urgently need a time-based plan for re-opening at full capacity and a financial support package in order for the thriving and exciting music scene in this city to survive.”

Beyond the 800 events and performances on Birmingham’s world-renowned stages every year, the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall provides life-changing experiences to over 18,000 young people and adults and has continued to provide for audiences and participants alike.

Over 150 people have joined online workshops as part of Community Spirit - a project run in partnership with THSH Associate Artists, Black Voices which offers local community choirs the opportunity to share repertoire and perform as a collective.

50 participants from BIMM Birmingham and CUBE joined one of pop music's leading music directors, Kojo Samuel for a virtual Q+A. He shared industry insights, including his involvement with Stormzy's headline-grabbing set on the Pyramid stage at last year's Glastonbury.

5 Black Birmingham jazz musicians have been commissioned to compose new music as part of the music charity’s talent development programme. One of the three pieces released last week has been selected by Jazz FM’s China Moses as her Late Night Track of the Week.

Digital broadcasts from Town Hall and Symphony Hall in the last three months have amassed almost 200,000 views. Winners of two prestigious BBC Young Musician competitions, Xhosa Cole and Lauren Zhang performed digital concerts to online audiences, direct from the centre of Birmingham’s cultural heart. Other artists including Daniel O’Donnell, Eric Bibb and Isata Kanneh-Mason have performed for online audiences from their homes. Town Hall and Symphony Hall have also shared pre-recorded concerts from across the continent as part of a collaboration amongst European Concert Halls.

According to research conducted by Virgin Money, music has powered British optimism during the coronavirus pandemic, with almost half (43%) of Birmingham attributing music as being the creative force helping to keep their spirits high.

In addition to having a positive impact on mental health, the live music industry contributes £4.5billion in gross value added each year.