The next In The Limelight talk on Thursday 9th June 2022 at the Water Rats, 328, Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 8BZ at 730pm will feature Robert Ross talking about Forgotten Heroes Of Comedy. Robert is a leading authority on the history of British comedy and has written 16 books. In this long overdue and affectionate salute, Robert will pay tribute to some of the finest, funniest and most captivating names in comedy – from both sides of the Atlantic. Tickets (BMHS Members £8; Non-Members £12) can be booked via Ticketsource:
The British Film Institute have a 2 for1 offer for their Judy Garland season.
It is very much a celebratory season where tribute is paid to this Hollywood icon as an entertainer – dancer, singer and comedian.
Judy Garland: A Star is Reborn @ BFI Southbank June 2022
It’s time to forget your troubles and get happy with a celebration of one of the most enduring icons of the 20th century. Why not grab a friend and enjoy this 2 for 1 ticket offer – simply quote Judy241 when booking.
Our third Music Hall and Variety Day will take place next Monday 16th May 2022. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to celebrate everything we love about Music Hall and Variety.
We now have our Facebook group, Friends of the BMHS and we are looking forward to seeing your own memories, stories and items of interest posted there and on twitter (@musichallsoc) throughout the day.
We are offering a talk via Zoom at 7.30pm about Douglas Byng, tickets can be booked here
The next In The Limelight talk on Thursday 19th May 2022 at the Water Rats, 328, Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 8BZ at 730pm will feature Miranda Brooke talking about the life of Renée Houston, a performer who, with her sister, Billie, become a leading variety act in the 1920s. She later appeared on TV, radio and film. Miranda Brooke is the author of the only biography about Renée called Renee Houston: Spirit Of The Irresistibles. Tickets (BMHS Members £8; Non-Members £10) can be booked via Ticketsource:
Discover one Britain’s best kept theatrical secrets as documentary feature film Barry & Joan is released in cinemas this spring on 6th May 2022.
Barry & Joan is a unique and joyful insight into the creative world of Barry and Joan Grantham, two British eccentrics who have kept the skills of British vaudeville alive for over seventy years. Since becoming stage-struck lovers in 1948, Barry and Joan have taught, danced and acted alongside the greats of British film and theatre. They are the last of the golden generation of vaudeville acts, eager to pass on their legacy and passion to future generations.
An energetic couple, they have been treading the boards for over seven decades. He was an incurable performer who loved to cross-dress. She was a dancing piano genius. She spotted his legs when they met in a musical. Seventy-five years later, they are still married, performing, and teaching. This quirky and delightful documentary takes us on a journey through the lives of Barry and Joan’s rich history as performing artists and creators on stage and screen. They are emblems of expressive freedom, having built a repertoire of performance spanning from television and Music Hall to drag and nude theatre.
Novices and performing arts professionals alike travel from Europe and the US to hone their skills and expand their craft under the methodical chaos of Barry and Joan’s workshops on Vaudeville, Eccentric dance and Commedia dell’Arte at the Sands Film Studio in London. Their story is a treasure trove of inspiration for the playful and open-minded. As their magic unfolds before us, the joyous enthusiasm the pair share for performance and each other is infectious and it becomes clear that they just didn’t have time to grow old.
Making her feature film debut director Audrey Rumsby, who studied under Barry and Joan, describes the film as ‘about artists and people who devote their lives to play. I don’t claim for a single moment that the artists in this film are “doing it best” or are perfect in any way. It’s about the experience of finding a craft, learning it, cherishing it, and devoting one’s life to it. Barry and Joan symbolize a way of life, and a possibility for what you can be and who you can love, and what you can create if you’re willing to be your own quirky self. That idea is the root of Commedia dell’Arte, Vaudeville, Music Hall, and Eccentric Dance. Thank you for stepping into our world. I hope you like it here as much as I do.’
Following a UK premiere at the North East International Film Festival in November 2021 Barry & Joan now embarks on a UK release marking an exciting opportunity to bask in the warm glow of these inspiring characters. This tale of two national treasures is a rallying cry for uniqueness and self-expression in an increasingly box shaped world.
Barry & Joan graces UK cinemas from 6th May with special Q&A screenings to be announced.