Al Bowlly's Croon Manifesto

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th Aug 2011


“this production is driven throughout by live music, and has at its heart the basic human desires for intimacy and song.”





Untied Artists


The 1930’s…while stock markets crashed, war loomed, and the world moved faster than ever before, Al Bowlly was redefining singing into the tender, expressive style that paved the way for pop. An inspiration to generations of singers and artists, his songs have featured in the cult films Amelie, The Shining and Dennis Potter’s seminal Pennies From Heaven.

Al Bowlly’s Croon Manifesto is produced by Untied Artists, a Birmingham based company run by Jo Carr and Jake Oldershaw. Their previous production Intimate History toured to much acclaim internationally after being showcased by The British Council in Edinburgh in 2007. As with Intimate History this production is driven throughout by live music, and has at its heart the basic human desires for intimacy and song. This time the music is arranged and performed by the audaciously talented ‘Gramophone Party’, otherwise known as JC Grimshaw, Angelina Grimshaw and Richard White. Co-directed & scripted by Peter Cann (Pentabus, Welsh National Opera, Teatro Regional Da Serra Do Montemuro) and devised, performed and co-written by Jake Oldershaw who features as Bowlly (associate artist Stan’s Cafe). Nick Tigg (Slot Machine, The People Show) performs alongside Jake as many of Al’s colleagues, cohorts and critics.

This stylish show tears up the bio-play format and reinvents Bowlly’s story in a way that’s fast paced, funny, and as liberal with the truth as Bowlly himself was. With 2011 marking the 70th anniversary of his death we celebrate the life and music of the man many regard as Britain’s first pop star. Charting his rollercoaster career, turbulent love life and untimely death this story could be the blueprint for many latter day stars. Featuring live music, real time film and audience interaction, the piece focuses on how new technologies dramatically change the cultural landscape and examines the genesis of what we have come to know as pop-stardom.

Prior to and during their Edinburgh run Untied Artists are looking for local social dancers of lindy hop, ballroom and swing dance to feature in a couple of scenes with the cast (contact Jo or Jake via the website). Then after the show everyone is invited to stay on, have a drink and listen to the fabulous company band The Gramophone Party and take to the floor for more dancing.

Al Bowlly’s Croon Manifesto has been co-commissioned by MAC, Warwick Arts Centre, The Lichfield Festival & China Plate.

Admission: £10

The Bongo Club

City map


Version 0.3.7a