Objectification, your Honour: A Handy Guide To Censorship

Lady Gaga imitating art on The X Factor, 2012. Traditional or titillating? 

Lady Gaga imitating art on The X Factor, 2012. Traditional or titillating? 

As we enter day six of Happy international Women’s Bonanza...wait, what? It's only a day? Oh...OK. Anyway, we thought we might honour the 24 hours set aside for the outpouring of gratitude and instagram posts and hashtags such an event inspires, by appreciating how far we’ve come and confronting what we still need to do. So put down your bunting and ‘I Heart Women Today’ posters and let’s crack on shall we? (sarcastic? Us? Noooo….) we’re here to discuss one of the last taboos in theatre – nudity. Hold on to your drawers. (Or don’t. It’s a free country and also it flies in the face of this post, but we are all about your choice)

OK yes, we are being sarcastic, but for comic effect you see – of course it’s great to have the country simultaneously  fall over each other to cry the virtues of Woman: mother, sister, partner, wife…but what if that was everyday? Ah. The truth is we still have a long way to go. The war is not over – and the battleground is our bodies. In the years since censorship in the theatre was lifted, we’ve been, um, treated to many an arresting visual image – Edward Bond’s Saved featuring a notably disturbing and brave ending sequence in the 60s- censorship was only unofficially placed in 1968 - violence, the rise of immersive theatre, course language, all that good stuff - but this has also featured the human body.

You can’t post a nipple on instagram. On a woman. On a man it’s perfectly fine – you get multiple posts of glossy black and white shoots you could pick up from the newsagent shelf of the male torso in all it’s lightly dusted glory. When Daniel Radcliffe played the title role in Equus in 2007 there was many a salacious column inch dedicated to eye witness accounts- treating us, forgive us - but kind of like children.

“And then what happened?’

“He got his…thing out!”

We all have a body. We all make use of a body. So why not put it on the stage?

Battleground. Remember that?

Back in 2012 Sherlock actress Louise Brealey played Helen of Troy in a production of the Trojan Women, appearing onstage nude. Again, more comment from the papers, but a little less salacious this time: a taste of that tangy flavour of…was it, disapproval? She defended herself on twitter and wrote in a paper herself of how freeing it was, how confidence making, how real. And fantastic, we applaud her – for doing her job. That’s what was required of the role, and the director’s vision – she agreed, and she did it. For art and for the role she was playing. The comment was for….?

What we’re getting at here- the female body is so sexualized that a social media company views the human nipple not as a means by which to feed babies, but something to be censored, deemed inappropriate and just when we start to make headway, sit around the table – politics bashes down the door and we had all better take a seat. When Emma Watson posed for Vanity Fair just this week wearing a revealing top, the internet and it’s top agent Piers Morgan came for her as an actress, a role model, a feminist and a woman. When the rules are changing for everyone every day, what did we need? A man to gently face us in the right direction and point, with a saccharine smile to a handwritten sign that says “Feminism. 500 miles this way.” Sigh. Wouldn’t it be easier if nobody got naked at all, Bazzers? We went back to the Victorian times, no sex please we’re British, what hippy nonsense? Well, no. Because to Baz, theatre is challenging, difficult, confrontational, and ultimately about life. We have no interest in titillating audiences, and it’s true, no project of ours since we launched has featured any nudity- some underwear perhaps, but not to seem edgy. It’s quite difficult to make plain Y-Fronts look controversial, believe us– but being the free-thinking and brave Baz Broads we are, we aren’t ruling it out – just not for novelty’s sake, and not for the clicks. We stand by every creative decision we’ve made: from switching gender roles, confronting and visualizing disturbing themes, even throwing our audiences into total darkness - If we feel it suits our production and our vision then we own it.

So in conclusion your honour – we, women didn’t do it. The crimes against female representation has made the body a no-go zone. It has been compromised by the male gaze, the fashion dollar, the celebrity culture and the glossy magazine. We stand accused of being a target market your honour, where we lose out, giving a pound of flesh with no recompense.If and when we decide to feature any nudity of any gender - it will be with our aims and manifesto in mind - no red tape, no shock value and no publicity. Wish us luck.

Sigh. Anyway. What’s on instagram?

We joke. There are plenty of women, both in the arts and otherwise that are waking up to these disparities and doing excellent work. As we mentioned before, the highly attended Women’s March earlier this year brought the equal support of men and women. And even the most tepid and infuriating of comments under a video with a sensational headline are at least evenly spread with some level-headedness. Who knows? Maybe the wind’s about to change, and the real censorship can be lifted.

Hashtag boobs. If you’re comfortable with it.


Baz xx




Be of Good Voice - An Ode To Education Baz style

Freddy at a particularly busy General meeting (Queen at Wembley, '86)

Freddy at a particularly busy General meeting (Queen at Wembley, '86)

Well Hello to all the Bazzed (translation: our version of ‘the faithful’…we know, we’re really cute) Or Baz-ed, as the case may be! Yes that’s right – it’s a blog that’s an inadvertent pat on the back as well as a call to arms to get physical (not in an Olivia Newton John way, don’t worry) and how we’ve brought our performance and theatre skills to workshops up and down the country, from schools to offices, town halls to lecture halls. This is a blog about our methods of play, our mission statements and ideals, mixed in with our technique, will make your talk/class/exam feel like Wembley ’86./

/ not actual disclaimer

But in all seriousness, we’ve worked hard to make education one of the pillars that Baz is founded on – our mission statement we made many moons ago spoke of the things any theatre company would want for their success: viable and memorable productions, compelling and challenging theatre, equal representation – and education, to us, is the common denominator for all of it – when we rehearse, we include play, we study, we use and dissect verse and we perform. We think these are skills that no-one should be without.

Our work takes place through TeachFirst – an excellent group who are dedicated to adapting and updating modern teaching techniques in schools. We are not offering nor do we seek to provide a drama class to confuse GCSE Drama students – believe us, we’ve been there – but rather to fit in and sit alongside studies and exams. More than this, we specifically work to Key Stage 2,3,4,5 as well Edexcel and AQA specifications. You know, so there. We’re legit, as the kids would say (sorry)

But enough of the what, more of the how: our practitioners are not teachers, but professionals: actors, facilitators, directors, writers and performers. We train our speakers to hit specific learning objectives, but beyond that we bring the skill of the practitioner to proceedings, for example, our work with Shakespeare, and say, our production of Macbeth in St Andrew’s Crypt allowed us to use our skill and understanding of verse and pentameter. Our production of Prophesy, based on the classical Greek canon allowed us to perfect our way and method of devising, and our most recent production of Strindberg’s dreamplay used improvisation to connect with our audiences – often directly – and further cement our ‘house style’. These tools of play, study, devising and improvisation are all skills we bring to our bespoke workshops: to help you understand your school text, prepare your lesson plans, lead a lecture, or give your presentation.

We don’t only limit ourselves to study and learning, we like to get you active, and give you ‘life hacks’ to help with delivery and performance, and a favourite we like to reference often is Amy Cuddy’s excellent TED (above -and go Amy, 11 million plus views! She don't play around) talk on something as simple as posture, eyeline, and meditation all providing proven benefits and support. We’ve been to all corners of the UK, from Southend to Blackpool, using a pool of creatives we’ve worked with as well as some we haven’t – but all of whom we implicitly trust to deliver Baz’s message, on point, as the kids would say. But why is it so important to us – as a BazPerson, you’ll have spoken at talks at Universities, Schools, Centres for Learning and offices. Too often we feel, the arts are perceived as an ivory tower that is not worth trying to get into unless you go on X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. Education, getting kids excited about the Three Witches, freeing it from the classroom, and hopefully, letting all the good stuff like confidence, inspiration and opportunity rush out with the flow. And the responses we’ve been lucky to get are enough  to melt even our stony hearts (be prepared to get cuddled tho)


We take the education side of what we do very seriously, not ‘as well as’ not ‘supporting’ our work, but there as an entity in it’s own right – when we welcomed a BSL interpreter to The Vaults we learned so much from her interpretations and techniques – when we invited young, aspiring directors to a workshop, again at the Vaults, we valued their feedback and responses as much as any review – our dedication to making more able, confident and skilled adults, ready for anything, whether a student, teacher, worker, or sufferer – we know our lives were changed for the better for theatre and performance and we hope yours can be too – new talent, new perspective, a new idea on why Medea is misunderstood, why The Apothacary is the unannounced villain of Romeo and Juliet, standing up in class/the pub/in the lecture hall and saying so – well to Baz, that’s all that matters. Stand up, speak out. Goodness knows we need that more than ever. Onwards!

Much love,

Baz x

Baz Education is dedicated to provide trained staff to offer bespoke and one on one sessions as well as our group Teach First workshops. Details to be found under the ‘Baz Education’ header of the website or email us for details.





You wait for one, and then three come along at once.

Shiny happy people calmly protecting women's rights in the Trafalgar Square sun

Shiny happy people calmly protecting women's rights in the Trafalgar Square sun

Hearty Hello, Bazians! How are you? We are feeling mighty fine with all this people power whizzing around like kinetic energy (something that may have been in our coffees this morning...sorry, we’re just excited) but It’s here and it’s really happening - people willing to stand up for what they believe in. And that makes us very happy at Baz HQ. So happy that we’re going to do some of our famed Baz Book Reccs to celebrate!

As we’ve talked about in previous blog posts - culture and art reflects society - at it’s basic level, that’s what it’s for - but it also challenges, highlights and even twists it: even our Dear Shakey of Stratford Upon Avon (we think it should be called that actually, more fitting) fabricated a few truths about King Richard much to the dead king’s annoyance (his winter of discontent lasted for centuries, poor bloke) but for the most part - theatre is a set and a stage we recognise, showing uncomfortable truths or reminding us of gross injustice.

The most interesting thing we’ve seen in the arts quarter is theatre companies and arts hubs calling for scripts or short pieces that defy Trump, the NHS, any given issue threatening to unsettle the globe’s equilibrium - with proceeds going directly to charities or to organisations threatened by governments. This past week we’ve seen three major global protests, with the Women’s March, the peaceful sit-ins at US Airports and Anti-Muslim ban rallies. These movements were announced sometimes within hours of the event and the numbers were ridiculous and astounding. And so hopeful. When we here at Baz have a tea break, we like to casually log on to the main page of the petition to ban Trump’s state visit to see just how many thousands it’s risen by - and if you want to add your name to the rising number, by all means, click here:

It’s impossible and quite crass to assume protestors are any particular type of person: we’ve seen families, children sitting on Dad’s shoulders at the Women’s March in Trafalgar Square, grandmothers pushed in wheelchairs pushed by their granddaughters in DC - all races, types, sizes, genders and it got Baz thinking that these should be the audiences that make up a theatre of tolerance, or freedom of speech and of fair representation. It hardly needs saying that the great classics of the theatre are not exclusively or even a little bit made by us: we import the arts as much as we do anything else and we should be proud of it. Support Muslim voices, talent artists, hell, support all cultures and all voices – show these men with suits and power that we are more eloquent, moving and effective then they could ever be.

Here then are some prime texts we here at Baz HQ recommend that stand the test of time and are fine reads in protest:

 The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht – The godfather of politically themed, important theatre, this play, coming pretty recently off the interwar period and hot off the heels of WW2 satirises the rise of Hitler in Germany whilst making the darkly comic point of how and when he should have been stopped. Real, scruff ofthe neck theatre.

East Is East, Ayub Khan-Din - Though it lives on as a fantastic British Film, East is East was first a play, and a successful one too at that, showing the normalcy, the truth of what home is to this family settling in East London, and what makes up a British family today. Warm, funny and engaging, a standard of characters and plot that has ensured it lasts.

Taking Sides, Ronald Harwood- The true story of German conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who aligned himself with Hitler during the war, and the struggle between principles, safety, and art. Starkly honest – a great example of how exposing a truth in art doesn’t need to shame, it can simply explain and reverberate around an audience in understanding.

There’s so much, too many examples to mention: Women’s festivals, the Bechdel Test, plays in response to FGM, theatre companies like Tamasha, Talawa, theatre nights in theatres, studiosm and spaces that seek responses to these current events are growing in size and popularity – who knew? It’s cool to be informed, even cooler to speak up.

Last month, Paisley and pastel colours were in. This month, it’s protest - and my does it suit every single one of you.

See you at the next one, we’ll be the ones with placards, a baby bjorn and a hot thermos of tea. Let’s keep the party going.

Much love.

Baz x


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Rolling Up Your Sleeves and Acting On It

Susan Sarandon takes the mic at a protest.

Susan Sarandon takes the mic at a protest.

First post of Baz 2017 (our year) and bang - an exploratory essay! Okay, it’s not three layered chocolate cake, pass the parcel and party favours, but hold hard a moment. Now’s the time. So, a theory for you: art is the natural predator of fascism. Discuss? Okay. When Donald O’Connor sang Make ‘Em Laugh in the seminal Singin’ in the Rain - he kind of had it dead on. Satire, from Punch to the Private Eye, standup from Bill Hicks to Hannibal Buress grabs hateful types by the scruffs of their necks, holds a mirror up to their laughable beliefs  and says, ‘Look: I don’t even need to do my job’ - as we go to the theatre and see The Producers and Springtime For Hitler, as we put in a DVD of Chaplin’s The Dictator, and  as we click on entertainment sites to see clips of Alec Baldwin as Trump on Saturday Night Live, art proves it has teeth, a lipstick smile and diamonds to match.

All art, really is a response to the time it’s written in. Even if it’s written in a future, a past, in science fiction - ours is to imagine, but the best futures, the best stories come from real stories. The best drama is real drama. Brechtian theatre is the best example of currently using current affairs, of literally taking the action dictators made and dramatising it, speaking clearly to audiences and encouraging them to be educated, to act. There’s a great imagination in writing - but sometimes the truth is the most dramatic, most real and most scary. Parables have been the foundations of our society, how we behave - whether it’s holy books, myths, legends - values, ideals, aspirations have been subtly drip fed into our imaginations from a young age. That’s mainly why despots usually don’t have a wide vocabulary. All this could have been avoided if they just paid better attention in class.

Later this month A Very Uncool thing is going to happen in the United States. But we here at Baz take faith - in art, and weirdly, artists. Historically, British theatre talent has been no stranger to picket lines: Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, and more recently, the likes of Michael Sheen and Samuel West have stood in the cold in solidarity using that duality of populism, the fact you recognise them to get you to realise they care about a better deal for you and your family, and a better society for your kids to grow up in. As you do. In the USA, for decades, as acting dynasties came and went, it seemed it was only Jane Fonda stubbornly upholding this value - enter Meryl Streep, stage right at the Golden Globes, 2017. In an age where awards shows are about self-congratulation, under-representation, what dress you are wearing, and infamously, Oscar goody bags containing amongst other things, a Vagina Rejuvinator (really) you get played off right in the middle of thanking your agent. Usually. Instead, Meryl said what we were all thinking in a shocking moment of un-glitzy lucidity. We attach it here for posterity.

Well. That’s kind of the end of the discussion, right? To borrow from her speech, Bravery inspires Bravery. There’s talk of top events producers in the US launching their own Freedom Concert on the day of the Inauguration- live music, comedy from your favourite A-List artists signed up on a ridiculous lineup on a rival channel - and they are encouraging you to watch that live channel all day to make Trump’s inauguration the least-viewed swearing in, ever. This is what we mean by art as a predator to the right wing. Meryl knows as much as the star of your local community theatre starring at your local church hall that art can only come from a place of unity - the crew, your fellow cast, your writer, director - no one role can be carried out alone. In a way, it’s the most Utopian workplace that can be imagined. Meryl knows the importance of an audience, of working together, and encouraging each other. With more artists breaking character and speaking out more than ever, taking roles as characters, and platforms as actors  that directly contradict a terrifying new status quo there may just  be a way out of this. That, for us, is what art is based on - having put on productions, ran workshops in rehearsal rooms, class rooms and meeting rooms, meeting new people for different walks of life, with different views, different stories, learning about  he specific threats to the futures they face, the skills of performance and creating art can’t not help but bring people together, eradicate that fear, and fight back. Our manifesto has always stated that we want to make challenging theatre, and tackle the bad habits we have fallen into. So, our conclusion: we’ve done it before: with satire, humour, performance, music, dance - and we can do it again. That’s a great message to start 2017 on.


Roll up your sleeves everyone. We have work to do.





Baz xx



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Baz Productions here, signing off on 2016 –

Us too, kitty. Us too.

Us too, kitty. Us too.

As you may have heard, (or rather seen – you can’t hear an email…yet, remember that thought, 2016) we explained just what Baz had achieved this year in our most recent newsletter: from rehearsals to shows, workshops to Teach First sessions, 2016 felt like a really bumper year for the Baz Team. But really, we couldn’t have done it without you – our loyal Bazzers so glasses of sherry/cava/whiskey/Schloer up to you all, and let’s all toast with shortbread and compare flavours (if you don’t like the ones with strawberry in, we can’t talk)

So as a final post for the year, we’ll end as we mean to go on, with a spotlight – remember those? – posts we’ve gladly given over to the memory and inspiration brought about from our personal favourites – from Amy Winehouse to Ziggy Stardust, we tried to give an insight into our internal mood board: what wide range of disciplines inspired us, from dance, to photography,to music and to outstanding individuals. So what better way to wrap up the year, than for the company that brought you dreamplay, described by some as: ‘beautiful and bonkers, ‘free’ and ‘forcefully proficient’ (incidently, a pretty on the nose description of us after a few glasses of red) we thought we’d treat you to an Alternative Baz Christmas, full of tips, tricks and reccomendations worthy of the closing of a year that has us immersing ourselves in our own subconscious, Strindberg’s , Freud’s – the cast’s and those of the characters we made up. Pray for us.


The holiday season brings with it many things – the chance to catch up with family, get cosy by the fire with a loved one, all with good food and wine to keep you in that dozy, well-fed stupor of happiness….riiiight up to the point Noddy Holder shouts “IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAASS” directly into your lughole ruining your cosy eqilibrium/carving the turkey/or a meeting under the mistletoe. We’re sorry to demonise him like this, but honestly, we’d give anything to keep that roar from our door, so here’s a selection of alternative Christmas tracks:

Bobby Darin; basically anything by him. Even if it’s not Christmassy – hell if anyone canmake murder sound merry it’s him in ‘Mack The Knife’ – let his warm and full bodied voice accompany your post Christmas lunch sit down.

Nina Simone: Her entire discography is a feast of good music, passion, and sheer force of her will – a brilliant and important musician – and her debut album ‘Little Girl Blue’ is an absolute must. Though there is no mention of Christmas or the holiday season at all – this collection that includes the classic ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ ,the title track ending on an unexpected riff on a holiday Carol and it’s autumnal cover of a wrapped up Simone sitting on a park bench in frosty Central Park, another treat for your ears.

Funny Songs: Ben Folds is a serious musician guys….he really is – and it is proved by his foray into the festive Christmas spirit and his very NSFW offering of‘Bizarre Christmas Incident’ (we did warn you…it pops up on BBC 6 music a LOT, surprisingly) as well as this gem from one of our favourite comedies, Community where Childish Gambino himself raps about a Jehovah’s witness Christmas. 

Plaintive Christmas: If there’s no breaking your sour mood as we transition from the, frankly pile of poo 2016 was into the suspiciously-smelling-of-manure 2017, wallow with style as Chilly Gonzales (another of our faves and musical genius) provides ‘A Minor Christmas Medley’ where the simple act of transposing a key down to minor makes a startling difference to your favourite sing a long classics, making them oddly beautiful and haunting.  And finally, if you just want calm and serenity after aching muscles carrying shopping down he assault course of the high street, let George Winston’s instrumental album ‘December’ ease your shoulders back down from your ears.

Suitably relaxed, you’ll now want some entertainment and Baz has some thoughts there too…

Doctor Who: I know, I know, disappointingly mainstream but also a massive figure-puller, with regular numbers hitting the high millions, it’s become something of a national tradition. And hey, it’s not every mainstream show that has offered robot santas, time travel and deadly wi-fi is it? Cut us some slack.

Chicken Run: Controversial, we know, to choose the hen coop over Wensleydale and evil penguins, but there’s jut something about it coming on that heralds Christmas. We, however, never get misty eyed when the chickens manage to escape the farm. No, never.

A Fish Called Wanda: An odd choice of Christmas film, we admit, with no mention of Christmas, or of winter even, but if you’re year isn’t instantly saved by Kevin Kline narrowing his eyes and drawling “Oh, you English think you’re soooo superior, don’t you?” Well, we just don’t know you.

The Reith Lectures: The radio gets much maligned at Chistmastime, (especially as here is where Noddy is to be found…) but there’s a wealth of exellent programming, and music from BBC Radio 6 music, arts on BBC Radio three, the list is endless...not to mention the annual Reith lectures, managing every year to get some piece of interesting information past our whiskey and eggnog addled brains. Especially if it's like this, the year when they moved the lecture to the telly: 


What we’re all here for really isn’t it? The three Cs truly come out to play, Carbs, Chocolate and Carrots – or at least it does when you have a vegetarian Christmas. Oh yes. It can be done. You could cheat and get Quorn equivalents or you could do wintry vegetable salads, lasagna, melanzane parmigiana, flaky pastry olive and mushroom pie, rostie potatoes – the possibilities are endless and at this time of year, a change to give back a little without losing the quality or quantity is a tempting thought. More temptig than another slice of gateau though? We're just not sure. 

Whatever you decide to do over the holidays, be safe, be merry, be free and bonkers like us, and you won’t go far wrong. Happy Holidays you lovely Bazzers – wishing you health and happiness *heart eyes* and here's to 2017 - we've got a good feeling about this. 






Baz xx




2016 Was Amazing (Theatrically Speaking)

How you all doing? We don’t know a lot, other than it’s cold, there’s sugary seasonal drinks on offer, it’s getting darker earlier, and the lights are getting fancier. It must be coming up to that famous end of year festival. So we’d like to take this opportunity to take a break from internet deals and figuring out which socket will take the fairy lights to concentrate on the end of year part and take a trip down memory lane to some of our most favourite theatre trends/moments of 2016 (excluding our dreamplay at the Vaults, obvs. We think about that a lot.)

So, it may not have been a great year for anything (read: everything else) in the world but theatre had a pretty good year off it. There was good news for women, diversity and theatre finding an accessible, no-holds barred voice in the face of threats to the arts and culture itself. When threatened, the creature that is theatre spreads more seeds of genius further and wider. Hell, even hateful not-too-distant-future Republican Vice Presidents knew Hamilton was ‘a thing’ – and once again the theatre community showed its worth by coming together and presenting him with a fair address – all while dressed as founding fathers. Proof if ever needed The Arts is that group of cool people at the bar that you really want to be friends with.

But it’s been a great year for Shakespeare, a bumper 400th birthday – a Lear around every corner, a Macbeth here, a trilogy there – but most importantly, Britain seems to have conspired to serve Shakespeare with a twist of lemon – Forced Entertainment’s Tabletop Shakespeare adding lemon, ketchup, gin, bleach: basically anything that’s to hand for their impressive and somehow endearing Shakespeare retellings. With Emma Rice’s landmark appointment to artistic director of the Globe, we enjoyed beautiful, lush imaginings of his worlds, right through to Ray Fearon’s Macbeth, and the regular inclusion of amazing actors with disabilities in her casts, it’s been a real rejuvenation of that space, and we can’t wait to see what she’ll be up to next.

Josie Rourke at the Donmar, presented along with Baz Patron Harriet Walter an absolute belter of a trilogy this year –sure you’ve seen Harry Hotspur and Kate quarrel about his disloyalty to the king, but have you seen it set in a English Women’s prison?  - be prepared for that particular context to make the most sense ever. A stunning production. Of course, currently Glenda Jackson is shaking the windows at the Old Vic as Queen Lear – and RSC productions, including Cymbeline at the Barbican displaying more diversity and talent than ever.

It’s also been a good year for nostalgia with an interesting slant – sure you’ve seen Groundhog Day millions of times, but have you seen it set to music and a tap shuffle? Read all the Harry Potter books? Well here it is, live as you live and breathe with apparently amazing stage effects. Think you read all of Samuel Beckett’s work? Wait, we found another one. In an age where all art, be it paint, sculpture, tv, film, or music is having to work harder and harder to keep our waning attention spans, this year’s theatre has shown there’s life in the old girl yet. She may well outlive us all.

Really, there was just too much to mention here: some amazing standout performances by folk you knew but didn’t know could do that, to folk you didn’t know but now know of because they are so good at that – whew, that was a coffee fuelled thought- 2016 could have easily pulled us all under (and had more than enough real drama in it to fill eight volumes of a tragic opus) but a mix of nostalgia, fun, inclusivity and risk-taking made it, in our opinion, a bumper year for culture and the arts. Of course, there is always more work to be done, more outreach and representation, but with the way things are going, that faint glow of optimism, all but put out by the crap the year has put us through is starting to spark. From remembering Bowie in Lazarus to Amadeus at the National, the theatre is still appointment viewing. In the words of London mayor, London is Open: and our stages and audiences reflected it.

Obviously for us, it was a fantastic year for our run of dreamplay at the Vaults, our education programme, outreach, and flying the flag for site-specific theatre. We can always go further though, and Baz is ready for the new year! C’mon then 2017, if you think you’re hard enough.

*delicately sips eggnog* dammit, Christmas, surprise attack.

Big love and high fives,

Baz xx




The Lost Blog (The One Where All The Blogs Come Home)

Ahoy Bazlings! 

Hope all is well on good ship Baz, we've certainly had a good week - full of Shakespeare of all kinds: RSC and All Female - and it did not disappoint on any level, forsooth. It got us all fired up for the future though and many an idea has been thrown around while drinking wine (and sometimes those verbs got mixed up, but hey, that's PASSION. And we got a lot of it.)

But as London is literally lit up like a Christmas tree and the air is filled with cinnamon and whatever makes Subway smell so damn delicious, it got us thinking about our bumper year, and like our American cousins, what we are thankful for.

Well, you lot, of course, the lifeblood of the thing, who we write, direct and perform for, and who have loyally stayed by our side up to an including this year with our dream play project, the scale of which we'd never tried. Our casts, old and new that have dug our ideas and manifesto, and with fearlessness always gave it some welly - without their talent, support and continued loyalty we'd be nowhere fast. Our excellent Trio of Cath, Sarah and Emma who gave this thing life, gave it 100% commitment and shared their incredible array of talents and practices so uniquely them to make Baz not something able to be ignored.

And of course, our crew: Stage Manager Libby who you met in our previous blog, our fab producing duo George and Liz and of course our Stage and Set designers Josh and Naoimi who between them on a limited time, budget and just the obstacle of dressing and lighting a concrete tube, a pros arch theatre and a former office, three jobs in one, delivered more than we could possibly ask for: with dedication to the themes and ideas, amazing detail and most importantly a smile and a joke. It was an unmitigated pleasure to work with them, so how better to celebrate Bazgiving with the last of our Look Back Blogs, here's Josh and Naomi JUST as dream play's run ended.

Joshua Gadsby on the visual world of dreamplay.

dreamplay, was a departure for us. A co-design between Naomi Kuyck-Cohen (who specialises in set and costume design) and me, Joshua Gadsby (who specialises in lighting design). We both have a professional background in devised theatre works, movement works and performance art. We were keen to see the impact of removing boundaries in the design process, could the visual language become more visceral and playful?

Naomi and I were really drawn to BAZ's mission to bring theatre that holds a playful core. Theatre that coerces the audience to have a direct relationship with the action unfolding. It’s a delightful provocation for design.

Our work on dreamplay begun around 4 months ago, the journey from page to stage was somewhat unique, a classic text used as a framework for a contemporary response which formed a script, which was then used as a basis for play and exploration in the rehearsal room. We are both very process driven designers that thrive on interrogation and response to the source material (the play, the movement, the image) and this production offered a fantastic opportunity to go on a journey of interrogation with director Sarah Bedi. Strindberg’s A dream pay is a mammoth of a text, almost endless in it’s vivid and changing imagery. Sarah’s interpretation was no different, spanning the vast width and breadth of human suffering. We set about interrogating every image of human suffering within the play, picking apart and looking for common and universal images that could provide a visual language. Being sure not to give too much, as this is not a production seeking to give answers.

After many a site visit it was clear that the the Vaults architecture would become a very looming presence within the play. Trains rumble above, as each new room is architecturally more obscure than the last. Drowning the space in design was the last thing we wanted, we needed a language of simplicity and directness that allowed the audiences to connect with performers, not just watch them. Ultimately, the cavernous, characterful and sometimes absurd Vaults became the springboard for what our dreamscape looked like. We embraced it, it became the floored context that often inhabits our dreams. A bedroom appears in what is almost certainly not a domestic space, a plastic greasy spoon table and chair set sit in on a bare theatre stage and a mystical cellist appears high up in a frame, It’s the unexplainable stuff of dreams. Spacial forms are broken, remade and broken again. dreamplay really does inhabit the vaults.

There is nothing quite as terrifying as entering the first day of rehearsals with only a a white card model box (usually the design is completed and locked down at this point) and a notion of what some of the spacial dynamics will be, but this led to a flexibility and playfulness that meant that we could keep focus on the energy and boldness of the company. Often fleeting and exciting creative discoveries in the rehearsal room are also enabled as a result, a vast and decaying mirror... possibly the most absurd and unexpected image that has come of dreamplay came late in the process, something magical was captured in the rehearsal room and so it became part of our world in the Vaults.

No good ever comes of committing too early. Trust in the process, trust in the playfulness and stay open.

** 17.09.16

Impressive aren't they? And they did so everyday - a new issue, a new obstacle, managing a budget, still managing to be creative and ingenious - we really lucked out, and we see big things on the horizon. Thanks Josh and Naomi! Happy Bazgiving :)

And alas, there endeth the Baz blogs for the dream play era - but never fear, like an overactive child on too much hot chocolate we could rattle on about not much for days, so expect a new blog post soon.

Have a good monday, y'all (we've come over all American) and drink wine and be merry.

….We know it's 1pm, your point? Loads of places do mulled wine, c'mon now...

Big Love,






Voices In Likely Places (You Can't Ignore Them Forever)


The above image taken at our Young Director's workshop - the brilliant Liz set the task of asking them to write their thoughts on post its and stick them to pages posing different questions about the production. We got a very colourful theatre floor going on. You just can't see it cos it's in black and white. 

Good morning Bazerinas, we hope this blog finds you well – we certainly are, still wondering if dream play was some wonderful dream that still gives us butterflies. Ah. Don’t expect us to not be mushy for a while yet! But at the same time, the gooey centre that is Baz needs it’s raison d'etre (this talk of chocolate and raisins getting you guys hungry too?)  anyway – it’s proving quite hard to stay positive given current news and politics news – but it’s uncertain, worrying and austere times that art has proven its mettle and proved its here to stay.

It’s so hard to believe that austerity has been around for six years – kids, there was such a thing as money put aside from the arts, and people not meddling in culture ! That’s why we need young voices and talent more than ever and Baz is dedicated to nurturing and providing tools in order to contribute to the health of the arts for the future – Baz Education is just there above on the right and we’ll wait right here for you to check it out and then come back.


Good, isn’t it? Okay, it’s brilliant and it’s fine if you haven’t gone, you can do it later but in essence, Baz’s aims and manifesto in our theatre and programming have helped shape our teaching programmes – using the tools we use in rehearsal and performance – from verse and approaching scenes to devising. For key stages 2,3 and 4 these kinds of skills are so useful for not only studies but also vocabulary, wider knowledge but most importantly, personal confidence.  We also tailor our workshops to suit different institutions and levels of study. Cos we’re passionate like that.

During our dream play run at the Vaults, we reached out to young directors, offering them a ticket inclusive with a Q&A with two kind members of the cast, and our director/writer extraordinaire, Sarah – it was led epicly by one of our trainee directors Liz and was such an eye opener to how young people think about theatre: as well as their furtile imaginations and keenness to talk and interact with the production itself through directing exercises, brainstorms and Q&A sessions. That alone was enough to convince us that there is interest, passion and more importantly talent out there we need to nurture more than ever. We also recently visited and talked at the BRIT School for further confirmation that faith in young talent is founded - they have the skills and we need to provide the goods.

We’ve also worked closely with those top top people at Teach First – an organisation that truly puts education at the foremost of its ideals – for all ages, all parts of the country, all nationalities – everyone. The tireless work they put in to this inspires Baz, and also provides us with a framework to adapt our workshops to visit all schools, universities and work spaces we can get to- allowing us to tap into our fantastic actor’s network to lead the workshops we have formed in order to get the message out there by professionals with hands on knowledge of the industry they are talking about. We’ve seen for ourselves that drama techniques and training can give students and teachers alike that extra boost of confidence and skill that makes all the difference, especially through our Teacher INSET education packages. To learn more, take a trip to the top of the page under the lovely banner of Baz Education.

And it’s not just us – various theatre companies, even big buildings like the Old Vic are running programmes that use performance spaces and theatre in the day to help you give that presentation, to help your confidence, to help you imagine and understand that monologue you have to analyse. And we here at Baz dig that, and am so pleased to be part of the movement. So ultimately, are we about to break into Witney Houston song, teach them well and let them lead the way? Well yes, actually, that’s a silly question, but aside from that the arts, our cultural output and identity is being cut year on year, less voices are being given the opportunity to be heard and society can’t advance without arts. That’s why we need to nurture young voices and talent – of which there is no shortage in this country – and support the arts! We smell revolution. You with us??

With a friendly roar, we're off to eat some chocolate raisins.

Love, Baz




More Blog Than You Can Shake A Stick At (But That Would Be Weird)

Whoo! Hi Bazzers! Us again, we're back! We hope this blog finds you well, as one can be after a weekend - we're here to keep you all in the loop once more with all things Baz. Cos we're loopy like that. Ah and this is from the vaults (both metaphorical and Waterloo) to bring you some thoughts from our epic Stage manager Libby: Always there with a light/a joke/a cuddle/ a towel from when you get out the bath she ran before every show, pyjama provider, engagement ring arranger and lighting manager. You get a lot in the deal that is Libby the Rock. Much more badass than Dwyane Johnson (though don't tell him we said that)

So anyway, here it is: some brilliant thoughts from our all rounder -at the point just before we got into the space - here Libby reflects on her growing responsibility and inclusion - far from being intimidated, she took on every challenge, and learned there was literally nothing she couldn't do. We literally couldn't have done it without you, Libby. Take it away!

Libby Blog

I trained in Theatre practice at Drama School and have worked in Theatre and live events for over 11 years. I have spent time in a lot of rehearsal rooms and each show is unique, offering a different set of rules to bring about different outcomes. I have worked a lot in music production, events, festivals and circus so coming back to theatre is a really good feeling. Being a part of a creative process again, exploring and finding with a group of people is very exciting. In Baz’s case, the daily structure of the week is outlined by the director, I share that daily with the entire company along with general and specific notes from that day’s rehearsals. Each scene is worked on with high-focus, there are improvisation games, text work, movement sessions. I help record and action this.

When it comes to Theatre for me the most exciting way to work is collaboratively; sitting in the corner of a room all day can take its toll so being made to feel like part of the company, having interesting discussions not just about the play, script or character but life experiences, daily experiences, things that have happened to friends, are all discussions that I am encouraged to be part of. And that is very exciting and liberating. That, to me is my definition of experimental theatre.

I also love what we are working toward, what the performances will be. The structure of the play is being found in rehearsals and a lot of the content that will build the play will be found in performance every night. There are no solid cues, no book (in fact a lot of the time no script), no big changes of set. The play is alive; my task is to help keep it so. I need to be as in tune with the scene, content, theme, understanding, cast and research as anyone else ‘on stage’. And rehearsals are not a time for me to do paperwork but for me to be engaging in the process.  

I’m in my 3rd week with BAZ and I am really enjoying each day. I really enjoy how organised Sarah is, the rehearsal day is clear, structured and really enjoyable. I’m really learning not to be self-conscious, my opinion / thoughts / feelings are often asked for during this process and that’s quite unusual for me to speak up! I really enjoy being involved in a collaborative process and working with BAZ has given me more confidence to (when asked) be actively involved, reading in lines, standing in as an audience member, joining in the warm up and speaking in research / analysing sessions.

Its important not to have any pre conceived thoughts before arriving into a process like this. Before I arrived I read the play and drew up the usual paperwork pre rehearsals, props list, character and scene breakdowns etc. But once rehearsal began I soon realised I will need to be open to the process and not confined with paperwork or tradition methods of working. This is something I teach often when I work back at my old drama school so it is really good practice for me to be doing it live! The structured paperwork I originally made I have shed in favour of more free flowing templates that I can fill in. I am very much looking forward to the outcome of this play, I have no idea yet, even at this stage of rehearsals, what the entire outcome will be, there is a real feel of adventure and play. I’m definitely on my toes.

Isn't that exciting? Makes us feel we want to get right back into the process of putting on a show again! What Libby didn't know was that the resulting production would keep her on her toes and her toenails, but she never got down or stressed, and did whatever was right for the cast or production, whatever the task. That's dedication, professionalism and class. It always went like a dream.

Ha. Punny.

We love you Libby! What no, shut up there's something in YOUR eye...

ext week we'll have more thoughts from our company, this time mid-late production from our epic dynamic design duo, Naomi and Josh! You don't want to miss it!


Baz xx




The Lost Blogs - An Actor Rehearses. Jack's Blog

Hey hey Dreamers! (We refuse to let go of the dream so what!) Just because the run has ended, doesn't mean that dream has too! Oh yes, we still have content coming out of our ears like a Peter Gabriel Aardman music video (long story) so stay tuned. First up, from week two of rehearsal, actor Jack Wilkinson reflects on the new: cast, rules, games, and freedom. Super interesting to read especially now the run is over…sniff. Don't look at us. Allergies. Anyway, a great blog, take it away Jack!


“Just say yes…”

Was actor, Colin Hurley’s response to being asked if he was really going to use a Sainsburys shopping bag as a bathtub.


I feel that comment sums up the feel of the room so far in rehearsals for ‘dreamplay’. It’s week two and the atmosphere is just as open and playful as the first – sometimes in a rehearsal processes there comes a point where people want to start to nail things down, even have the answers given to them, but this is a play very much made up of questions rather than answers. What is it to love, to hurt? What is it to dream? And to try and discover these things, I think it’s about creating the right atmosphere in a rehearsal room, one that’s safe for people to “…Say yes.” To be able to try things out and not be afraid to fail.

With dreamplay, we often have all the actors in the rehearsal space at all times, and sure, even though sometimes it may be good to shoot off into a green room, have a brew and learn some lines/check facebook, there is a sense that you’re all building a play together, as an ensemble – watching each other work, adding ideas, picking scenes apart as a company and getting to know the play as a whole not just individual parts. We have an actor who has a clowning piece in the play and instead of being a personal endeavor all of us over the past few weeks have been playing and developing individual clowns.

One of the actors said to me the other day – “It’s like being back at drama school”. I wondered if that felt regressive, but then I’ve never been as brave in my career as I was back then. It is like being back at drama school: large voice and body warm ups, dancing, clowning, large improvisations – and the ability to watch fellow cast members work and be able to learn. It’s one of the things many great performers talk about, that we should never stop learning, but sometimes it’s easy to fall into a place where you feel the need to succeed, impress and ‘get it right’ – a lovely director once told me, “Acting is a very simple thing, made complicated”.

It’s amazing what happens when you’re in a room full of people that are open enough to express how they felt during an exercise or scene. “I felt I was maybe not being as open as could” – “I was probably too polite...” the whole room becomes braver and when somebody makes a discovery, it’s doesn’t panic the rest of the room into believing that they’re behind in their work – but acts as a bar being set, a challenge, something that galvanizes everyone to create.

When I took this project on, somebody said it was maybe too experimental for them – but I think all theatre should be an experiment, a place to explore. And it is a joy to share with the audience. Why do these characters do what they do? What is it like to be human? A question I think we can all have a little say in… and one I’m very much looking forward to trying to answer with audiences at the Vaults.

How about that - even in week two, no shying away from the difficult stuff. And no hint of a Killers lyric in sight (are we dancer? What?) more the first bit: are we human?

We went some way to trying to show that in every light we could. To err is to be human.

To quote is to blog. 

Love you Bazzers, thanks so much on making this run the best yet, your support, your reactions and your donations. You all rock harder than Axel Rose on a Tuesday (we presume he rocks then, may be untrue, but you get the jist!) 

Baz x

/This blog was featured on Reviews in Sept 16, and wrongly credited. The words are credited to Jack Wilkinson and should read as above.





No Training Necessary: Baz Makes Good Choices

Good afternoon, Bazzers! Have we got a treat for you! We've heard from one brilliant trainee directors Stephen Lloyd and now Elizabeth Bacon steps into the breach for us. Not to get misty-eyed  (watch this space) but we have been so lucky to appoint Stephen and Liz as so much more than trainees: workshop givers, post-show talks, and general support. dreamplay is not a usual production and we have found creative professionals more than happy to give us their support, time and creativity. Like the title says: we make good choices. What? No, there's nothing in our eyes? Ahem. Anyway. Here is fresh new blog from Liz mid-dream at The Vaults, Waterloo...

Things As They Are

I wrote a blog post a while ago about how audiences respond to theatre; about how every one of us is an expert at deciding whether a performance was effective or not, because theatre, in my thinking, is about making audiences feel. How exciting then that I can’t tell you whether, or how, a piece of theatre will make you feel, that no-one can. How wonderfully democratic that we each come at it from our own starting point and that no-one is more expert at being an audience member than anyone else.

Working as a trainee director on ‘dreamplay’ with Baz Productions, at The Vaults in (in fact, under) Waterloo, I’ve come back to this again- I’ve been thinking about theatre performance and narrative, and the pressure to ‘get it’, or not. Inspired by Strindberg’s original, the play is about dreams and the dreamer, about how we experience dreams- how we see them, hear them, how they make us think, feel and what they do to us. Placing the audience as dreamer, the play immerses us into the world of a series of different and sometimes related dreams, as we pass through different spaces in The Vaults and the 8:05pm train to Woking rumbles over-head.

Actually- it’s sort of about those things. And here’s where I think it gets interesting; it’s open, it doesn’t tell the audience what to think or feel, rather it presents us with a series of things that are played so truthfully and with such life and openness, that they are little presents in themselves. This openness is central to the Director, Sarah Bedi’s, process, which from the outset was about working with a group of curious and committed performers to find the game in each scene, and to play that hard, and differently, every night. This was never about blocking, fixing or choreography, this was about finding the game and keeping it alive and engaging for the performers and audience alike.

What struck me about ‘dreamplay’ is that each scene tells a different story, and there are links, and echoes, and gifts in each one, but there isn’t a coherent whole. Or rather, the coherent whole is the audience’s journey through the piece, the dreamer, taking part, experiencing, feeling and engaging. This isn’t a trick- there isn’t a story that you’re ‘meant’ to unearth, there’s a narrative framework- Agnes, a kind of angel-figure, comes to earth to find out why human beings are sad- but, really, understanding that (or not) shouldn’t alter your experience of it. What I love about this play is the beauty and commitment of each moment, each performer, the feel, smell and acoustics of each space. What I take away from it is a series of beautiful things that brought goosebumps to my arms, laughter to my belly, tears to my eyes and a pleasant shooting sensation down my back.

Now, let me be honest- as an audience member, I’m often guilty of needing to know the meaning- what I’m meant to learn, the joke I’m meant to be in on, the irony I’m meant to raise an eyebrow at, who I’m meant to trust, who I’m meant to be suspicious of- I want to get ahead so I can be ‘in’. It’s a test, and I want to pass, please. That creates a fair whack of anxiety, often leaving me dissatisfied and prone to blame (I’m working on it). But what if there is nothing to ‘get’. What if it’s up to each of us to feel and respond to a piece of theatre as we will, and if that means taking away five 2 minute segments where some beautiful movement sequence felt like freedom, or a wail hit so poignantly and hard at grief it made you hold your breath, or a light and a shadow felt like being 5 years old again, or an argument felt so totally yours, you realised you needed to apologise- well, what if that’s enough.

I think there’s a big responsibility here with theatre makers- directors, performers, designers and their creative teams – to connect to and engage audiences in a way that they feel safe and confident to respond to a piece in a manner that is totally their own, because that is so much more robust and profound than ‘getting it’, so much more flexible, personal, moving and ultimately, I think, much more valuable.

Liz's website can be found here:

Til Next Time, Bazzers! Sweet Dreams...

Baz x



Dreaming in The Vaults - Pic Collection No.3

Hello again Bazzy Dreamers! We are now at our last week in The Vaults! Can you even believe that! We cannot - time is being weird. Like a dream….*twilight music* ha, anyway. We thought we'd spoil you with some more pics courtesy of the excellent Cesare De Giglio! Check them out below!

Love, Baz xx



Dream Commencing...

Bazzers! We have officially begun the lucid state that is our run of dream play at the Vaults  - and we are so so excited (and no, not in the unfortunate way you can sometimes be in a dream state. Steady.) to finally share it with our audiences - it's a massive joy for us and the cast to enjoy such an interesting and unique relationship with theatregoers - taking it out of the traditional spaces, and the traditional stories.

It's close to what Strindberg was attempting in 1901 when he wrote A Dream Play for his Intimate Theatre in Sweden - he was a revolutionary in text and performance, even then, in turn of the century spaces. In using his text as a template, updating it and giving it shape, we have consciously taken the stabilisers off what a play can be - there are props, locations, sets, costume - it's still what you would recognise, but we're keen for you to earn your dinner and fully get on board with us. That, to us, is a fully immersive, experimental and thoughtful, impossible thing. Much like a dream.

Dreams make a sense that is illusive - time moves differently, space and truths we accept in the daytime, rules even, no longer apply. Repressed thoughts, memories and desires are unleashed, nostalgia, happiness, sadness, loss, lust and just life run riot. And this is Baz's paddling pool. Through the imagination, bravery and boldness of our amazing director Sarah, our cast of Colin, Michelle, Jade, Jack, Laura and George (Laura's cello) our amazing fearless and dynamic designers Naomi and Josh, producers extraordinare Liz and George and our initial holy trio of Catherine, Sarah and Emma who dreamt it up in the first place- we have created form and chaos, physical sets and imagined ones, a fourth wall and no walls. We ask you to leave expectation at the door - in our original manifesto, we professed to create event theatre that is 'alive and limitless'.

dreamplay feels like a love letter to that. And to August, obviously. And his patented 'hypnotising gaze'. Though maybe not. It's pretty intense, guys.

We look forward to have you dream with us!

With love,

Baz x

book in here:



Some more picture-y goodness!

We are spoiling you now, Bazzers

But it's true, the rumours are confirmed - we do have some more excellent pictures from our rehearsal room to share with you! Feast thine eyes below:

Credit as ever, to the superb Cesare De Giglio  © 





Flashback Thursday! One of Our excellent Trainee Director's Opens up about the early process...

Good Morning Bazzers!

Do we have a treat for you or what - our first Trainee Director of the project has written us a blog,  postcard from rehearsals all the way back in week one - it's a fascinating read during a week of final rehearsals: to understand and reconnect with the nucleus of the piece, what's changed and what's stayed the same. Thank you Stephen! And we're looking forward to a different experience every night too...

Full of expectation I arrived at the Vatican rehearsal studio for day one of rehearsals for ‘Dreamplay’. “We’ll probably spend the morning sat around a big table, reading the script, drinking coffee and discussing the themes of the play. Bit of uniting, a few games, definitely ‘Zip, Zap, Boing’”. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Following a brief introduction, Sarah led a warm up which involved the company moving around the room, engaging with the space. The warm up was followed by a series of improvisations directly linked to scenes in the play. Exploring the themes and nature of each of them, then discussing how it made us feel, both those taking part in the exercises and those watching.

The rest of the week continued to play out this way, so that by Friday we had looked at every scene. I really enjoyed being involved and seeing this process take shape. It felt like the company had a stronger understanding of each scene, their characters and the play as a whole; a group of fearless, daring performers who took on each challenge with pure enthusiasm and inspiring confidence.

As a trainee director, I assumed that I would spend a lot of the week just watching and observing the process, but instead felt very involved, contributing to discussions and exercises. I even had the opportunity to lead a morning warm up.

It was great observing the work that the company did with movement director Fionn. Seeing them completely let go and use their bodies to translate characters and situations, the physicality of the Clown and the Dancing Girls whilst owning their material and being in the moment. Something that all artists aspire to achieve, but do not always having the space and time to practice and explore.

By the end of the week I could see that all of my expectations were well and truly wrong and I’m so glad they were. I had learned a great deal from Sarah and the company. Even having taken over some stage management tasks, I felt that I had a better understanding of what everyone does. Having worked as an actor for several years and have directed a number of plays myself, this opportunity was a wonderful way to experience work from the other side and observe the many ways and approaches towards text, characters, scenes and production.

I really look forward to seeing the finished piece, well considering a lot will be improvised, a finished piece.


1 Comment

When we rehearse, we invite a professional photographer along...

Have we got a treat for you! We have done the photographer thing proper and the results are going in personal frames ASAP…unless that's weird. Eh. We don't care. They're that awesome. Props to our guest photographer Cesare De Giglio for capturing the still moments in a very active  and unexpected rehearsal room - and this just proves, as if we ever needed it, that our amazing actors, despite being groovy, talented, brave, clever and generally top, also can't take a bad picture. Thanks, guys. 

© Cesare De Giglio 

Dream Team Collective. After this, we're starting a 90s R'n'B group.

dreamplay is at The Vaults, September 10th - 1st October, 2016. 

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Signals from the Blog-as-phere...

Ahoy! We are fully on the good ship Baz's dreamplay, and already nearing the end of the penultimate week of rehearsals! This is both bonkers and exciting, Bazzers. As ever we are loving exploring, playing and improvising our way through Strindberg's landscape, armed to the teeth with excellent acting talent at every turn, and with Sarah Bedi in the captain's hat/director's chair - the job is a good 'un. Seriously, guys. We've seen some of it. Dreamy stuff. 

In honour of this excellent  and immersive process, the arts review site Reviews Hub asked our director for her thoughts and 'rules' of engagement in the rehearsal space. Ask and ye shall receive some great comments and soundbites and witticisms that make us feel all grown up and knowledgeable, which we totally are. Got a badge and everything. Anyway, read on for some knowledge, some reflections and some thoughts. Well done, Cap'n!


In the first of a regular series taking us behind the rehearsal room door, writer and director Sarah Bedi shares her thoughts on creating the complex world of dreamplay, opening in September at The Vaults in London.

Day two of rehearsals for dreamplay. Day two of playing, experimenting and feeling our way towards a complex dream-world that already feels endlessly surprising and unnerving. It’s early days yet and already some ‘rules of play’ are emerging from the room. We’ll keep adding to these as rehearsals progress until finally, we have a complete set of guidelines … but for now this is where we are at:

Rule #1: The parameters of our dreamplay are the same as those set out by Strindberg in 1907 in the preface to his A Dream Play:

“The characters split, double, multiply, evaporate, condense, dissolve and merge. But one consciousness rules them all: the dreamer’s; for him there are no secrets, no inconsistencies, no scruples and no laws. He does not judge or acquit, he merely relates; and because a dream is usually painful rather than pleasant, a tone of melancholy and compassion for all living creatures permeates the rambling narrative.”

Rule #2: The audience is the dreamer. We are in their subconscious. In a dream every person you meet is part of you; they must be as there is only your subconscious. Therefore every character our audience meets is also themselves, we are all part of the same consciousness. As the audience is the dreamer, it is to them the adventure happens.

Rule #3: There is a transaction with the character Daughter/Agnes: we become her and she becomes us.Daughter/Agnes/Audience goes on a quest to find out why humans suffer. We encounter suffering in various guises. Fear. Shame. Rejection. Loss. Anxiety. It’s everywhere, and it repeats. Endlessly. Perhaps this is human existence.

Rule #4: Everything in the space is live. Everything is physical. Nothing is ‘pre-made’ and therefore nothing is ‘pre-decided’ or ‘pre-determined’. Where possible, lighting is made through practicals operated by performers. Actors change characters in front of us, and we don’t rely on theatrical ‘tricks’. The magic is a different sort of magic that happens in front of us and with us. It’s open and generous and present.

Rule #5: In a dream anything can happen. This is not a get out clause. In the seeming chaos, there needs to be order – even if it’s order of a different kind. Dreams are made up of feelings, thoughts and the fragments of everyday waking life. There is still a structure of sorts: perhaps a spongy, bendy, illogical sort of structure, but it’s still a structure.

Rule #6: A dream is open to interpretation: there is no single ‘true’ reading of a dream. dreamplay is equally open to interpretation: there is no single ‘true’ reading of dreamplay. This is a show that isexperienced through the body as much as it is through the mind. It is not an intellectual experience, nor is it didactic. We aim to give the audience a bunch of dots and leave them free to join them however they want. Some will guess at our intentions, others will create their own story/meaning. Both are valid and right.

dreamplay runs at The Vaults, London 10 September to 1 October 2016

Read it online here:




A Word On Our Inspiration: BazHomage Time

August having a good (?) time with his guitar and his patented 'hypnotic gaze'. It's a good look, bro.

August having a good (?) time with his guitar and his patented 'hypnotic gaze'. It's a good look, bro.

So. Bazzers, the time has come to write on our raison d’etre (check us out) - it’s Strindberg time! Yep we’re going to dive into the mind of the writer whose work we are adapting for our dreamplay - giving us the perfect excuse to get into the head of the guy who wrote this impossible, existentialist, surrealist theatre gauge that has endured for centuries. Basically, the topic and sub heading of the blog this week is: “who on earth could have possibly come up with this?”

Hoy. We’ll do our best!

Well! Someone, creative, damaged and a touch fragile, for one. A Dream Play follows beautiful, melancholy and naive daughter of the God Indra, known as Agnes. She comes down to observe us, UFO style, and our earth-y ways. She is left wanting. To sort of get back up there to the mansion in the clouds and away quick sharp. Quelle Surprise (we like quoting in French a lot lately, go with it)  In essence, the human condition comes under the microscope and uncomfortable truths are borne out of the typical human experience: an marriage going sour, a dead end job, waiting in vain, forever trapped in a unrequited love. Not so subtle there, August bro. But still, the human condition (i.e in bad shape) has long inspired great thinkers and writers of the age, why should August be any different?

Why indeed? Well, it seems there was never any choice: he was destined to be an artist. After some research, it’s clear to see that August Strindberg reaches those lofty, dusty heights of the shelves labelled ‘Tortured Genius’  where his ideas are regularly dusted off and his words shaken from their pages into some melting pot or another (maybe we are spending too much time with this play…) His popularity was not as widespread as Ibsen or Chekov, fellow writers and his contemporaries, enjoying modest success at best. Still, they didn’t enjoy a period of  posthumous popularity Strindberg did - with various Miss Julies popping up all over these isles in recent years. There’s not been that many A Dream Plays though - therefore, enter Baz. Pursued by a bear, fairy and the living daughter of a divine being. It’s just that sort of play, guys. So - we know how he could have written it, but why?

Having suffered a sickly early childhood as part of a global cholera outbreak, parts of it in lonely and enforced quarantine, the hospital and his quarantine bed are a motif he uses throughout his canon of work but particularly in A Dream Play as a means to portray unrest, torture or, in this particular play, a kind of hellish limbo. August, now a grown man riddled with unchecked maladies and disorders - how we would have had him have a chance holiday in Vienna and pop in to see the ‘local’ psychologist and meet Sigmund -he clearly had enough nous to realise the quarantine as a theatrical device. It didn’t stop him from attempting suicide more than once though sadly, the first when he was very young. He had an issue with drink and drug abuse and was prone to fits of whimsy, and fantasy.

Tortured genius? Tick.

Albeit one with an excellent work ethic. After abandoning his childhood hobby of tearing all the worldly goods his family owned in order to become an ‘inventor’ he discovered books, education, and later, art and women - and was all ‘Wheel what?’ and ‘electric generator who?’. He then fell in with a crowd of philosophers, writers, poets and atheists, and probably lounged around going ‘woe is me’ with a cup of coffee in one hand and a glass of wine and a cigarette in the other. After successfully wooing his first wife in love letters of several languages (show off) and comparing their love to Cleopatra and Marc Antony, he found the theatre. And the rest is theatre history. A Dream Play premiered in April 1907, with his then third wife, actress Harriet Bosse, who had also endured a long wooing campaign by Strindberg, as Agnes. In truth, we should be thankful for the campaign as in the process she became his sole inspiration for Agnes. In our eyes, she belongs wholeheartedly within the pantheon of famous turn of the century tragic heroines such as Hedda Gabler in Ibsen’s seminal play and of Masha in Chekov’s Three Sisters - bright, beautiful and innocent - cruelly lampooned by fate and a harsh society. Sounds familiar.

In the great scheme of things, it seems like A Dream Play was just another title and another opening night in Strindberg’s bibliography, overshadowed by it’s big sister, the loud and controversial Miss Julie, banned in England until 1939. He is also well known and respected   for his artwork, novels and writings, with Agnes and Co somewhat relegated to only the most hardcore Strindberg elite. No elite present in his time though, as on his death in May 1912,  having inspired parades and acclaim in his home country of Sweden for his achievements in his lifetime, ten thousand people followed his coffin. Incredible devotion for a writer and creative thinker, let alone advocate of experimental theatre.

Stories and entertainment for all, featuring a clear message, often quite left-wing leaning, strong women, forward thinking ideas and experimental flavours. Sounds familiar to us here at Baz - a match made in heaven, not Earth. And we can’t wait.

Dream Big and don’t do anything Strindberg wouldn’t do

(Seriously guys)


Baz x




Mirror, Signal, Automatic, Aubergine...Oops: Baz Science Lesson No. 4

Afternoon Bazzers! We’re back with yet another sleepy blog, where we have  learned yet more about the odd world of sleep: an activity, a true verb, that looks from the outside restful and peaceful, but we are about to shatter that impression with our booklearnin and smarts. Well, we try to with the help and guidance of resident brainbox PJ. As we inch closer to our dreamplay becoming a reality we’re more morbidly interested in the phenomena of sleeping than ever, ‘bad sleep’ if you will, so without further ado let’s dive headfirst into anxiety and dreams –see you on the other side...

We here at Baz have a bit of a downer on Freud, frankly we think the guy had issues: a touch of Narcissism and prone to fantasy episodes but that’s just laywomen’s opinions – and remind us to never use the term ‘laywomen’ again – but we do appreciate some of the ideas he put forward: most specifically those dealing with anxiety.  His theory that society is a major player in the formation of anxiety is something that certainly feels true today: phones, likes, magazines, money, politics.  But Freud being Freud he put it into two neat categories: that of Automatic Anxiety and Signal Anxiety – so the choice is: being afraid of being afraid of something happening to you in the moment and it being terrible, or being afraid of feeling something bad is happening anyway and all that bad stuff is just going to, you know, be really bad.

Good times, are we right, guys?

Freud theorises that these daily worries slip into our unconscious so that at night, an anxiety dream (or a ‘failed dream’) as he called it, is you trying to exorcise the anxiety by sort of living it. We know, super useful; and not traumatic at at all. But that REM state you get into when you’re about 90 minutes into the night will probably bring lovely dreams of being mugged or stuck or that moment of hearing your keys in your bag but not able to find them for an abnormally long time…or is that just us?

Anyway, Automatic Anxiety: what is it? Well, dreams that imagine a scenario when you are ambushed and are helpless to the physical or emotional consequences of it – recreating a traumatic experience – and this is where beardy Freud-y loses us a bit here. He then confidently asserts this is a reflex left over from the experience of both before and during our own births, earning it the name of ‘primary anxiety’. And hey, you don’t get more primary than that.

Well this guy clearly loves a sign... shown here for 'balance'.

Well this guy clearly loves a sign... shown here for 'balance'.

Signal Anxiety, on the other hand, is the sensation of being aware that something bad is going to happen, causing the emotional and physical consequences of a Bad Thing , and that in itself being just as scary as actually experiencing it, so good news – you’re not only going to get stuck on the rollercoaster upside down but you’re going to feel like you were going to before you stepped on it. The body goes into a state of constant preparation, aware that any second you might have to spring into action to avoid the unavoidable fate your dream has cooked up for you. This Freud coined as ‘Neurotic Anxiety’ and we mean….you weren’t kidding, Sigmund.

So how do we get ourselves out of this Primary/Neurotic state unscathed? Well it’s not that easy, really. Freud’s theories of defence mechanisms don’t offer much hope, throwing around words like, Repression, Regression, Projection, Denial…the future could be looking pretty dark, if it weren’t for Sublimation and Rationalisation. Rationality, kids, is your friend and when you employ it to your anxiety dreams through realisation of Freud’s patented ‘Talking Cure’ ™ you can go back to common or garden 'just going back to check I locked the front door' maybe twice, tops. But more Baz in style is Sublimation, where you take that negative energy and instead of wiping it clean away, you mould it into something else that could work for you. Probably Van Gough had anxiety, certainly depression and other tendencies but his art is beautiful and calm. He sublimated like no-ones business, and discounting the ear incident that worked out well. Of course, Freud links this to sexuality and would, at this point in the session, accuse you of having the hots for him, so we’ll leave anxiety there on that fairly positive note.


The main thing is though, enjoy yourself, put on the telly, out on Elbow, have a Pimms, read a monologue, play an improv game and sublimate, sublimate, sublimate/

/Be lazy

(Mood) swings and roundabouts innit?

Just by the way, Baz will always confirm that you did lock the door, cos we’re that kind of friend and we dig you.


Love, Baz x




The French Discotheque and You (have more in common than you think)

Like most of you Bazzers, we here at Baz HQ are dismayed and a bit broken by Britain’s decision regarding the EU. Still. Apart from anything the cross-pollenisation of cultures, works, and talent from all over Europe will be sorely missed. From all other angles, political, economical or just purely human, a massive loss. But. We are sure you have had enough dissection and debate to last a lifetime, so here, let’s celebrate some of the best movers and shakers of our neighboring nations instead. Movement and dance are very important to Baz – keen as we are to provide experimental and challenging theatre, this does not limit itself to purely dialogue. Not by a long shot!

Like you, we were not expecting, on a soggy Friday evening to be transported by one performance on the Graham Norton Show. Enter Christine and The Queens  - your new jam, and no excuses. You’re putting this on your toast every morning from now on. Unrepentantly French, incredibly catchy, electronic dance, yes yes – but the dancing was like a play. There was a dialogue to her movements with her four male dancers, and clad in the exact same outfit, a uniform, even – this was a genderless presentation of what a music, art and theatre could be, all together. Post performance interview, she praised her choreographer responsible for “that great genderless energy” and her dancers for making her apparently no less awkward, in fact “I’m still awkward, but now with style” Us too, Christine, us too.

Such a synapse-firing performance got us thinking here at Baz HQ about movement and how important it is to Baz. Conversations without words, mirroring action, that strange other level of intimacy brought about by choreographed movement comes down to much more than arriving in the correct spot to catch your dance partner. Trusting your scene partner with a performance, with lines, is one thing, trusting them with your body is quite another and that’s what makes it so fascinating and vital to Baz. This piece, showcased in Wim Wenders' excellent tribute/documentary of  Pina's work couldn’t prove the point more:

An absolute hero of dance and a true visionary, her multi-talented, multi-cultural (ha, see how that worked out, almost as if we’re all on one planet and should learn to share hah…that’s the last of it, we promise) company of talented, free, ego-less dancers have placed such trust and faith and loyalty to her vision that it makes us here at Baz choke up a bit. Dance seems to be the perfect companion to the artistic project: as an impossibly cool French collective supporting equally cool French pop, or to showcase the discipline of the thing with Pina, or, as shown in last year’s Tate Modern celebration of Musee De La Danse, dancing among the most important framed works of the 20th century, not as decoration, but an art form in and of itself that has just as much to say.  If not more. And if the image of people from all corners of society and culture coming together under a massive disco ball to dance to music blasted through the speakers any which way you want is not Utopia, we don’t know what is.

Just gone 3:30 on a Tuesday? Feeling a bit self conscious? Sure, but why wait until the christmas party? eff it, let's dance, Jeff! THERE IS A MASSIVE DISCO BALL! 

Just gone 3:30 on a Tuesday? Feeling a bit self conscious? Sure, but why wait until the christmas party? eff it, let's dance, Jeff! THERE IS A MASSIVE DISCO BALL! 

Though our aim here at Baz is to bring something new to you, exciting and experimental – we are mainly seeking to show you the importance of the things we take for granted – bumping into someone into the street and apologizing, for example – dialogue and movement. Means next to nothing on a rainy day in May, but put it on stage it changes – lead them out of the theatre and have them watch it, choreographed on that rainy May day in the street, it changes yet again. Like Music, like dance, like art and like theatre, that division between artist and audience is always blurred. That’s why you might find Baz cast members doing anything from sitting on an audience member’s lap, or pulling them into the performance space to laugh derisively at someone else. Community. Inclusion. What we could do with right now.

We’ve all danced like loons in the club, right (Baz had the distinct pleasure in trying to replicate Christine and the Queens moves in a sweaty bar off Soho at Pride 2016 a few weekends ago) And we’ll never dance like these amazing so-and-sos that make up  the companies like the Michael Clark Company and DV8 who can recreate that free, sweaty and stuffy experience with style and realism, like actors onstage - the real experience, replicated. Like a good photograph, like a classic painting, like good writing, dance is vital and dancers capture that moment too, in the purest way. Plus those dancers move it most probably better than Baz can ever do and with a lot more style.

But as Christine says. Awkward, but with style.


We heart you, dance.


Happy dancing days!


Love, Baz x