24 Mar 2017

Red Nose Day 2017

It's Red Nose Day today – a day when lovely charitable people across the UK cast their inhibitions aside, pop on a big red nose and fundraise in imaginative wacky and wonderful ways! 

Red Nose Day is organised by Comic Relief and occurs every two years. The 'red nose' in the name is inspired by the traditional red noses of clowns, of course, so we can be forgiven for thinking of our very own Chico Rico whenever we hear the words!

Lots of celebrities normally get involved in the fundraising, with the BBC hosting a widely-anticipated evening of comedy sketches and antics, interspersed with the touching real life footage of those less fortunate, which reminds us why fundraising is so important.

It's a great cause, with Comic Relief having raised over £1bn since its launch in 1988!

So what highlights can we expect to grace our TVs tonight?

James Corden's Car Pool Karaoke special – Take That are in LA with The Late Late Show host for a very special sing-a-long.

Red Nose Day Actually – The cast of Love Actually reunite to find out what happened to the beloved characters 13 years after the original.

Peter Kay's Car Share – Exclusive first look at the second series of Peter Kay's sitcom.

Middle Class Jeremy Kyle – David Walliams pranks the loud-mouthed talk show host.

Hecklers Anonymous – Frankie Boyle, Rebecca Front and Russell Brand star in a sketch about a community support group for people addicted to heckling.

Graham Norton's Big Chat Live – The comedian supersizes his chat show with a ludicrously long sofa to be filled with more star guests than ever before.

And much more... 

It sounds like a great evening on the sofa with a takeaway to us! 

Have you been fundraising for Red Nose Day? Let us know in the comments!

17 Mar 2017

St Patrick's Day 2017

It's St Patrick's Day today – or St Paddy's Day, as it is sometimes more colloquially known. In Britain, it's notably a day when revellers wear fake ginger beards and over-sized green top hats to work, before retiring early to the pub for a pint (or several) of thick, dark Irish stout

But do you know who St Patrick was? Or how other countries celebrate the day? Let's find out!

The first thing you should know about St Patrick is that he is not technically a Saint – he was never canonised by the church. Nor was he born Irish. Nor was his name Patrick! So who was he?

The generally accepted theory is that Paddy was born in Scotland and named Maewyn Succat, with Patricius being his Romanicised name – this was later shortened to Patrick.

You may have heard the legend that St Paddy drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Whilst it's a good story, this does not seem to be true. Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave, and during six years of slavery he worked as a shepherd and became a devout Christian. Later in life, he devoted his days to spreading the word of his faith, and converted many of Ireland's Pagans to Christianity. 

He died on 17th March 461AD, and that date has been celebrated as St Patrick's Day ever since.

St Patrick's Day is celebrated all over the world... and beyond – having even been observed on the International Space Station in 2011!

In Rome the Colosseum glows green...

In Chigaco, the famous Chicago River is dyed green...

In fact, green monuments seem to be a trend worldwide...

We will be celebrating St Patrick's Day at Gandey, along with our Irish friends and colleagues who work on our various shows.

Are you doing anything special for St Patrick's Day?

10 Mar 2017

Women's History Month 2017

On Wednesday (8th March2017) all over the globe International Women's Day (IWD) was celebrated, commemorating the movement for women's rights. 

IWD first started in 1909 in New York but has since then become a world wide event and lead to the designation of Women's History Month as created by National Women's History Project in 1987, which now takes place during the month of March. 

This year's theme for the event is 'Be Bold for Change' and women everywhere are taking bold actions to help progress better outcomes for women in all walks of life.

A number of women have been celebrated for being 'Bold for Change' so far, these ladies are just to name a few: 

Ida Wells - American journalist, suffragist, and civil rights activist
Lotfia El Nadi - Egypt’s first female pilot
Frida Kahlo - Mexican painter and activist
Lina Bo Bardi - Italian-born Brazilian architect
Olga Skorokhodova - Soviet scientist and researcher in the field of deaf and blind communication
Miriam Makeba - South African singer and civil rights activist
Sally Ride - American astronaut and the first woman in space
Halet Çambel - Turkish archaeologist and the first Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics
Ada Lovelace - English mathematician, writer, and the world’s first computer programmer
Rukmini Devi - Indian dancer and choreographer credited with reviving Indian classical dance
Cecilia Grierson - Argentine physician, reformer, and the first woman in Argentina to receive a medical degree
Lee Tai-young - Korean lawyer and activist who was Korea’s first female lawyer and judge
Marie Curie - Polish physicist, chemist, and first woman to win the Nobel Prize

Women's History Month is not just about celebrating women in the past but those who are making change now and about encouraging individuals everywhere to stand up and be bold. 
We think that this shouldn't just be aimed at women but everyone as equals! 

We LOVE celebrating diversity, so this month is the perfect excuse to stand up and stand out (just like The Lady Boys of Bangkok  ;) ) !!

What are you going to do to celebrate Women's History Month?

3 Mar 2017

A day at the circus

We had a new starter last week. So we thought, 'what better way to introduce somebody to Gandey World Class Productions than to send them to the Gandey's Circus'! It turned out that not only had he never been to one of our circuses before... he'd never been to any circus!

Here are his thoughts:

I've never been to the circus before. Well, that's not strictly true. I don't remember ever going to the circus. 

I'm told by my parents that they did take me once when I was about four years old, but my older brother didn't like the clowns - so we never went back. I have a hazy recollection of elephants performing in the ring (back when the the use of animals was commonplace), but I don't know if it's a real memory, or a false one picked up vicariously through television.

So, when I was asked to visit Gandey's Circus in Aintree last Friday, as an introduction to my new role, I had no idea what to expect.

I knew there would not be animals, so I pushed the images of elephants balancing on balls and lions being tamed with chairs out of mind – images that had been ingrained by years of cartoons. But what did that leave? 

All I could picture were clowns. Curly red wigs, painted white faces and round rubber noses. The same clowns that made my brother cry when he was five. I imagined them squirting water from a fake flower, tumbling out of a comically small clown car, and throwing cream pies in faces. Suffice to say, my expectations were not accurate.

When I arrived at Aintree, the iconic Big Top stood tall in the famous racecourse - the vibrant red tent easily visible against a muted backdrop. I was amazed that they had managed to erect such a large tent in such a small timeframe. The racecourse had been battered by Storm Doris on the previous day, and Gandey's had made the decision to take down the Big Top in the interests of safety. The dedicated team then worked through the night to reassemble everything in time for this performance.

I felt a tingle of excitement as I entered the Big Top, and it soon became clear that the feeling was shared. There was a buzz of anticipation from kids and adults alike - all waiting to enter the main arena, and many passing the time by playing fairground games and enjoying the candyfloss.

What surprised me most on arrival were the various smells in the Big Top. I had expected this aspect of the circus to have departed along with the animals, but the tent was filled with a delightful aroma of burgers, hot dogs, candy floss and popcorn, all accompanied by the scent of grass and the great outdoors. 

It all seemed incredibly familiar. Maybe there is a distant memory of my childhood circus trip rattling around in my head somewhere – if so, it has definitely been drawn closer to the surface.

The show itself was fantastic. I wouldn't want to give too much away, but the 'Thrill Circus' moniker is no exaggeration.

The acts ranged from wholly impressive displays of strength, athleticism and dexterity; to gravity-defying heart-in-mouth moments that had me perched on the edge of my seat. The fast-paced action was coupled with a sound and light display that would give any theatre a run for its money.

Oh - and there wasn't a curly red wig in sight! There was a clown, however. The fabulous Chico Rico from Mexico! Chico kept the audience entertained between the thrill acts with his own style of razor-sharp physical comedy. When he starts collecting volunteers from the audience, be warned - you're in for some belly laughs!

I came away from Gandey's Circus content that my day was a success. I learnt a great deal about what a circus in 2017 is actually like - a more modern experience than I'd presumed, with up-to-date references, songs that all the kids will get, yet still retaining the traditional atmosphere that a circus needs.

I already have plans to visit again further along in the tour, but this time I'll be taking my family along (assuming my brother is over his fear of clowns).