The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Gendered Awards - The Brit Awards say they will review the way they distribute prizes, with one option being the abolition of separate male and female categories. But reports that gendered awards have already been axed are "based on rumour and speculation", organisers said. "We can 100% confirm that there will be male and female awards in the UK and international categories in February 2020," they told the BBC.
The statement was issued after a story in The Sunday Times at the weekend claimed organisers wanted to accommodate non-binary artists - who identify as neither male nor female - and that scrapping gender-specific categories was the likely outcome. The report came a week after pop star Sam Smith asked fans to call them by the pronouns "they/them", not "he/him". "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out," they wrote on Instagram.
Rumours of the Brit Awards shake-up prompted an outburst from Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who accused organisers of "wrecking" their reputation.
Live in Birmingham - Wizkid has been announced as the headline act for this year's BBC Radio 1Xtra Live music event. The Nigerian singer will join the likes of French Montana, Ms Banks, Aitch and DaniLeigh at Arena Birmingham on 5 October. Other acts performing at the event include Headie One, Miraa May, Stylo G, and Lil Tecca.
Joseph Returns - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is set to return to the London Palladium next year for a second summer run. The musical, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, was revived this year in the West End starring Jac Yarrow in the title role, Sheridan Smith and Jason Donovan. Last week, Yarrow won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award at The Stage Debut Awards for his performance in the show.
Theatre Funding - Theatres in Wigan, Leeds and Lancaster are among the cultural buildings that could benefit from millions of pounds of regeneration funding from the government, as part of a scheme aimed at revitalising England’s high streets. Overseen by Historic England, the £95m pot will be shared between 69 high streets and is intended to “breathe new life into historic buildings” in towns and cities across the country.
Focusing on empty and underused buildings, the funding will go towards turning them into creative spaces, shops, houses and community centres. Areas that have successfully bid include Wigan, which wants to use the money in part to restore the town’s Royal Court Theatre. The theatre was bought last year by a local arts organisation pledging to bring it back into use for the first time in 40 years and make it an epicentre of culture for the town.
Elsewhere, Leeds’ New Briggate area, home to Leeds Grand Theatre, has been successful in bidding for money - up to £1.3m - which will be match-funded by the council and will repair the historic buildings on the street and bring empty floor space back to use. The plans also include contributing to the £18m capital project at Opera North, which is based at the Leeds Grand.
Badge of Honour - Ed Sheeran has said he is "made up" to have been asked to design a music-themed Blue Peter badge to mark BBC Music Day on 26 September. He said: "Music was really important to me growing up and I hope this badge will inspire more kids to get into it."
The multi-coloured new badge features the Blue Peter ship alongside piano keys, a microphone and music notes. Young fans hoping to win the accolade will need to tell Blue Peter how they enjoy making music. They will also need to ask a parent, grandparent or teacher about their musical memories and tell the CBBC programme their top three songs of all time. The badge will be launched live on Thursday in a special edition of Blue Peter that will also feature Sir Paul McCartney.
(Jim Evans)
24 September 2019

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