Diary

September 29, 2011

Liverpool

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

In 1930s Chicago, small-time crime boss Arturo Ui and his men can provide protection - for workers, businesses and jobs. As the Great Depression hits the city, he strikes a deal, makes a killing and suddenly seems to be a looming presence everywhere from the markets to the docks. Just what would it take for a petty crook like him to seize supreme power? Bertolt Brecht's savagely black 1941 satire on Hitler's "resistible rise" through a combination of rabble-rousing oratory and violence has now been adapted by Stephen Sharkey. It can be seen at the Liverpool Playhouse from 30 September to 22 October before transferring to the Nottingham Playhouse (sponsored by the University of Nottingham) from 26 October to 12 November.

London

Exquisite Labyrinth: The Music of Pierre Boulez

Since the 1940s, Pierre Boulez has been a giant of the avant-garde, composer of some of the key works of musical Modernism. This weekend at the Southbank Centre (30 September to 2 October) seven events will celebrate Boulez, opening with young performers from the Royal Academy of Music exploring his "use of musical space". The London Sinfonietta will present music inspired by electronic technologies, while Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich will play almost all of Boulez's piano works during the course of Sunday. Boulez himself will conduct his masterpiece Pli selon Pli for soprano and orchestra with the celebrated Ensemble InterContemporain, which he founded in the 1970s.

http://ticketing.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/festivals-series/exquisite-labyrinth-the-music-of-pierre-boulez

BBC Radio 4

Dinner in the Village

African-American novelist Richard Wright married a Communist Party organiser from a Polish Jewish background called Ellen Poplar. His friend, the Trinidadian activist and author C.L.R. James, fell in love with a white Californian woman called Constance Webb. In this powerful new play by Caryl Phillips, the two celebrated but conflicted bi-racial couples meet up for a series of meals in a 1940s Greenwich Village restaurant, one of the few in New York that is willing to serve them. They discuss what wives can do for their writer husbands and whether they would feel freer in Paris. Yet it soon becomes clear that, haunted by public hostility and inner demons, they are also desperately trying to paper over the rifts developing in their marriages.

4 October, 2.15-3.00pm

Bath

Gainsborough's Landscapes: Themes and Variations

Although Thomas Gainsborough (17-88) made his living from portraiture, his real passion was for landscape paintings, which provide some of the most powerful examples of his breadth of invention and dazzling technique. Yet this exhibition is the first in 50 years devoted solely to this strand of his career. Since most do not represent real views but keep returning to a number of recurrent subjects, the paintings and drawings are displayed as a series of "themes and variations" that reveal the increasing skill and grandeur of his work. Now showing at the Holburne Museum in Bath until 22 January, the exhibition will move to Compton Verney from 11 February to 10 June.

Stoke-on-Trent

British Ceramics Biennial

Building on the success of the inaugural festival in 2009, this year's Ceramics Biennial lasts six weeks (30 September to 13 November) and includes exhibitions, artists' residencies and creative responses to the region's industrial and architectural heritage. Award: Breaking New Ground, a major survey of current ceramic practice in the UK, will go on display at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. The original Spode Pottery Factory, operational for 240 years until 2008, has been transformed into a "creative hub" where six artists have been commissioned to create site-specific works. And some of the best products of the UK ceramics industry have been selected to create an installation in the form of a "great wall" 3m high and 30m long.

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