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Front Row

Live magazine programme on the worlds of arts, literature, film, media and music.

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Edinburgh Festival: Burn, Counting & Cracking, Aftersun, Festival picks

Live from Edinburgh, with a review of Alan Cumming's one man show, Burn, which sets out to update the biscuit-tin image of Robert Burns. Plus Counting & Cracking - the epic, multilingual life journey of four generations, from Sri Lanka to Australia. To review the Edinburgh International Festival performances, Kate Molleson is joined by Arusa Qureshi, writer and editor of Fest Magazine, and Alan Bissett, playwright, novelist and performer.Plus we speak to Scottish film director Charlotte Wells about her critically acclaimed new film Aftersun, as she returns to her home town to open this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.Presenter: Kate MollesonProducer: Emma WallacePhoto: Burn - Alan Cumming; picture credit - Gian Andrea di Stefano

42mins

11 Aug 2022

Rank #1

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Immy Humes and Aindrea Emelife, Charlotte Higgins and David Greig, Stefan Golaszewski

Both journalist Charlotte Higgins and playwright David Greig are fascinated by the Roman occupation of Britain. Higgins’s book Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, an account of her travels to the Roman remains scattered about Britain, is really about how we today relate to Roman Britain. It seems an unlikely subject for a play but Greig has adapted it for the stage and they both talk to Samira Ahmed about the project. Did the Romans bring civilisation to these islands? Were they violent imperialists? Did British history really begin once they had left? And what of the society that was here already when the Romans arrived?Front Row celebrates the life of author and illustrator Raymond Briggs who has died aged 88. He became famous for his books The Snowman, Father Christmas, Fungus The Bogeyman and his parable of nuclear war When The Wind Blows – all of which were also made into films or TV programmes.American documentary maker Immy Humes has spent the last five years mining the archives for photographs of lone women in majority male environments, from 1862 to the present day, for her book The Only Woman. And British art historian Aindrea Emelife has also been mining the archives, searching for images of black women from 1793 to the present, for her exhibition Black Venus at the Fotografiska Gallery in New York. They join Samira to discuss issues of visibility, tokenism and the female gaze in visual culture, past and present.BAFTA-winning writer and director Stefan Golaszewski talks to Samira about his upcoming BBC One Drama, Marriage, starring Sean Bean and Nicola Walker as a couple navigating the ups and downs of a 30-year relationship.Presenter: Samira AhmedProducer: Julian MayImage: Shirley Chisholm, Politician, New York, New York, USA, 1972. Credit: Getty Images / Bettmann/ Phaidon

42mins

10 Aug 2022

Rank #2

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Live from the Edinburgh Festival: Matt Forde, Anne Sofie von Otter, Exodus

Kate Molleson and guests live from Edinburgh Festival. Comedian and impressionist Matt Forde talks about capturing the essence of political figures in his show Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right.Mezzo Soprano Anne Sofie von Otter performs songs by Rufus Wainwright and Franz Schubert on the eve of her Edinburgh International Festival concert.Playwright Uma Nada-Rajah on her topical new farce for the National Theatre of Scotland. Exodus is about the race for political leadership and immigration policy. International festival director Fergus Linehan and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Shona McCarthy swap notes on innovation, survival and legacy for one of the world's biggest arts festivals. Presenter: Kate MollesonProducer: Nicki PaxmanPhoto: the cast of Exodus. Picture credit: Brian Hartley

42mins

9 Aug 2022

Rank #3

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Jordan Peele on Nope, trombonist Peter Moore, Where Is Anne Frank film review, Edinburgh Art Festival

Nope is the latest film from Oscar-winning writer-director Jordan Peele, whose breakthrough was the critically acclaimed 2017 horror Get Out. Tom Sutcliffe speaks to Jordan about reinventing genre- from black horror to sci-fi-western- and examining the exploitation of black talent in Hollywood's history.When the trombonist Peter Moore plays at the Proms next Tuesday it will be the first time that the trombone has featured as a solo instrument at the Proms in twenty years. The former Young Musician of the Year and now Professor of Trombone at the Guildhall School of Music performs live in the studio.Ari Folman, director of the Oscar-nominated film Waltz with Bashir, has a new animated movie coming out this month. Where Is Anne Frank is based on the diary written by Jewish teenager Anne Frank, while she and her family lived in hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam during World War Two. Film critic Tara Judah joins Tom to review the film for Front Row.Jan Patience, visual art columnist for the Sunday Post, has been taking in this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival. With over 100 artists presenting their work and 35 exhibitions, it’s been no small task. She tells Tom about the highlights including the work of Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako, a centenary celebration of the Scottish artist Alan Davie, and Matisse’s Jazz series as it's never been seen before. Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer: Jerome WeatheraldImage: Daniel Kaluuya as OJ in the film Nope Credit: Universal Studios

42mins

8 Aug 2022

Rank #4

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Bullet Train & Mohsin Hamid's The Last White Man reviewed, conductor Semyon Bychkov

Tom Sutcliffe and guest reviewers Bidisha and Amon Warmann discuss Bullet Train, starring Brad Pitt. It's a vivid mixture of comedy and violence from director David Leitch, and is based on a thriller by Japanese author, Kōtarō Isaka. We also discuss Mohsin Hamid's latest novel, The Last White Man - a fable about what happens when white people's skin begins to turn brown. Conductor Semyon Bychkov conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms in a programme of a programme of Czech and Russian music. He left the USSR for the USA in 1975 and is currently Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic. He talks music and politics too - he's spoken out and taken part in protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but has also criticised the dropping of Russian works from concerts around the world. Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer: Paul Waters

42mins

4 Aug 2022

Rank #5

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The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Ted Gioia on Duke Ellington, musician Carolina Eyck performs

Huw Stephens reports from the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Tregaron, Ceredigion, talking to Archdruid Myrddin ap Dafydd, winner of this year’s Novel Prize Meinir Pierce Jones, and folk singer Owen Shiers. In 1965 the jury recommended that the Pulitzer Prize for Music should be awarded to the jazz composer and band-leader Duke Ellington. But he did not receive the honour. The music historian Ted Gioia has started a petition calling for him to receive it posthumously now. Carolina Eyck brings the eight seasons of Lapland’s Sami people to the Proms, courtesy of a concerto written for her and her instrument - the theremin. She talks to Shahidha about the joy of playing a musical instrument that has fascinated audiences since its creation just over a century ago and that she plays with just the movement of her hands in the air.Presenter: Shahidha BariProducer: Julian MayImage: The National Eisteddfod of Wales Photographer credit: Alun Gaffey

42mins

4 Aug 2022

Rank #6

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Disabled-access ticket booking, Writer Will Ashon, Artists Jane Darke and Andrew Tebbs

Disabled-access ticket booking – for concerts, comedy clubs, theatre, festivals, and more. Carolyn Atkinson reports on problems with new initiatives to make access to the arts much easier for disabled people: the big delays to the National Arts Access Card, and inconsistencies in purchasing ‘companion’ tickets.Will Ashon is a novelist and non-fiction writer whose latest book, The Passengers, is a compilation of voices he recorded with 180 people he came across through chance and random methods – voices who share their hopes, fears and experiences that shaped their lives. Will tells Tom Sutcliffe what the combination of thoughts and tales say about Britain today. Artists Jane Darke and Andrew Tebbs were inspired by the Marianne North Gallery at Kew - in which the walls are covered with North’s natural history paintings made on her travels around the world. They created something similar, looking at the plants insects and animals of a single small parish in Cornwall, St Eval, where Jane lives. The 100 paintings have been exhibited since June at Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s new state-of-the-art archive centre in Redruth, and today the artists begin a residency there - with workshops, walks, talks, and films. Jane Darke, Andrew Tebbs and Chloe Phillips, of Kresen Kernow, explain this ambitious project.Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer: Harry Parker

42mins

2 Aug 2022

Rank #7

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Beyoncé's album Renaissance, poet Don Paterson, the New Diorama Theatre, Free-for-All exhibition, Nichelle Nichols remembered

Beyoncé's Renaissance: we discuss Beyoncé's house and disco inspired new album – her first solo material in six years - and her huge significance as an artist and cultural icon. Nick is joined by Jacqueline Springer – curator, music journalist and lecturer- and by the writer and editor Tara Joshi.The Arctic is Don Paterson’s new collection of poems. The title refers not to the polar region but the third worst bar in Dundee, the resort of survivors of various apocalypses. Other poets are a presence, too, in Paterson’s poems ‘after’ Gabriela Mistral, Montale and Cavafy. Nick Ahad interviews Don Paterson about this poetic cornucopia.David Byrne is the artistic director and chief executive of London’s New Diorama, the Stage newspaper’s Fringe Theatre of the Year. He joins Nick to explain his decision to present no public programme for the rest of the year.Free-for-All is a programme that does what it says on the tin – all artworks on the walls of the Touchstones Gallery have been made by people from Rochdale. Artist Harry Meadley joins Nick to explain the concept.And we remember American actor Nichelle Nichols, best known for her role in Star Trek as Lieutenant Uhura, who has died aged 89.Presenter: Nick AhadProducer: Ekene AkalawuImage: Beyoncé

42mins

1 Aug 2022

Rank #8

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Hit the Road & Mercury Pictures Presents reviewed, Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, Bernard Cribbins remembered

Panah Panahi is the son of acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. Panah's film Hit the Road is a road movie with a difference as a family travel through Iran without acknowledging the real purpose of their trip. It's reviewed by Diane Roberts and Leila Latif. They've also been reading Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra, a novel set in wartime Hollywood where a new arrival is trying to escape her past.As the newly formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra prepares to perform at the BBC Proms on Sunday, Tom talks to conductor and founder Keri-Lynn Wilson and double-bass player Nazarii Stets, who has recently been allowed to leave Ukraine to join the orchestra’s world tour. And Matthew Sweet joins Front Row to mark the passing of Bernard Cribbins, the much-loved and admired actor and comedian famous for Jackanory, The Railway Children and Dr Who.Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer: Kirsty McQuire

42mins

28 Jul 2022

Rank #9

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Sister Act, Dramatising the Ugandan Asian exodus, David Olusoga

Sister Act the Musical is returning to the London stage, after two years of Covid delays and thirty years after the much loved Whoopi Goldberg film. Tom Sutcliffe met the stars of the new Hammersmith Apollo production, Beverley Knight who plays singer on the run Deloris and Jennifer Saunders who takes on the role of Mother Superior, to discuss mixing secular and sacred musical traditions with comedy and choreography. Curve Theatre, Leicester, has commissioned a series of plays called Finding Home to mark 50 years since the Ugandan Asian exodus initiated by the then President Idi Amin. Many of those who fled came to family and contacts in Leicester. Reporter Geeta Pendse talks to some of the writers and performers and visits Leicester Museum to hear the stories of what happened in August 1972. Story Trails is a new project that uses virtual reality to reveal hidden local histories in fifteen places across the UK. Film maker David Olusoga, who is the project’s creative director, explains how the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project will work.Presenter: Tom SutcliffeProducer: Emma WallacePicture: Sister Act - Beverley Knight as Deloris van Cartier and Jennifer Saunders as Mother Superior. Photographer Criedit: Manuel Harlan

42mins

27 Jul 2022

Rank #10