History - Blah Blah Blahs Theatre Company
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History

ARTISTIC – A FEW MILESTONES 

1985 – The first Blah show, Battlefield – inspired by Jeff Nuttall’s book Bomb Culture and a very large record collection. Youth workers liked it and we did a youth centre tour.  

 

1987 – The House That Jack Built, the first of 11 shows that playwright Mike Kenny (included on list of top ten living playwrights in the Independent on Sunday 2003) has written for the Blahs. 

 

1991 – A Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare adapted for a primary school audience and our first piece of participatory theatre merging the play and workshop. 

 

1996 – Stuck by Mike Kenny, the story of the Siamese twins Chang and Eng – short listed for Writer’s Guild Best Children’s Play. 

 

1998 – Angel, a production of Mark Catley’s first play which set him up as a playwright. 

 

2002 – Five week residency in a primary school in India where we created our first programme of professional development for teachers. 

 

2000 – 2010  Silas Marner, a participatory theatre programme commissioned by Richmond Hill Primary Learning Network initially for a three year project but that just kept on going. 

 

2005 – Dick Downing introduced the Blahs to the concept of the Mutual Learning Triangle describing a learning exchange between artist, teacher and pupil. 

 

2006 – Raft of the Medusa was the first participatory show to be produced through the Company of Teachers project in Rotherham. 

 

2009 – When the Wind Changed, first show produced by the Blahs for Early Years children. 

 

2010 – Stuck gets its second production after fourteen years. Directed by Ruth Cooper for a national tour in the Blahs twenty fifth year. 

 

2014 – Founder member Anthony Haddon leaves the Blahs.  Deborah Pakkar-Hull takes over as Artistic Director 

 

2015 – Bill Nighy joins the Blahs as its new Patron and a photographic exhibition celebrating the Blahs’ 30th anniversary is displayed at Leeds Town Hall 

 

2015 – Inspiring Curiosity, celebrating 50 years of Theatre in Education is held at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.  The Blahs are represented on a panel and deliver two workshops. 

 

2016 – The Blah are selected to participate in two high profile Continuing Professional Development and Learning projects with teachers – CapeUK’s Specialist Learners in Creative Education and RSA’s Performing Pedagogy – providing opportunities to consolidate expertise in this area 

 

2017 – The Blahs work in partnership with Chapel FM to engage a group of young people from the community to write and broadcast the original radio play ‘Sansaar’ 

 

2018 – The Vultures Song tours to schools, community and theatre venues marking a shift towards engaging young audiences across sectors.  The performance also includes access to online interactive digital resources and involves an international partnership with Delhi based Yellowcat.  The Vultures Song is written by Mike Kenny, his first new play for the Blahs in several years. 

 

Collaborations which have made an impact on the Blahs work

The Gallery and Studio Theatre at Leeds Met, Connecting Youth Culture in North Yorkshire, Richmond Hill Primary Learning Network, West Yorkshire Playhouse Schools Company, BDR Creative Partnerships in Rotherham.

 

Mentors who have made an impact on the Blahs work

Mike Kenny, playwright; Eileen Pennington, drama specialist and long term collaborator with Dorothy Heathcote; Sue Morrison, clown through mask teacher; Guy Dartnell, theatre maker and mentor; John Holt, consultant; Mick Connell, School Improvement Adviser English, Drama and the Arts.

 

Structure and Funding

1985 – 1993 the Blahs operated as a partnership.
1994present, the company became a company limited by guarantee (No 2909605) with charitable status (No 1039935) and appointed a Board of Directors.

 

We are an Arts Council of England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and we are part of Leeds City Council’s arts@leeds portfolio.