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|Joseph Atkins||piano / musical director|
David Constantine and Tom Kuhn have, for the first time, translated and edited the complete poems of Bertolt Brecht, the greatest German playwright of the 20th century, whose works include The Threepenny Opera, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and Mother Courage.
In this stunning live performance, David and Tom are joined by actor Janet Suzman, singer Sarah Gabriel and pianist Joseph Atkins, as they breathe life into the work of an artist whose unquenchable ‘love of life, the desire for better and more of it’ permeated all he wrote.
David Constantine worked for thirty years as a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry, most recently, Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet. David’s four short story collections are Back at the Spike, Under the Dam (Comma, 2005), The Shieling (Comma, 2009), which was shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Tea at the Midland (Comma 2012) which won the BBC National Short Story Award 2010. The collection as a whole won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award in 2013.
Tom Kuhn teaches German at the University of Oxford. He is the general editor of the main English-language edition of Brecht’s work.
Janet Suzman DBE was Shen Te/Shui Ta in an acclaimed production of Good Woman of Sechuan at The Royal Court in the 70’s, and then directed her own version of the play, re-named The Good Person of Sharkeville, at The Market Theatre Johannesburg as it is about survival in extreme urban poverty. She is presently directing Athol Fugard’s A Lesson from Aloes at The Finborough Theatre. She will be reading some of the poems, happy to re-acquaint herself with BB after such an interval.
Soprano Sarah Gabriel has given recitals of music spanning 300 years at the Wigmore Hall, Glyndebourne, Dartington and Cheltenham International Festivals and has broadcast for BBC2, BBC Radio 3 and 4, NPR (USA), RTÉ, France Musique, and Radio France. As a soloist with orchestra, she has performed the major oratorio repertoire, world premieres, operetta, musical theatre, and concert arias with ensembles including London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, English Chamber Orchestra at venues including the Southbank Centre, Kings Place London, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Lowry Salford and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
Joseph Atkins is a musical director, composer and arranger. Joseph’s recent credits include the Olivier-nominated Josephine and I (Bush Theatre, London and Public Theater, New York), Not Such Quiet Girls (Opera North and Leeds Playhouse co-production) All I Want is One Night (Manchester Royal Exchange, Wilton’s Music Hall, and 59E59 Theaters New York), Pat Kirkwood is Angry and The Girl I Left Behind Me (59E59 Theaters), Liza Pulman Sings Streisand (The Lyric, Shaftesbury Avene and UK tour) and Berlin Kabaret (Old Fire Station, Oxford and Brighton Fringe). He is composer of song cycles, Carnation for a Song and Sing Before You Speak Again (Young Vic, London) and is co-developing a new musical for the National Theatre Studio. He is a visiting music practitioner for the Globe Theatre’s Higher Education faculty. Joseph trained at New College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music.
Sue Parrish is artistic director and producer at the Sphinx Theatre Company. Trained as a ballet dancer, Sue has always involved music in her productions. She has thirty years’ experience of making theatre with text, working with Classics and New Writing and creating large-scale events with dance and music. Her most recent production is the award-winning A Berlin Kabaret at the Brighton Fringe Festival.