How is it that theatre and music are so separated?

This weekend one of my plays '“ Genghis '“ is being performed at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 2nd November 2016, 6:16 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:24 pm
The New Theatre Royal

I love this theatre, not only because my work is shown there and I’m part of its Creative Lab, but also because it is so darn beautiful.

If you haven’t been there, make the pilgrimage. The theatre’s history is chequered, with fires, destruction and refurbishing and designs by Frank Matcham.

That it is open at all stands as a testament to the people power of Portsmouth fighting for this amazing venue.

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It’s one of those spaces that you enter and draw a breath as it reeks of history. With its recent £4m refurbishment alongside the creation of a new university space for performing arts students, it’s an amazing gem slap bang in the middle of the city. And it should be used and enjoyed by all of us, whatever our age or associations.

I’m rather interested in associations. By this I mean whether we associate ourselves with theatre or with music.

I recently learned that Portsmouth is well-known as a musical city. Look at the success of Victorious and the clubs and pubs who host live music.

Seemingly this love of music is partly borne from all the big name bands who used to stop off at the Guildhall before heading across on the ferry to a continental tour.

I remember going to concerts at the Guildhall all the time when I was a teenager. The Damned, The Cult, The Mission. Any guesses what music I liked?

But I also remember my contemporaries watching Aha and other chart-topping favourites. We did have it all. Plus there was the Wedgewood Rooms hosting the weird and wonderful, such as The Colour Blind James Experience and that nightclub – Granny’s – at the top of the Tricorn, with live music such as The Macc Lads.

A man told me recently that he didn’t go to the theatre, he went to gigs. That’s who he was. Which made me realise that I tend to see theatre, as many plays and show that I can cram in, but less music nowadays.

How is it that the two disciplines have become so separated in my life and his?

So for all you music fans who might fancy a night of murderous comedy, silk and barbarian hordes, there’s a live drummer in Genghis too.


In a few days’ time we will know the outcome of the American presidential election.

What a ride this campaign has been. You can’t help but be fascinated as the result has an awful lot to do with us and how we’ll fare in a world that could be tremendously different to the one we think we exist in now.

I can’t believe that Trump will win, but I couldn’t believe we’d leave the EU either.

How could we conceive that we’d have a UPM – unelected prime minister – serving up big dishes of secrecy?

Trump, a man I consider to be a misogynist and a racist, becoming president is unthinkable to me.

And that’s why I have a sinking feeling that that’s exactly what is going to happen.


Last Sunday night I went to Day Of The Dead at the Square Tower – with an orange jacket on and some pumpkin trim on my hat.

This wicked evening was a reading of dark tales intermixed with poetry and song, a grown-up celebration of Halloween without the chocolate and the sweets but with plenty of wine.

It was part of Darkfest, a festival currently running in the city that aims to celebrate creativity.

There’s more information online – it’s an eclectic programme well worth checking out.

I mention this as this Sunday coming it’s Dark Songs – again at the Square Tower.

So if you’re looking to extend this spooky time of year, get yourself some tickets.