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Friday 11th April 2003
Bad Hand - A writer's inspiration
Written by Ansell Broderick
Bad Hand
Bad Hand - an African-Caribbean dance-drama
Ansell Broderick wrote and produces the dance-drama 'Bad Hand'. He gives his reasons for the show and it's contribution to the community.

See the fabulous picture galleries from the show.
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Bad Hand - the show

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Bad Hand grew from a feeling of dissatisfaction whilst touring internationally as an actor and musician.

Don’t get me wrong, touring the Americas and The Far East, with prestigious companies like The West Yorkshire and Nottingham Playhouses plus a superb two-month "Land Rover Tour" of Africa with the English Shakespeare were life-changing experiences which I’ll cherish forever.

Bad Hand
Bad Hand being performed on stage
So I wasn’t dissatisfied with the tours or the essence of the plays. No, it’s just that I thought the language of theatre should be a bit more …well .. international instead of using English, French or German all the time.

And so an idea formed in my mind. I was going to create a piece that gave more equal access to theatre and tour the world with it.

Bad Hand was that piece. Since it’s Inception in 1995 it has notched up over 200 performances, wowing audiences from Bristol to South Shields.

Each of the three productions has explored new areas of this theatre without words.

The first in 1995 being the devising period - started life as a three-page story, lots of ideas and possibilities and an abundance of heart and passion from the performers Ekua Ekuma, Tracey Anderson and Nicola Beckford with rugged musical backing from Roy Johnson and Dave Sticksman-Higgins.

Bad Hand
Bad Hand being performed on stage
The second 1997 production was a lot stronger technically. Ekau and Roy where still in the cast but we now had Tracy Bell fresh out of the Northern school of contemporary Dance and Mellony Page a strong gospel singer.

Their disciplines took the production in a different direction and at first I thought it had lost its soul, but the more I watched the more I appreciated it for its own technical beauty.

Now 2003 - and in this the third production I as director have tried to strike the balance between the technical and the soul and with this cast of skilful multi disciplined performers, Louisa Eyo, Amayra Fuller and Simone Richards, Bad Hand is definitely forging a new style in who’s footsteps it will be hard to follow.

That international language I strived for is evident throughout the piece, so much so that people come out of the performance extolling the excellence of the narration, only to be reminded that there was none.

Bad Hand
Bad Hand being performed on stage
And yet everyone can reiterate the story scene by scene, so it would seem that a combination of body poetry synchronically accentuated by a sea of syncopate music (Roy Johnson & Silbert Morris) is speaking to the audience on a subconscious level and it's happening across all age and ability ranges.

The Midlands to which 95% of all Bad Hands performances have been shown (mainly in schools) has such a diverse population and yet Bad Hand has been met with universal enthusiasm (except in the case of Handsworth Girls school where it went off the Richter scale).

It has also been thought provoking. One little boy in an after show discussion remarked, "I think the duppy (ghost) was born out of the spirit of jealousy." Well you could have knocked everyone down with a feather when he said that.

Teachers and pupils alike are capitalising on the excitement of the performance. Each school has received an accompanying teachers pack compiled by Marva Buchanan (Vibza Productions) containing topics around maths, English, sciences, dance, art and many other subjects.

This associated production between, Birmingham Rep, Creative Partnerships, and Vibza production has been a success story. My dream now is that it steps off this rock and tours the world.

Ansell Broderick, Vibza Productions

Pictures from the show

We've got a host of pictures from the show, so take a look.

Pictures following the story: 1 Go to picture gallery

Pictures following the story: 2 Go to picture gallery

Pictures following the story: 3 Go to picture gallery

If you've seen the show, let us know when and where, and what you thought of it.

E-mail the team at: birmingham@bbc.co.uk

When and where can you see the show

For details of the performances at the Rep Theatre, click here.

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