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Stephen Portlock

Posts by Stephen Portlock

Black and white photo of actors Chris Campion and Steve George jamming with Extant CEO Maria Oshodi at BIT Fest in Zagreb

Development of the Ghost: Extant turns 20

Having just celebrated their 20th anniversary of producing innovative theatre, Extant, the UK’s leading company of visually impaired, professional theatre makers are set to further develop their programs for emerging visually impaired theatre-makers. Stephen Portlock spoke to Extant’s Artistic Director and CEO Maria Oshodi and actor-musician turned writer, Chris Campion. Extant ...

Tom Skelton, Blind Man's Bluff

Tom Skelton, Blind Man’s Bluff

Stephen Portlock was at Slam, in London’s King’s Cross on 25 July to enjoy a preview of Tom Skelton’s Edinburgh stand-up show Blind Man’s Bluff, before it lands at the Fringe, plus support from Douglas Walker. He may not have realised it but the talented comic performer Tom Skelton came of ...

A Disability Theatre Workshop event: Should disability arts die?

In a recent debate organised by Kate Lovell, Agent for Change at Theatre Royal, Stratford East, Penny Pepper fought for the notion of disability arts, whilst Simon Startin played devil’s advocate, suggesting that disability arts must die… Review by Stephen Portlock Given that almost all of the twenty or so attendees ...

photo of sitar player Baluji Shrivastrav standing on a zebra crossing

Arc Music launch: The Best of Baluji Shrivastav

RichMix in East London recently paid host to sitar maestro Baluji Shrivastrav launching a compilation album celebrating an extraordinary musical career. Accompanied by Sanju Sahai on tablas, the musicians played a night of mesmerising Indian ragas. Review by Stephen Portlock “A blind person asked God what could be worse than being ...

Film still from 'A Normal Life'.

Together! 2016 Disability Film Festival: A Normal Life

The Together! 2016 Disability History Month Festival in Newham featured a film festival as part of a four-week programme of disability arts. The showing of A Normal Life (2016) by US filmmaker Alex Herz on 10 December was the film’s UK premiere, falling on World Human Rights Day. Review by ...

Chris McCausland ‘Jesus Was Married And Look How It Turned Out For Him’

Chris McCausland has been performing his unique brand of observational humour across UK’s live comedy circuit since 2003. Stephen Portlock caught his recent show during a recent run at the Soho Theatre, London. At the end of Chris McCausland’s latest, typically excellent offering I found myself perplexed by the comments of ...

photo of Baluji Shrivastav, holding a sitar

Unlimited: Baluji Shrivastrav and Takashi Kikuchi

Gifted musicians Baluji Shrivastav and Takashi Kikuchi’s free lunchtime concert on Friday 9 September as part of Unlimited Festival at the Southbank Centre was a real treat. Stephen Portlock is familiar with the work of these virtuoso musicians, but their performance far exceeded his expectations. After my interview with Baluji I ...

photo of Baluji Shrivastav, holding a sitar

Baluji Shrivastav: Indian Music Maestro

Indian Music Maestro, Baluji Shrivastav received an OBE for his Services to the Music Industry in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list earlier this summer. The honour came in recognition of his work as a musician, instrumentalist and founder of the Inner Vision Orchestra – the UK’s only orchestra of ...

FIlm still from Notes on Blindness depicting the protagonist standing silhouetted outside a cave

‘Notes on Blindness’

Notes on Blindness is a feature film which tells the real-life story of writer and theologian John Hull, who recorded the experience of gradually losing his sight on audio cassettes. In the film, actors lip-synch to the voices of the family, embedding Hull's original audio recordings within cinematography and textured sound design. Stephen ...

a woman and a bus driver, both carrying white canes entertain a group of people aboard a double decker bus

Extant: ‘ComBUStion’ at Liberty 2015

The team at Extant are in playful mood with their latest project ComBUStion which premiered as a work-in-progress at London’s Liberty festival. Review by Stephen Portlock. Without that use of block capitals this might well have been a reminder that the ever inventive company have never shirked from darker themes in ...

black and white photo of a woman grappling with webbing in the dark

Extant Theatre: ‘Flatland’

Flatland takes place in an immersive, pitch-black world of sensation and sound built within a disused church in Southwark Park. Collaborators from the fields of robotics, sound design and the arts have worked with Extant’s visually impaired team and researchers from Open University’s Pervasive Media Lab to create a unique ...

a stylish portrait painting of a woman in 1930s clothes

Tate Britain Audio-Described Tour: ‘Femme Fatale’

The Tate Britain run an ongoing series of free BSL-interpreted and audio-described tours of work in their collections. DAO sent Stephen Portlock to review an audio-described talk on Monday 19th January by Auntie Maureen, exploring artworks in the collection in terms of the archetype of the 'Femme Fatale'. I was slightly ...

portrait of the 16th century artist in stylish dress

InTouch at the RA: an audio-described tour of the Giovanni Battista Moroni exhibition

Stephen Portlock relays his experience of an audio-described tour of the Giovanni Battista Moroni exhibition, at the Royal Academy, London - one in a programme of ongoing accessible events at the gallery, designed to draw an audience of disabled visitors and disabled artists. As far as I can recall, this was ...