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Ida Barr's Great War Music Hall

Ida Barr's Great War Music Hall

When: Tue 30 Sep 2014, 18.30-20.00

Where: Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5

Book now for 30 Sep 2014

The British Music Hall was at its height as World War One dawned. It's been unfairly maligned as agent of blind patriotism in the history books. This event redresses the balance, with both academic an insight into a more balanced view of the halls, and a recreation of some of the great songs of the period.

Your host is music hall star turned hip-hop artiste Ida Barr. The creation of former British Library Artist in Residence Christopher Green, Ida will have you singing along, feeling sentimental and, above all, thinking about the period as you never have before. You will hear the world premieres of her new songs, mashing up songs from 1914-1918 with contemporary beats. Ida's guests include performer, writer and acclaimed historian of the Music Hall, Michael Kilgarriff will talk on the fascinating history of the Music Hall in World War 1; Jessica Walker presents the art of the male impersonator recreating the work of Vesta Tilley, and the ever delightful Paddy Glynn, will lead us in a WW1 sing-along.

Paddy Glynn hails from Tinahely in Co. Wicklow. She began her career at the London Palladium, and has appeared in Music Hall from Greenwich to St Louis, USA.  As an actress, Paddy was seen this year in Derek and Holby City, and at the Bookshop heatre as Geula in the award-winning Tierra del Fuego, based on the Arab/Israeli conflict.

Michael Kilgarriff is an actor who has appeared in everything from Doctor Who to The Dark Crystal.  He is a music hall enthusiast who wrote the definitive guide to music hall songs: Sing Us One of the Old Songs: A Guide to Popular Song 1860-1920. This work lists thousands of influential songs by singer, lyricist and composer. He also wrote the wonderful compendium of variety turns Grace, Beauty & Banjos.

Jessica Walker studied at the Guildhall School of Music and has made appearances for Opera North, Flanders Opera, The Mahogany Opera Group, Ravenna Festival, Glyndebourne, National Reisopera, Opera Up Close, NI Opera and Finnish National Opera. In 2010 she co-created her solo show The Girl I Left Behind Me with director Neil Bartlett. Commissioned by and premiered at Opera North, the show has had considerable critical and commercial success throughout the UK and abroad. It has been published as a play script by Oberon Press and released as a CD on Original Cast Recordings.

Jessica Wlaker – © Fotophilia

Ida Barr is a rapping pensioner who, instead of morosely looking back on her glory days as a music hall singer, is embracing a style of music called Artificial Hip Hop. Ida is based on a real English music hall star and on mountains of research. She has wowed audiences with her show including Artificial Hip Hop, Get Old or Die Trying, and Last Christmas (Possibly), and had her own Radio 4 series.

Christopher Green is an award-winning performer and writer with a long interest in the British music hall tradition. He is perhaps best known for his comedy characters Tina C, Ida Barr and Jedd O’Sullivan. His current projects include: The Frozen Scream, co-written with novelist Sarah Waters in her first theatrical venture and starring Rula Lenska;The Singing Hypnotist (“reinventing stage hypnotism for the modern age” BBC Radio 4) in which he combines his skills as clinical hypnotherapist with stage hypnotist into a feel-good, musical presentation; and 52 Fridays, where he posts a new song to YouTube every Friday. Christopher continues to make comedy and drama pieces regularly for BBC Radio 4.