The Tin Drum
Bristol Old Vic; Truro’s Hall for Cornwall and Shoreditch Town Hall in November
Gunther Grass’s classic postwar novel gets the musical treatment from Kneehigh theatre company. Three year old Oscar (portrayed here by a puppet) refuses to grow and communicates only by beating his drum as a protest against the turmoil in his family life and his home city of Danzig. Charles Hazlewood’s innovative score combines electronica with songs reminiscent of pre-war German cabaret.
We Are the Lions
On tour throughout Britain in November
This play recreates the landmark Grunwick strike of 1976-78 with its inspirational leader Jayaben Desai. The strike by mainly Asian women changed the shape of British trade unionism. The cast of two actors play multiple roles incorporating song, poetry, movement and dance. Townsend Productions, previous plays include Dare Devil Rides To Jarama about the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War.
The writer and poet’s first album in a decade fuses heavy dub rhythms with conscious lyrics and vocal dexterity. Revolutionary Minds looks at the world we live in today and includes tracks with titles such as “I Am a Revolutionary” and “What Stephen Lawrence has Taught US”. As Benjamin says, “It will make you feel empowered, hopeful, galvanised to make a difference and make you dance; it’s a dub thing”.
Mining Art Gallery
This new gallery provides a permanent home to a unique collection of paintings by Durham miners, including more than 400 works by artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish. As well as preserving this heritage, the gallery also explores the history of mining and the impact the industry had on its workers and communities.
Ten Days that Shook the World
BBC iPlayer Radio, available until 12 November
Amid the BBC’s sporadic season of repudiations of the Russian Revolution someone has managed to smuggle this exciting dramatisation of John Reed’s classic account onto Radio 4. Reed and Louise Bryant went to Russia to cover the Revolution for the US press. Ten 15-minute episodes plunge the listener into debates with workers and soldiers where we sense the movement of the masses and we meet many of the key participants. It makes for a thrilling primer and, most importantly, it’s on our side.