Black Country Touring best bits of 2018

The BCT team have had a wonderful year putting on shows, developing new work, helping our young promoters put on the B Black Country festival and celebrating our 21st Birthday by revisiting some of the great shows we’ve developed over the years. We asked the team for their best bits of 2018…

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Company Manager, Deb Justice. “My best memory of 2018 was escorting Elvis and Shona (Life’s a Beach characters) around Tipton town centre to the chip shop, the Job Centre and down to Sandwell Advocacy. It was very funny but the locals seemed to take it in their stride.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Co-artistic Director, Frances Land. “I am going to pick the 21st Birthday as my highlight – marking the occasion of Black Country Touring’s 21st anniversary by bringing together cast members from previous productions to perform short extracts from different productions, filling the large hall at Newhampton Arts Centre with photos and displays that showed the real breadth of our work and the brilliant promoters and creative people we work with. And of course all the lovely people who were there to celebrate with us and the BCT team who put in all the hard graft to make it happen – it made me very proud indeed.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Creative Producer Bobby Tiwana. “Seeing ‘Back in 10’ come to fruition at the Black Country Living Museum. It was during the dress rehearsal of ‘Steel Vermin Waltz’ in The Trap Works; only then did I fully grasp the potentiality of this project’s concept. There was a seamless beauty between the historic, the imagined and the present. A narrow window on the past had so much to say about today.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Administration and Communications Co-ordinator Joanne Blunt. “My highlight would have to be getting to know what BCT do and the people they work with. People in the Black Country are working so hard to bring arts to the area and are making a huge difference and it’s brilliant to see it in action from the other side.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Development Support Matt Andrews. “As a relative newcomer to BCT, it was great to delve into the archive and learn more about the series of original productions that have been created since 2006 and see extracts from them at the event itself. I was particularly moved by the extract from Apna Ghar, which explores the complexity and tragedy of marriage, family and abuse. I feel that taken as a whole, the productions tell the real, nuanced stories of Black Country life, breaking beyond the stereotypes.
I’m also really excited about the work that’s going on behind the scenes, which promise an ambitious and bold future for BCT and its programme.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Marketing and PR Support Kerry O’Coy. “Every production I work on with BCT is a real treat. I’m always blown away by the quality of work and the depth of local research that goes in to each show. This year it was an absolute pleasure to work with the team on Back In 10. The first show ‘Steel Vermin Waltz’ performed by Rochi Rampal and supported by the graduates from University of Wolverhampton brought tears to my eyes. I loved each week’s performance at the Black Country Living Museum filming them for Facebook Live – even if the rain did get in the way a couple of times. I can’t wait to see what the team have planned in 2019. All I know is it will be brilliant – of course.”

Black Country Touring – best bits of 2018 with Young and Community Promoter Co-ordinator Natalie Kidman.“It’s really hard to choose as there have been so many wonderful events and collaborations over the past year, as always!
If I can only choose one though, it will have to be B Black Country our Second Young Promoters Festival that took place in June. It was – as it always is – a privilege to support the young people involved to produce the festival who did a fantastic job.”