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Strawberry Field partners with Liverpool's Song for Kindness, launched in memory of John Lennon

WHEN 1 thinks of Strawberry Field, John Lennon or The Beatles, it is music that comes to mind. For many that is what they also 1st associate with The Salvation Army. The team at Strawberry Field are therefore delighted to join a unique collaboration in the search for the next international:- 'Song for Kindness,' alongside of global charity tuffearth, Liverpool City Council, The Cavern Club and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).

Lennon fans will know that 1 of the 1st things that attracted the young John to the gardens at Strawberry Field was the opportunity to listen to a Salvation Army band playing at the home's annual summer fete. Years later, John went on to write:- 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' having been so inspired by the place he called:- 'paradise.'

Music has always been an important part of the life and work of The Salvation Army and its many centres and churches around the world. In the 1960's, John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles would leave studios at Abbey Road just the night before a group of Salvation Army musicians, The Joystrings, would arrive to record a session of their own. The trailblazing Sixties chart pop group were the 1st to take the good news of the Christian message into the charts and gave all its royalties to help people in need. Notably, their song:- 'It's An Open Secret' reached Number 34, in the charts, in March 1964, at the same time, as The Beatles themselves were at number 7 with:- 'Can't Buy Me Love.'

Lt Colonel Peter Dalziel, 1 of the original members of the Joystrings, recalls the occasion of quite literally following in the footsteps of the Fab 4:- "The Beatles had left the Abbey Road studios the previous night and when we went into the same studio the following morning, we spent some time tidying things up! Although the Joystrings only existed for 5 years their influence is still being felt 57 years later. In fact Joy Webb's song 'Starry Night' which the Joystrings took into the charts in 1964 remains a firm favourite with churches and Schools around the world and even, latterly, Derek Johnson's Disney vocal choir. It's a great idea to launch a song competition and we look forward to seeing the results."

The team at Strawberry Field are delighted to be involved as partners in this search. Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director of Strawberry Field says:- "A lot has changed since those days but music making and, we hope, kindness are still at the heart of what we do and who we are as a Salvation Army. I would therefore encourage, no stronger than that, challenge all the gifted and inspirational singer songwriters across the world to have a go. Enter the Liverpool Song for Kindness competition. Write a song birthed out of the heartache and hope you have experienced during this time of Covid19, with words and music that will inspire and cause others to renew their faith in human kindness and the promise of better things to come."

The Liverpool Song for Kindness (LSK) song contest was launched in memory of John Lennon, in what would've been his 80th year. In response to the dark times the world has been facing, the aim of the song contest is to raise spirits; whilst offering musicians an exciting opportunity to gain international exposure and a fantastic prize for the winner. Following the example of John Lennon's Imagine, the song contest is searching for a song of hope and optimism.

Any genre will be considered for entry to the Liverpool Song for Kindness, however the song must be an original piece of work submitted by the songwriter and performed by the songwriter or a nominated artist. To enter the competition, songwriters and musicians can submit their track (video or audio), song name, writer, performer, lyrics and where they are based via the competition's online portal.

The closing date for entries is 31 July 2021; the 50 year Anniversary of the recording of John Lennon's Imagine; and the Top 50 entrants, as selected by the competition judges, will be announced on 14 August 2021.

For more information, visit Strawberry Field:- StrawberryFieldLiverpool.Com.

1 Man Comedy by Jonathan Harvey to go on Northern Tour in July
Photograph by:- Alan Williams...

FOLLOWING its critically acclaimed sell out premiere, at Liverpool Theatre Festival, in September, Swan Song, a revised comedy by acclaimed playwright Jonathan Harvey, is heading out on a northern tour in July 2021, following its rescheduled February dates due to lockdown. Swan Song, a 1 man play starring Andrew Lancel, is directed by BAFTA award winning Director Noreen Kershaw and produced by Bill Elms.

The play will open at Liverpool's Unity Theatre for 6 performances over 3 nights, this will be the 1st live performances at the theatre since closing in March 2020. The show then moves on to reopen the Little Theatre, in Southport, Dukes Theatre in Lancaster, and City Varieties in Leeds. All venues will adhere to the current restrictions set out by the Government and will have all necessary procedures in play to create a safe environment to watch the show.

Swan Song was 1st staged, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in 1997, before transferring to Hampstead Theatre with award-winning comedy actress Rebecca Front in the lead role. Jonathan Harvey adapted the 70 minute play specially for Andrew Lancel at Liverpool Theatre Festival to play the solo role of Dave Titswell. Due to critical acclaim, the play will now perform at venues across the UK.

Producer and the artistic director of Liverpool Theatre Festival, Bill Elms said:- "Swan Song is a funny, clever and inspiring production which opened the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival. Andrew Lancel, Jonathan Harvey, and Noreen Kershaw are an incredible blend of creative talent, and the play went down a storm in Liverpool. It is such a lovely piece that I approached Andrew and the team with the idea of touring. People are excited for the return of live theatre; and we're excited to give them that experience back after such a long time with a really special production."

Swan Song is a bittersweet comedy written by Jonathan Harvey. Set in Liverpool, it is Christmas 1997, the world is changing and in the staff room, Gay, 40 something, English teacher Dave Titswell finds that not all change is welcome. He has a crush, but life, love, and work are never straight forward for Dave. Will a School trip to The Lakes change things for the better, or make things decidedly worse? Swan Song will make audiences laugh, but equally pull at the heartstrings.

Andrew Lancel is no stranger to audiences. Well established on the national theatre scene, Andrew is also widely known for his television roles as DI Neil Manson in The Bill and super villain Frank Foster in Coronation Street. He was 3 times nominated for a national tv award and won a British Soap Award in 2012 for Coronation Street. He has twice played Beatles' manager Brian Epstein on stage to great critical acclaim, 1st in Epstein; The Man Who Made The Beatles (also produced by Bill Elms) which premiered in Liverpool and went on to play London's West End, as well as playing Epstein in the national tour of Cilla The Musical, Bill Kenwright's stage adaptation of the TV series written by Jeff Pope. He recently appeared in the Royal Variety Show and Casualty for BBC and has just commenced filming The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe for ITV.

Andrew Lancel commented:- "I'm thrilled to be finally taking this wonderful play and role on the role and to returning to my beloved Unity where I am a proud patron. The other venues also have special memories and it's humbling that Jonathan adopted this moving and funny piece for me. I think people really relate to Dave Titswell; it's very relevant to today. To be reunited with Noreen and Bill too is a joy. It's a gift of a role and job."

Award winning Jonathan Harvey's credits include:- Gimme, Gimme, Gimme; Murder Most Horrid; Coronation Street; Call The Midwife; and Tracey Ullman's Show. His plays include:- Beautiful Thing, Corrie, Canary, Hushabye Mountain, Babies, Boom Bang A Bang' and Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. He also wrote the 2001 stage musical Closer to Heaven with the Pet Shop Boys and its sequel Muzik. He has won the John Whiting Award, the George Devine Award, 2 Manchester Evening News Awards, an Evening Standard Award, 2 British Soap Awards and a Writers Guild of Great Britain Award.

Jonathan added:- "Swan Song is a comedy about a teacher who's trying to hold onto his dignity while the education system crumbles around him, and I'm thrilled Andrew is playing Dave. I'm delighted to also be working with Noreen again, she directed many of my Corrie scripts and my last episode of Call The Midwife. As the original Shirley Valentine, Noreen definitely knows a thing or two about one person shows."

Noreen Kershaw's directing credits include:- Our Girl, Moving On, Scott and Bailey, Emmerdale, Shameless, Heartbeat and Coronation Street. She is also known for acting in Life On Mars, Brookside, and Watching. Noreen also originated the title role of Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine, at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre.

In our area the show will be on stage at the following venues:-


Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG
Thursday, 1 July to Saturday, 3 July 2021
Performance times:- 5pm / 7.45pm
Show duration:- 70 minutes (no interval)
How to book:- UnityTheatreLiverpool.Co.UK.


Hoghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PA
Monday, 5 July 2021
Performance times:- 7.30pm
Show duration:- 70 minutes (no interval)
How to book:- LittleTheatreSouthport.Co.UK

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