REAL life stories from Bradford’s Canterbury estate are brought to the stage in a powerful play starting a national tour next week.

Full English explores the experiences of women who found a place on the estate to bring up mixed race families.

Starring Bradford actor Natalie Davies, the play is inspired by her grandmother, a reggae-loving dance enthusiast who “overcame the odds to find her place in Bradford”.

Says Natalie, who grew up on Canterbury estate, says: “Even though this is the story of my Nan, it’s also a story about identity and finding my own place. And it’s vital that I understand this now, as my story will be the most important thing I can pass on to my daughter.”

Says Bradford-based Bent Architect: “In the late 1950s the first wave of migrant workers arrived in the UK from Pakistan and Bangladesh. These young men soon met and started to fall in love with local lasses. When Nan fell for her man, her life was thrown into chaos. It was only when she arrived at Canterbury estate with her three kids that she found the solidarity of a small group of women who were loving across the boundaries.”

Using firsthand stories, Full English is described as a “poignant, funny, life-affirming homage to the strength of those women, who struggled with their identity, never really belonged to any particular culture or race, and constantly had to stand up against racists”.

The play is produced by Bent Architect, set up by Jude Wright and Mick Martin to create “original shows which give voice to the voiceless”.

“Full English is a celebration - a collision of cultures, melding music, dance and storytelling to create a dynamic and exhilarating journey rooted in Bradford,” says Jude. “It’s not rose tinted. The women we are celebrating have faced challenges and prejudice head on, and had to watch their children - and grandchildren - do the same. But throughout that journey, they have loved and laughed, danced and dodged, and ultimately found their place and voice here, in Bradford - where else?”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kamal Kaan in Full English. Photo: Karol WyszynskiKamal Kaan in Full English. Photo: Karol Wyszynski

Bent Architect have a growing reputation for creating innovative new work which challenges expectations. Their acclaimed This Space is Occupied took over a disused pub and turned it into a 1970s commune and their international tour of Women of Aktion looked at stories of German women’s resistance to war.

Full English runs at Kala Sangam, St Peter’s House, Bradford from May 11-14.

* Over at Bradford Playhouse, the office party, that corporate calendar highlight-turned political hot potato, is about to get into full swing.

Sit back and watch the fall-out as the Playhouse presents its in-house show, John Godber’s dark comedy classic The Office Party. Set in the office of advertising agency Chapman Howard, the play follows the employees during the run-up to their 1994 Christmas party, and the mayhem that ensues. As the copywriters, accountants, graphic artists, secretaries and the managing director himself try to get into the party spirit, events culminate with a night they’d all rather forget.

“It has been such a fun and enjoyable process bringing The Office Party to life on stage,” says director David Ayres, who also appears in the production as leering chauvinist Bob Marsden.

“John Godber has managed to write such an amazing insight into the mundane politics of office life, where often the coffee machine going bust creates more panic than the fact that the firm could be losing a huge account.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Office Party cast members include, Darren Ryder, Jessica Sweeney and Paul Forsberg. Pic: David AyresOffice Party cast members include, Darren Ryder, Jessica Sweeney and Paul Forsberg. Pic: David Ayres

“When the office Christmas party gets into full swing, inhibitions are dropped and out of drunken mouths come sober thoughts.”

The play is bought to life by a talented cast featuring Darren Ryder as the “very married but frustrated” Andy, Jessica Sweeney as office newcomer Jo, Paul Forsberg as stressed-out MD Gavin, Kelsey Johnson as the party girl receptionist Pippa, Lanna Howard as finance officer Patty, and Fen Greatley-Hirsch as desperate office junior Lee.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fen Greatley-Hirsch as desperate office junior LeeFen Greatley-Hirsch as desperate office junior Lee

Set to a soundtrack of disco classics and Nineties hits, The Office Party (contains strong language and adult content) is another gem from comedy maestro Godber, whose much-loved plays include Bouncers, Shakers and Teechers.

It’s on from May 11-14 at Bradford Playhouse, Chapel Street, Little Germany. Call (01274) 800415 or visit

* Ocean Colour Scene, lead players on the Britpop scene, enjoyed a sell-out UK tour last year. Now singer Simon Fowler and drummer Oscar Harrison are touring together, playing acoustic performances of the band’s hits and anthems.

An Evening With Simon and Oscar of Ocean Colour Scene, at King’s Hall, Ilkley, on May 19, features hits such as The Riverboat Song, The Circle, Traveller’s Tune and The Day We Caught The Train.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Simon Fowler and Oscar Harrison. Pic: Lee HeathfieldSimon Fowler and Oscar Harrison. Pic: Lee Heathfield

Simon describes the acoustic shows as “A real tonic - a great chance to look the audience in the eye and interact with them on a more personal basis than ever before”.

The shows are the latest chapter in a long career that has seen OCS rise from Breton shirt-wearing Stone Roses disciples to one of Britpop’s biggest bands. Behind the swagger were lyrics and melodies that formed the soundtrack of a generation. Now you can hear the songs stripped back.

* Hallival is the debut album from Leeds folk singer and songwriter Iona Lane. Fascinated by British folklore, Iona says Hallival is inspired by “natural landscapes, scientific discoveries, equality, human relationships and the supernatural, tied together by a strong sense of place and a love for being in wild places”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Iona Lane is at Topic Folk Club Iona Lane is at Topic Folk Club

Iona has won praise on the folk scene for her delicate yet powerful vocals. She will play at the Topic Folk Club on Thursday, May 12, at Groove Pad, Shipley.

* Dog-friendly film screenings come to Skipton’s Plaza Cinema in Skipton this month as part of Hinterlands International Rural Film Festival. Screenings include The Truffle Hunters (May 14), a moving, uplifting documentary about a group of elderly Italian men and their highly trained, truffle-sniffing dogs. Together they scour the forests of Northern Italy looking for rare truffles, which sell for a small fortune to some of the world’s best restaurants.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Moving and uplifting film The Truffle Hunters. Pic: Park Circus FilmsMoving and uplifting film The Truffle Hunters. Pic: Park Circus Films

This glimpse into a timeless, secretive way of life has at its heart the deep companionship between man and his best friend. The festival runs from May 13-15. Visit