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A very special moment happened on Saturday when, 100 years to the hour when he was lost at the Battle of the Somme, Coventry violinist Montague Johnson’s Memorial Plaque (colloquially known as a Dead Man’s Penny) was re-united with his city. The medal had been discovered in 1963 by Kim Kenny, as a 5 year old girl, in a shed in the garden of her then home in Allesley. She looked after it over those intervening years, long since having moved away from Coventry – and it was her who brought it to the premiere of Montague’s Song at St John the Baptist Church (where Montague’s name is recorded on a stained glass window). It was revealed part way through the performance, to the surprise of Ray Hammond, a relative of Montague’s, who was in the audience.


L-R: Chris O’Connell (writer, narrator); Kim Kenny & Ray Hammond (with the medal); Derek Nisbet (composer, musician). Photo: Alan Van Wijgerden

The medal will go on display later this month at the Visitor’s Centre in War Memorial Park, on a cushion specially created by textile artist Julia O’Connell of Theatre Absolute, (co-producer of Montague’s Song). This completes the circle, as it was the picture of Montague there in the ‘Missing Faces’ exhibition that began the search for his story, nearly 3 years ago.

The church was full on Saturday so by popular demand we’re doing a reprise performance (with a collection in aid of St John’s) this Sunday 11th Sept at 1pm. No booking needed (it’s part of the church  Heritage Open Day events) but early arrival advised!



A mystery benefactor has set up a foundation to promote the art of queueing. The Q Foundation’s stated aims are to “promote excellence and innovation in queueing, whenever and wherever it occurs” and “celebrate the cultural distinctiveness of the British queue as a progressive post-colonial force for good.”

IMG_6311 A Queue

Moreover the group are lobbying for the recognition of queueing as an Olympic sport. “Nobody’s told us it can’t be done,” said a spokesman. “Where there’s a queue, there’s a way.” It is claimed that Britain’s celebrated Queuers could sweep the board should the activity become recognised by the IOC.

The identity of the benefactor behind the idea is a closely guarded secret, but rumours that he or she is a London-based Russian oligarch have been hotly denied. “Nyet,” said a spokesman.

Editorial notes:
The National Theatre will be hosting a masterclass by the Q Foundation by its outdoor River Stage on Friday 31st July 1.10pm onwards.

The Cricketers

The Cricketers will be unleashed on the good folk of Warwick this Friday 15th May as part of the Great Warwickshire Show & Tell.
They’ll be in Market Square, Warwick outside the Shire Hall at the following times:

3pm – 3.20pm
5.05pm – 5.25pm
6.45pm – 7.05pm

Rain (unless torrential) will not stop play!


Applications are invited for an open audition for actors and actor/musicians with Talking Birds Theatre Company in Coventry. This is an opportunity to meet and work with the company in a relaxed group setting over the course of a day (11am-4pm), at the Shopfront Theatre in Coventry. We are not auditioning for specific roles, but rather identifying talented and versatile performers who the company can draw on for future projects (see for examples of our previous work). We will also be inviting Artistic Directors from other regional companies to join us in the afternoon. Travel expenses and lunch will be provided.

To apply, please e-mail us at birdmail[at] subject: Open Cast, with a resumé/CV of your experience to date (can include video/audio links), plus a short statement on why you would like to attend the workshop and what you would bring to working on a project with the company.

We particularly welcome applications from artists based in the Midlands, disabled artists and artists from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This opportunity is aimed at emerging or established professionals rather than students, though those approaching graduation or postgrads will be considered. We will accept submissions through agents if they are accompanied by a personal statement from the individual.

Applicants of any age over 18 welcome.

Date of Workshop: Friday 5th June (Coventry)

Deadline for applications: 18th May (10am)

Date we will inform successful applicants: 22nd May

Telephone number for any queries: 024 7615 8330