Anything Could Happen Next: A Celebration of People Show

Adults sat around a table wearing paper hats with a man pointing a theatre light at them

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A celebration of People Show – the UK’s first alternative theatre company.

This event takes place in the British Library.

Dating back to 1966, People Show are the first and longest running alternative theatre company in the UK. Known for numbering each of their productions, their first show was based around the performance of the then up-and-coming band Pink Floyd. People Show 1 didn’t come until shortly after. Their most recent was People Show 140.

People Show’s approach to theatre making remains uninhibited by traditional methods, taking inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Each of their shows is an expression of whatever and whoever arrives on day one of rehearsals and have resulted in performances taking place not only in theatres but also in fields, phone boxes, in the street, on water and even libraries.

People Show’s archive, housed here at the British Library, is packed with papers, documents, images, videos and more, mapping the collective’s incredible 55 year history.

Join us as we explore People Show’s archive and celebrate the work of one of the most ground-breaking theatre companies the United Kingdom has ever produced.

The event will begin with live music from the multi-instrumentalist and composer George Khan, who has been part of the British music scene since the mid '60s and a People Show member since 1967. Accompanying this will be a projected slide show of photographs from the People Show’s extensive archive, selected and mixed live by company member Sadie Cook, giving an insight into the breadth of imagery used in their productions over the last 56 years. This will be followed by a reading from original member, Mark Long’s People Show memoir, Nobody Knows but Everybody Remembers and a panel conversation featuring British Library curator, Eva del Rey and People Show members Mark Long, Mike Figgis, Fiona Creese, George Khan and Sadie Cook. The conversation, chaired by award-winning theatre artist and scholar, Anna Furse, will highlight some fascinating People Show collection items as we delve into the history of People Show and look forward in time into their future. The conversation will be followed by a Q&A, giving you the opportunity to put your questions to our line-up.

Mark Long was one of the founding members of the People Show. His book, Nobody Knows But Everybody Remembers is his account, experience and historical perspective of his time in the company.

Fiona Creese is a performer, writer and choreographer. As a core member of People Show she has co-created and performed in many productions. She has also led many educational projects at University of Roehampton, including award-winning short film The Last Day, Middlesex University and The Bush Theatre. As a member of The Kosh Fiona danced in shows including Falling Angels, Waving at the Tide and Twentieth Century Girls. Fiona is a co-artistic director of Slot Machine Theatre, who’s credits include: One Snowy Night, The Scooter Ballet Project, The Boy, the Piano and the Beach, and The Ukulele Evangelists.

George Khan first worked on People Show 3 as a musician, later joining the company in 1978. He is a pioneer of Free Jazz playing with The Bachelors, Ben E King and Arthur Brown. He also created the music for Richard Eyre’s tv show Passmore. In the 2010s George released P.S. With Love - an album of music created for People Show productions and Ah! - an album of recordings spanning 5 decades. He has featured in the majority of People Show productions in the 21st century.

Sadie Cook is an interdisciplinary artist & graphic designer who has worked with People Show since arriving on their Bethnal Green doorstep as a student in 1999, taking various roles from performance to technical, and more recently providing artwork and art direction for show posters. Sadie is currently exhibiting work in progress in a group exhibition at Glyndebourne with the Storybox Collective.

Eva del Rey has been Curator of Drama and Literature Recordings, at the British Library since 2010. She co-curated the Library’s exhibition 'Listen: 140 Years of Recorded Sound', which ran from October 2017 to May 2018. She manages the Library’s location recording programme, which documents theatre, performance and poetry readings. Eva started her career performing in alternative theatre and films in Barcelona, and holds a PhD in Social Anthropology.

Anna Furse is an award-winning theatre artist and Professor of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she directs her international laboratory Masters in Performance Making and curates the Performance Research Forum of artist interventions. After hosting Mark Long at the latter some years back, he invited her to write the Introduction to his significant memoir Nobody Knows But Everyone Remembers. Like scores of her generation of experimental creators, Anna rehearsed many a new production at the People Show base in Bethnal Green in the 1980s and 1990s, and holds fond and vivid memories of that fabulously evocative- and drafty- building, as well as being in the audience of some of the many People Shows in the long distant past.

Mike Figgis is a musician, curator and director based in London; and was a member of the People Show for 10 years. Early film credits include REDHEUGH (1980), Slow Fade (1982) and Animals of the City (1984). Feature film credits include Stormy Monday (1988) and Internal Affairs with Richard Gere (1989). He was nominated for 2 Oscars for Leaving Las Vegas (1994). In 2011 he curated the Just tell the truth festival at the Royal Opera House. 2019 saw Somebody UP there Likes Me, a documentary about Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood. Currently he is in post- production on MOTHER-TONGUE, a feature film set in Hong Kong.

This event is a part of our 2022 Theatre series.

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Name: Anything Could Happen Next: A Celebration of People Show
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £10.00
Member: £10.00
Student: £5.00
Registered Unemployed: £5.00
Senior (60+): £8.00
Young Person (18-25): £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546