Undercover Christmas Club

England. 1647. Celebrating Christmas has been banned by those pesky Puritans. Carols are criminal. Turkey’s taboo. Banquets are banished and stage-plays prohibited. In fact, festivities of any kind are quite frankly forbidden. But we don’t give a figgy pudding.

Here at the Undercover Christmas Club, misrule and mayhem are on the menu. Hidden away from prying eyes, we present a feast of theatrical yuletide treats. Tales abound and songs a-plenty, served with a side of tomfoolery and washed down with a tankard of merriment. Join us under the cover of night as we frolic without fear and revel in rebellion. After all, ‘tis the season to be jolly.

Riddlestick Theatre are dedicated to tickling fancies with weird and wonderful stories and enchanting live music. They are returning to The Wardrobe Theatre after a sell-out run of The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé, listed in The Guardian’s Best Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018.

“Their energy is boundless, the script fiercely intelligent and the original live music bound to stay dancing through your head.”
Guardian on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“Energetic, rich storytelling seasoned with a generous helping of genuine fun.”
★★★★ A Younger Theatre on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“Turning tired adults back into curious children, always ready for another unbelievable story.”
★★★★ Theatre Weekly on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“Through a whirlwind of tall tales and song, Riddlestick Theatre had me hanging onto their every oddity.”
★★★★ EdFringeReview on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“If it’s entertainment you’re after then this show won’t disappoint.”
★★★★ Stage Talk on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“Riddlestick Theatre are a riot of fun.”
Weston-Super-Mum on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

“This is creative, imaginative theatre at its very best – and even the greatest cynic will likely be left feeling thoroughly entertained and amused.”
Bristol 24/7 on The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé

Papaya Fest

At the beating heart of Papaya is a unique fusion of Latin American and British culture, so we’ll be bringing together an incredible array of theatre, live music and DJs and mixing it all up into one ferocious fiesta of a weekend.

Shows to include work by Popelei Theatre and best emerging companies from the Anglo-Latino theatre scene. Panel discussions to include experts on Latino arts, politics and literature.

Full line-up to be announced soon.

Cinebra: A History Of Horror

Movie lovers Sophie and Megan invite you to their seminar on the history of horror cinema, according to them! After a vintage shopping trip with the most popular girl in college: Abigail Swanson, it becomes apparent that Megan has acquired a haunted necklace, and as the seminar progresses, a threatening supernatural force begins to rear its head. As Sophie & Megan’s own horror narrative begins to unravel, they wonder who will be the final girl?

A multimedia frenzy featuring live scares and unforgettable songs, this unique hybrid horror musical comedy will leave you convulsing in terror and delight!

This show will not only give you the shivers, but also leave you humming away out the theatre with its original soundtrack, including the hit parody cover of Rebecca Black’s internet blunder ‘Friday’ based on Friday 13th!

“Melodies contagious as a George Romero zombie movie, lyrics as sharp as Freddie Krueger’s blades.”
★★★★ Broadway Baby

“Extremely clever, bringing in tropes from Scream, Carrie & The Exorcist.”
★★★★ Planet Nation

“Cleverly written and magically performed… You don’t need to like the horror genre to back in its glory.”
★★★★½ The Reviews Hub

Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)

River Town 2019: Gwenifer Raymond (plus Toby Hay)

GWENIFER RAYMOND
Not many people play the guitar quite like Gwenifer Raymond. From the opening note to the final strum of her “mesmerising debut album” (The Guardian) Gwenifer Raymond will have you spellbound. Hailing from the Welsh valleys, Raymond is veritable master of American primitive guitar music. She was raised on punk and grunge before discovering folk guitar pioneer John Fahey later in life. Her brand of fingerpicking guitar is some of the best around and played with the passion of punk. Gwenifer Raymond is a “joyful listening experience” (PopMatters).

TONY HAY
Toby Hay is a guitarist and composer from near Rhayader in mid Wales. Inspired by history, people and landscape, Toby writes beautifully evocative guitar instrumentals that effortlessly transport the listener to the mountains and rivers of his homeland. Twice nominated for the Welsh Music Prize, Toby has toured the UK and Ireland extensively over the last few years and has built a reputation as a captivating live performer.

“Toby Hay’s lush, instrumental second album is another impressive flag waved by this talented guitarist.”
The Guardian

River Town: A Summer Celebration of Roots and Americana Music
Now in its fifth year, Rivertown brings the music of America’s heartland to Bristol. This year’s festival promises a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, performed by global icons and rising stars.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

River Town 2019: Tim Erikson (plus Mama’s Broke)

TIM ERIKSEN
Tim Eriksen is acclaimed for transforming American tradition with his startling interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto – a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass – creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound that ranges from the bare bones of solo unaccompanied singing on Soul of the January Hills (Appleseed 2010) through the stripped-down voice and bajo sexto Christmas album Star in the East to the lush, multi-layered arrangements on Josh Billings Voyage, a new album of northern roots American
music.

“Stark songs and breakneck picking.”
New York Times

“Among the world’s finest folk practitioners.”
Toronto Star

“One of the best voices in music.”
T Bone Burnett

MAMA’S BROKE
Mama’s Broke is a unique and powerful folk duo that both honours and defies tradition with their original compositions. Two strong voices blend to create haunting harmonies, while they artfully juggle fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin, and incorporate traditional dance and foot percussion as part of their performance.

River Town: A Summer Celebration of Roots and Americana Music
Now in its fifth year, Rivertown brings the music of America’s heartland to Bristol. This year’s festival promises a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, performed by global icons and rising stars.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: The Schmoozenbergs

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Regular intimate, sit-down gigs with some of the greatest musicians from around the globe.

Conjuring up the mood of 1930s Paris, fused with flavours of Eastern Europe and the energy of a campfire jam session, The Schmoozenbergs’ uplifting music will put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. With two guitars, violin and double bass, they bring irresistible rhythms, lyrical melodies and joyful improvisation to create an upbeat and heart- warming sound.

Their new album ‘Awaken’ is due for release on 21st June 2019. With its roots in gypsy jazz, this album of original instrumental compositions is a genre spanning journey through jazz, world and acoustic influences, which captures the distinctive, evocative and playful energy of the band. The album was recorded at Real World Studios in February 2019, and the band look forward to showcasing their new music at the official album launch at The Wardrobe Theatre on 20th June 2019.

Based in Bristol, The Schmoozenbergs formed in 2012 and have played live shows throughout the country, including festival performances (Glastonbury, Boomtown, Shambala, Green Man), dance events and national venue tours. This is their first release of original music, and has been made with the support of funding from Arts Council England.

Supporting The Schmoozenbergs at the launch event will be the fantastic Peanut Shuffle Club Duo, breathing their own exuberant energy into hits from the 20s, 30s and 40s.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Boothby Graffoe

Graffoe has performed all over the world and is well-known as the first choice support act for Canadian Hall of Fame rockers Barenaked Ladies. He has opened up for them at venues such as Red Rocks Colorado, The Greek Theatre LA, and the O2 in London to name but a few.

From humble beginnings in the pubs and clubs of Nottingham, Boothby went on to become a regular feature on the London Comedy Circuit, on more than one occasion finding himself performing at the world famous Comedy Store on every single night of the week.

He’s had four series on BBC Radio 4, written three critically acclaimed plays and recorded five equally critically acclaimed music CDs. He’s done live shows in Scandinavia, Australian, New Zealand, America, Mexico, China, Europe, the Ascension Islands, the Falklands, Belize and the Caribbean, and won several awards, most of which he forgot to turn up to collect. His Time Out Award is on a shelf above the stage at Up The Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich, no one knows why. His Award for Excellence from the Adelaide festival is in a pizza restaurant in the town after he swapped it for a Fiorentina.

Boothby has spent the past few years opening up for the anglo-Iranian comedy legend Omid Djalili but is coming out of semi-retirement to perform a string of shows this summer, including a stop in Bristol at this excellent venue.

“Unique.”
Stewart Lee

“I don’t use the word ‘genius’ to describe people very often, but that’s what he is. Such lovely songs, and then sometimes he make me laugh so much I get light-headed….”
Omid Djalili

“In my humble opinion, Graffoe is the finest songwriter in the world.”
Richard Thompson.

“Sings songs that are both beautiful and funny.”
The Guardian

“…it’s not fair to call them comedy songs, they are much more than that, there are some I would dare to call genius.”
The Times

“Buy two copies of his CD because you’ll want to share but you won’t want to give it away.”
The Scotsman

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Stanlæy (plus Alfi)

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Regular intimate, sit-down gigs with some of the greatest musicians from around the globe.

Stanlæy is the musical moniker of Bristol based singer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Bethany Stenning, performing her original compositions live with Ben Holyoake (bass), Oliver Cocup (drums/percussion) and Naomi Hill (violin). The music of Stanlæy has been influenced by a diverse genre pool of folk/jazz and cosmic atmospheres, and has been compared to artists such as Kate Bush, The Dirty Projectors and Sigur Ros.

Their live show is a masterful collaboration, marrying pop, classical, experimental rock and folk. The sound is tied together in polyphony, with crafted violin parts weaving between Bethany’s ethereal vocals and the electric guitar.

Stanlæy’s complex and intricate recordings are entirely composed, arranged and recorded by Bethany Stenning. The Human Project, her audio-visual album is due to be released May 2019.

“Unique and distinct.”
Folk Radio UK

Alfi are a fresh new trio combining American old time and traditional Irish music and song to produce a unique and tasteful sound. Alfi features an unusual line-up of harp, five-string banjo, uilleann pipes, whistles and vocals. The trio have performed at many established venues and festivals, including Body&Soul, Knockanstockan and Whelan’s, and have recently returned from touring America. In November, Alfi won the prestigious ‘Molloy Award’ competition at the ‘Trip to Birmingham Tradfest’, a competition for young, up and coming bands. They will have their own slot at the Trip to Birmingham Tradfest 2019 as a result. At the moment, Alfi are busy recording their debut EP, due for release in May 2019.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Nick Hart

Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Regular intimate, sit-down gigs with some of the greatest musicians from around the globe.

Nick Hart is a folk singer deeply rooted in the English tradition. Raised in a family of morris dancers, Nick played instrumental music for many years before discovering his passion for traditional song. Whilst studying for an ethnomusicology degree, he began to explore the large body of recordings of traditional singers from the second half of the 20th century, and this led to several years of fevered study and many nights spent at folk clubs and festivals, honing his skills as an unaccompanied singer.

Nick’s initially hardline attitude to the accompaniment of folk songs has softened over the years, but his love of the nuances of traditional singing informs his minimal guitar accompaniment, and his songs are delivered with a great emphasis on storytelling. His repertoire of songs, drawn largely from his native East Anglia, reflect his understanding of both the depth and breadth of material within the English tradition and he is fast acquiring a reputation as an engaging and entertaining performer.

2017 saw the release of his first solo album, Nick Hart Sings Eight English Folk Songs. Recorded by long-time collaborator Tom Moore, the album has been well received, being described as “One of the most rewarding and accomplished albums we’ve heard this year” by fRoots.

“Uncluttered, great singing that reminds me of the very best English roots singers… this is the real deal.”
Mike Harding

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Jeremiah

On 9 June 1817 Jeremiah Brandreth assembles a crew of malcontents in a pub near Nottingham. Their plan is to march on London, overthrow the government, wipe out the National Debt and end poverty forever. What Jeremiah doesn’t know is that there is a spy in his ranks with other ideas…

Featuring an original score and live band, Jeremiah tells the incredible true story of the much-misunderstood Luddite rebellion – a movement that spanned the whole North of England, had more British soldiers fighting it than Napoleon, and made the destruction of machinery a capital offence.

This little remembered story is brought to life as a live music gig performed by Jack Dean and a three piece band. A cellist, violinist and guitarist work with loop pedals to create an original score that mixes hip-hop, shoe gaze and cinematic composition styles, while Jack Dean delivers an epic true tale exploring lots of characters, all contained within rap verse metre accompanied by a vivid AV design projected onto the stage.

“Impressive poetic, musical and narrative skills… undoubtedly a performer with an exciting career ahead of him.”
Exeunt

“Artists like rap storyteller Jack Dean make us excited about what they might do next.”
The Guardian

Jack Dean is an Exeter-based writer, performer and theatre maker who has carried his love of weird and wonderful arrangements of words to many places, from the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, Latitude Festival and the South Bank Centre. Previous productions include ‘Grandad & The Machine’, ‘Horace & The Yeti’, and ‘Nuketown’.

Running Time: 90 mins (with interval)