With Bowie & Mercury Rising so close, here’s a little something more to get you in the mood…
Yes intrepid music lovers, rehearsals have begun in earnest, and a great pleasure hearing a Thando singing Mars, Wild is the Wind, We are the Champions, but with a soul/gospel flavor.
Getting quite excited about the forthcoming dates.
Jess back from her trip from NYC this weekend and we veer towards our opening.
She did a lovely radio interview for AUSSIE THEATRE today.
Hoping that GENESIS TO BROADWAY will on this year, hopefully in October at the Alex Theatre.
Ratcheting things up for SAMMY musical in March 2018.
Congrats to St.Kilda on a thumping win over Richmond in the AFL.
A very sweet gig by Andy Alli at the Birds Basements last week.
EMBRACE on hold as are the schools in oz.
Wimbledon into the final week and the big guns still firing.
Was such a lovely and fulsome article in J-News this week with great pic, that seems a shame not to include it in the blog this week.
Welcome, to the week when new financial year begins, recriminations go on about the unacceptable events st Grenfell Tower block, when Wimbledon begins… We move boldly into the second half of a very challenging year.
Hoping you all in fine fettle. As Banksy remarked, “saying one thing and doing another, thats hippocrasy, saying many things, and doing nothing,thats democracy.”
In the meanwhile, we ratchet up the focus on the new musical, BOWIE AND MERCURY RISING. Ticket sales doing very well, and rehearsals begin in earnest.
This at the same time as the EMBRACE program moves forward a lick with les at the helm, and with 50 youth, from diverse cultures and backgrounds work together with me on the world premiere of a new musical.
Also, getting all our material together fir the big production of HEROES AND REFUGEES, with an all star cast for August 19 and 23.
Been a cultural time taking in Cunning Little Vixen, Circus Oz, Greek Goddess-starring Maria Mercedes and the new film of the rather disturbing LADY MACBETH.
More very soon.
Prevention, not punishment, needed as drugs and crime swamp our children in a growing crisis
IF I was to describe to you a city where schoolchildren as young as 11 are addicted to and dealing illicit drugs such as ice, LSD, ketamine and synthetic drugs, you are more likely to think of far off places such as Detroit, Caracas or Rio.
Yet this city, once considered one of the safest places to raise children, is far closer to home than you imagine.
Yes, I am speaking of Melbourne, a city we all love, but shockingly today is gripped by an epidemic of drugs and crime that has entered our schools and is now compromising their safety.
In the past three years, police have prosecuted more than 450 drug offences on school grounds, including primary schools, with children as young as 11 facing charges of using and dealing drugs.
Those prosecutions are only what we know of and those who work on the streets are aware of the growing drug crisis that is sweeping across the youth in our city. Ask any youth worker and they will tell you that things have never been as bad and as dangerous as they are today for our children.
How did it come to this? How did a city that was as once as safe as Melbourne deteriorate into a city where our children are getting high instead of being educated on school grounds? The answer is simple: the beautifully inclusive city that Melbourne once was has become a city of have and have-nots, where ghetto-style enclaves have developed with rates of youth unemployment at appalling levels.
That, mixed with poor standards of education, record school suspension rates and poverty has resulted in children who have grown up in such environments becoming disillusioned and feeling abandoned by society.
Such misery and a lack of positive role models has meant that many underprivileged kids are easily drawn into lives of crime and addiction, making them easy recruitment targets for criminal gangs, which offer them a sense of belonging as well as a sense of notoriety.
It is exactly that growth in youth disconnection that is fuelling the surge in crimes across our city. So knowing the cause, what are the solutions proposed by those whose job it is to keep our city safe?
The standard response is the call for more police, tougher prisons, longer jail time and mandatory sentencing while our soft judicial system is lamented.
Politicians then trumpet the same tired old policies that have failed not only here in Melbourne, but around the world. But the long-term solution doesn’t lie in punishment but in preventing the situations that lead to addiction and crime in the first place.
So while the announcement of new prisons and increased policing resources will initially please a frightened public, the tsunami of crime that is being driven by rising poverty will outpace any post-crime measures.
INSTEAD, we need to invest our resources in preventive programs. One key and often ignored program is the placing of youth workers in every school in the country, providing any kids feeling isolated, alone and disconnected with someone who talks their language, can connect and has the skills to help them overcome such issues, creating for many vulnerable kids their first positive role model.
Every child deserves strong role models in their lives, yet today we see too many kids grow up in communities where such positivity is missing, with the void filled by drugs, alcohol, violence and crime.
Having allowed such darkness to fester within our community, there’s little surprise that the issues faced on the streets have now come over the fence and into our schoolyards.
At the Les Twentyman Foundation, with our limited resourcing, we look to address such issues through our sports, arts and leadership programs, driven by local kids who, after turning lives around, are now inspiring others.
Through such programs kids, regardless of their background, culture or home life, learn about teamwork, self-discipline, mateship and the value of following something through to the end, helping to rebuild their sense of self-worth and self-respect.
We are blessed at present at the foundation to see a unique program in place; we have teamed with the award-winning Australian musical theatre director and composer, Warren Wills, who is working with us to run a new six-month community drama program, Embrace. A free inclusive musical theatre program open to secondary school students across the city, it is based on similar projects Warren has conducted in several outer-London boroughs and brings together students across cultural and societal divides, culminating in a world premiere performance on October 12 at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s theatre.
Those of us working at the coalface know that these and other similar positive programs work. We watch kids who go through them make better life choices.
So, surely now it’s time to put the politics aside, to admit our failure and to redirect funds to preventive and positive strategies that will return our much loved city to its former glory.
Les Twentyman OAM, is founder of the Les Twentyman Foundation
Welcome to this week’s blog.
Arts have come to the fore with Glastonbury shining bright in a celebration of music. Working away on EMBRACE with a large group of young, talented and dynamic kids. Truly enjoying the process and their input.
Pleased to announce a wonderful double page spread in today’s HERALD-SUN re EMBRACE THIS is the socially inclusive youth music-theatre program.
We are all working towards October 6th for the unveiling of our new musical. The ABC put a great piece out on the weekend about the project.
Watch-; Watching Australia Wide 24/6/2017 in iview at:
Welcome to the weekly blog on the Cultural World being enjoyed in all its facets.
Full briefing on the myriad of activities on warrenwillsworld.com
A sincere heartfelt sending of support and sympathies through London’s unacceptable and terrible trials by fire , terrorism..and of course, to Manchester also.
MRC, MISF, Melbourne Recital Centre, Masterclass in music-theatre for Dr Jonathon Welch, and the School of Hard Knocks. Great project, and superb attendance. Congrats to all.
MIJF, Dizzys..Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Certainly a privilege being part of this wonderful event. Another fine turnout, and plenty of audience interaction.
BOWIE, JULY 26-30.. rehearsals move apace with glorious dancer Jess Mortlock, at the Space. Bringing new synth to the compositional table, and looking forward to commencing vocal work next week with Thando. Costumes being assembled, and morph suits arriving on eBay. Onward!
G2B, November … yes, whispers become stronger, and seems GENESIS TO BROADWAY
may well be returning in November this year. Rumours are rowdy and rife re the Alex..watch this space!
LONDON BEAT, 87.8FM, weekly cultural radio show, Sunday morning, 9am, in oz, on m-Air, for the latest on the Cultural scene.
HYMN ON 9th JULY at Hawthorn Town Hall, a one off, as part of the Illuminate festival in Glenferrie. This Winter, on Sunday, July 9, 3pm, I shall be performing to a silent film and stills of the 100+ year history of Hawthorn. Plus youth choir and vocals. Truly looking forward to this.
EMBRACE OCTOBER 12, with LTF, SHED comes to London. After years of,transformationalmsiccess in London, in the challenging boroughs of Haringey and Hackney, and by way of a short visit to Shepparton, SHED returns big time to the Western suburbs. Wr king under the Les Twentyman umbrella, and based over in Braybrook, myself and 70 youth are creating a new musical, in a first for Melbourne.
HEROES AND REFUGEES AUGUST 19 and 23. In a world overshadowed by villainy and the press playing to the gallery of sensati Maoism, comes a concert celebrating Heroci achievements, and about time. I’m Shepparton on August 19, and at Glen EiraTown Hall ,on August 23, choirs,,drummers, dancers and Mate Ceberano, Fem Belling, a Kelly Auty and many others will be appearing. Truly exciting times, and positive ,life-affirming concert.
Welcome dear friends to monumental changing times. Not sure how positive they are, but in our hi-tech times of connectivity, so important that we have “inclusion”. We must all work to get young people engaged and inspired.
MIJF, the concert at Dizzys was a great success. Good to see many international friends from both the Spanish and German diplomatic corps. Lovely to be part of this fun event with many great acts over here for it.
ANNE FRANK was presents with a diary exactly 70 years ago. The story enters into folklore and serves to underscore the consequences of intolerance and complacency. We must be mindful, diligent, focussed and positive.
SGT PEPPERS celebrates 50 years since redefining popular music. a Day in the Life, still one of the “great” Trax of all time.
RECITAL CENTRE, workshops this weekend, in conjunction with the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS. A truly wonderful,project, and grateful to be part of it.
RAFAEL NADAL, A champion, hero, fighter, refusing to quit, back from the depths of career threatening injuries.
EMBRACE, ABC, AUSTRALIA WIDE..showing for times over the weekend, the making of SHED, or EMBRACE, on the National Public Broadcaster. It’s been a tough call getting our socially inclusive music-theatre into the Western Suburbs, but rolling!
HUBRIS has shown PM May, like her predecessor, David Cameron the folly and foolishness of those who wear it. ” you make your bad, you lie in it”
Thrilled that Thando on board for BOWIE AND MERCURY RISING, hot on the heels of her success with COLOUR PURPLE.
Hope you all had a great Queen’s Birthday weekend. Enjoy. An amazing feat!
Warren Wills playing Dizzy’s Jazz Club in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
MASTERCLASS workshop for School of Hard knocks at MRLBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE JUNE 11
The work that Jonathan Welch is doing is truly uplifting and inspirational and is truly beneficial to society.
In current times, especially with challenges, and rising crime and perceptions of crime, this work is crucial.
EMBRACE IS UP AND RUNNING FROM THIS MONDAY MAY 29.
Thanks to the auspices of the Les Twentyman Foundation, we are up and running with our oz version of SHED
For years this type of collaborative, deciding of world premiers of new musicals proved a huge hit in London
Now as again we have sadly witnessed this week, we must keep working to engage youth. Motivate them, skill them up,and ensure they have a team to play on, a stage to express their stories, a moment to shine and be creative. THE EVENTS of Manchester sadly inform us as to the value of education, engagement and the importance of team spirit towards a positive common purpose
And coming up next week as part of the MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ WEEK, the ivories will surely be stroked every which way at Dizzys
MIJF- June 8, 730pm.
WATCH THIS SPACE JULY 8 ..HYMN TO HAWTHORN..AT HAWTHORN TOWN HALL.. ….THREE CHOIRS, PLAYING TO SILENT FILM
Have a great week all
Welcome to a further blog here at the eclectic world of producing, Md’ing, and course community hats and the forthcoming MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, or MIJF.
On June 8, I will be performing at Dizzys, and hope to see many of our friends down there.
In search of a broad a program as possible, Spanish, Zarzuela, Adele, Coldplay, blues, Libertango, Billie Holiday and a whole lot more.
Special guests will be present and certainly looking forward to a wonderful festival.
I see Patti Austin coming, and on that note was great to interview James Morrison for the LPNDON BEAT, and his great community work with kids and their intro to the orchestra.
It is on this note that truly looking forward to getting the EMBRACE, or ozzie SHED program off the ground, and a big logistics meeting on Friday to further cement this hugely challenging program for oz.
Meanwhile doing all possible to get the exciting new piano series completed at ACU, so watch this space.
In the meanwhile, get on down to DIZZYS, JUNE Eight, as part of the MKJF.