Review: Billie Eilish, Leeds festival

Published in The Telegraph on August 26, 2023

Part way through her latest history-making set – Billie Eilish is the youngest star to headline Reading and Leeds festivals – the 21-year-old asks the crowd if they saw her here four years ago. In 2019, festival bosses had to move Eilish from the Radio 1 stage to the main stage – a sign of the nosebleed-inducing upwards trajectory she was on.

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Miss Saigon is back on stage – and people are angry

Published in The i on July 6, 2023

The heat is on Miss Saigon: Sheffield Crucible is mounting the first all-new production of the mega-hit musical since its premiere in 1989 – and in doing so, has made many people angry.

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The great 16th-Century black composer erased from history

Published in BBC Culture on June 16, 2022

The Western classical music canon is notoriously white and male – so you might assume that a black Renaissance composer would be a figure of significant interest, much-performed and studied. In fact, the story of the first known published black composer – Vicente Lusitano – is only now being heard, alongside a revival of interest in his long-neglected choral music.

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Inês De Castro: The macabre tale of the ‘skeleton queen’

Published in BBC Culture on April 20, 2022

It’s a tale as old as time – two lovers unjustly torn apart. But while the story of King Pedro I and his queen Inês De Castro has shades of Romeo and Juliet in its set up, it ends up somewhere altogether more macabre – imagine if Shakespeare’s tale swerved into horror movie territory in the final act. 

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How the first ever pop star blazed a trail of innovation

Published in BBC Culture February 24, 2022

Think of an era-defining, wildly popular pop star: are you picturing David Bowie? Prince? Elton John? Maybe Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga or Adele? The solo singer-songwriter, whose persona is as well-known as their music and lyrics, is a cornerstone of popular music.

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Why Alice is the ultimate icon of children’s books

Published in BBC Culture May 12, 2021

For books that are all about surprising transformations, it should perhaps be no real surprise that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are among the most frequently adapted and reinterpreted stories ever written.

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Rehearsing Othello on Zoom: the theatre students pursuing their dream during a pandemic

Published in The Evening Standard January 21, 2021

While 2020 may be behind us, the new year brings continued uncertainty for the UK’s theatre industry. And if the situation is bleak for staff and freelancers facing shuttered venues, it’s surely even tougher for the next generation of talent: young people still studying – who have had to return to remote learning online this month, as schools and colleges shut once more – as well as those who graduated last summer with little chance of working.

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Review: On Connection, Kae Tempest

Published in The Observer October 25, 2020

Kae Tempest has added one more string to an already crowded bow: On Connection is the first nonfiction work by this Mercury prize-winning musician, Ted Hughes award-winning poet, acclaimed playwright, novelist, and chief creative chronicler of the last decade. It’s also Tempest’s first publication since changing their name from Kate, and using they/them pronouns.

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How Björk has helped me heal from heartbreak

Published in BBC Culture August 21, 2020

We often hear about break-up albums – records made by artists in the throes of heartbreak, destined to be listened to on repeat by fans when they have their own wounds to lick. But there’s also a lesser-recognised musical phenomenon: the putting-yourself-back-together record.

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One to watch: Sofia Kourtesis

Published in The Observer March 1, 2020

Listen to the opening number of the Peruvian-born producer Sofia Kourtesis’s first, self-titled EP, and you imagine a train made of rackety sonic junk clattering down a track. Its destination? A good time, surely: while her brand of house may be arrestingly distinct, clicking and juddering with distorted vocals and fragments of field recordings, she always keeps her eyes firmly on the dancefloor rather than the navel.

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