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Ubu! – a note from Charles Hazlewood, Music Director

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Read more on Ubu! – a note from Charles Hazlewood, Music Director from the Kneehigh Cookbook archive.

Featured image for Kneehigh's Ubu. Image features music director Charles Hazlewood standing in theatre amongst rows of red seats.

I have long dreamed of a show where the audience would truly fulfil their side of the contract; rather than simply sit in rapt gratitude/boredom/bafflement as it plays out in front of them, they could take their fulsome part in actually generating the action, and driving it forwards, through SONG!!! What’s not to like: at regular points throughout the action, in a rampant audience crooning out a love ballad (Close to You), a war inciter (War, What is it good for?), an exercise in self-aggrandisement (I am an Anti-Christ) or a vomit of vanity (I Did It My Way)?

A show with songs chosen specifically for maximum lung release, as well as for their function in driving the drama….and with an exquisite band giving the crowd all the uplift they need. This is our new show: it should be as satisfying as Massaoke, and eminently more useful.

We love to sing at the football. It helps the drama of the game! It certainly helps the team win, if our fans have the bigger vocal firepower. We love music festivals (even in a country with a lot of rain), and a big part of that is the mass singing along, this act of collective solidarity and love which generates a unity of joyous sound. It’s great cardiovascular exercise. But more than that, it’s about being part of the ultimate team, the ultimate democracy, where no one is more – or less – important than anyone else. It’s healthy, generous, ebullient and communal; I genuinely believe that if all parliaments had to sing together in harmony before commencing the day’s business, we’d have more flow, more consonance in our world.

I can but dream.

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