In yet another 2012 annual roundup post, I wanted to document some of the artsy, fun things I saw in 2012. It didn’t quite fit into one a month, but here’s a selection anyway.


Classical Club Night (January)

Young performers associated with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Rambert Dance Company performed Trapeze, an early ballet score by Prokofiev, in the Clore Ballroom at London’s Southbank Centre. This was free to attend, late in the evening (starting at 9.45pm), and presented in the Southbank Centre’s ballroom space which is really open and has a bar. It was great because I could take pictures, move around during the performance and go to the bar when I wanted.

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (April)

A play telling the story of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking a large number of documents to the website wikileaks. Written by Tim Price and directed by John E McGrath. In addition to being performed site-specifically in three high schools, the show was broadcast online alongside a chat stream and links to further information. One of my favourite plays ever.

(Disclosure: This show was produced by my employer, National Theatre Wales)

Spymonkey’s Oedipussy (April)

Spymonkey’s hilarious take on the story of Oedipus. Five great performers and two hours of laughing so hard my stomach hurt. Brilliant. Here’s my full review from earlier in the year.

I’d Hide You (May)

Blast Theory created this unique live and online gaming experience for The Space. Three ‘runners’ were on the streets of Manchester trying to catch each other on camera. Online participants were invited to help or hinder the runners by sharing information about the whereabouts of the other players.

Coriolan/us (August)

Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes took the text of Shak

espeare’s Coriolanus and Brecht’s Coriolan and re-told the story in a huge disused aircraft hangar in the Vale of Glamorgan. They used silent disco technology, live filming and cinema screens to give audience members the choice of how to watch each scene. I’ve never properly embraced and loved a Shakespeare play before, so this was a great moment for me.

(Disclosure: This show was produced by my employer, National Theatre Wales)

Llwyth (September)

I’ve seen this show three times. I think that covers how much I like it. Here’s a review from the second time.

Nina Simone (A)Live (October)

I saw this biopic of Nina Simone at MC Theater in Amsterdam. It was in Dutch, but the range of storytelling devices used meant that I understood everything that was going on, despite barely understanding a word of the language. The show, unsurprisingly, used a lot of music but rather than just performing Nina Simone’s music exactly a she would have done, there was everything from classical piano to hip hop and live multi-track mixing. A great experience and a really interesting place to visit if you’re ever in Amsterdam.

The Breezeway, Rockefeller Center (December)

I couldn’t really get through the review of the year without including something from my trip to New York. At Top of the Rock, the Rockefeller Center’s viewing platform, there’s a room which knows where you are, assigns you a colour and changes the light and sound display. I also thought it was quite cute that if you were blue and your friend was red, you could stand on the same place and hug them and the colours sort of merged above you. A great idea, well executed. Here’s a video, to explain better how it works.

What were your arts and cultural highlights of the year? What are you looking forward to in 2013?