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Sparkly Bird, based on a personal life experience

Sparkly Bird, based on a personal life experience

Sparkly Bird raising awareness

Sparkly Bird is a performance written and directed by talented local musician and singer-song writer, Kat Lee-Ryan, catalysed by her experience of her sister’s depression and heartbreaking suicide. Kat will be performing her show twice during National Mental Health Awareness week (14 – 20 May) alongside The Fabulous Red Diesel.

This is the true story of a woman’s battle with harrowing – and ultimately, life-taking – depression, told in 12 original songs with two dancers, one narrator and visuals. Audiences have been astounded by the emotional content, but at the same time uplifted.

I know that Sparkly Bird is a very personal story for you. How has it been for you to perform this show?

It is a very personal story, and I thought long and hard before I shared it. To perform the show has been so very helpful. When you feel pain, for whatever reason, the ability to share, and subsequently communicate with other people is everything. To be heard, and understood is a totally cathartic and healing experience.

Kat Lee Ryan

Kat Lee Ryan

How has the show evolved since it was first performed?

We began with one dance, 1 narrator 4 musicians and a projector. We have done it in rooms with no electricity, no dancers, no lights – and then at The Stables with full lights, 2 dancers (Jo Poulton and Ruby Chadwick) and a narrator, where we felt like stars it was so amazing ! For future performances? In my head, there is a trapeze and a rope, and one of the dancers is always working as an aerialist, so their portion of the dance is in the air. We would like more vocals and we have plans for a subversive string section, where I get to play cello (very subversively!) and the dancers try to stop me! It is constantly evolving and I love this, because it stays fresh and exciting.


Jo Poulton and Ruby Chadwick

What sort of feedback have you had about the show?

It has been amazing. Here are a few comments we’ve collected from the audience:

‘Thank you , I will remember this forever”

“Wow ! I did not expect that !”

”Breathtaking, beautiful,captivating, emotional”

”Fabulous, everyone can resonate with this, it will bring a tear to the eye”

”Absolutely amazing -really really touched my heart ”

”This moved me more than anything I have ever seen.I had tears streaming down my face from the start…….I think this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen…. Thank you I think this will save my life.”

Simon the narrator

Simon the narrator

Tell us about your song writing process for Sparkly Bird – and in gerneral.

I write every day, every week and keep it all in books, chronological songbooks with numbers, dates and an index in the front of each one. I have 12 or so, each containing about 50 songs; they have become an unintentional diary!

For Sparkly Bird, I just went back to 2002/2003 songbooks and picked out the best of them.

14232403_10154522809429314_990266508486765516_nTell us a bit about The Fabulous Red Diesel. 

The Fabulous Red Diesel are my second family. Wil, the drummer and I have been together for 23 years (married since 2012) and have been making music (and children) all of that time. As for Simon, Bea and Emanuele, we feel priviliged to make music with them; they are so supportive, talented and awesome in general. We couldn’t wish for better; whatever I suggest, they are always up for it… they’re just totally amazing and I love them!

Bea has a passion for contempoary brass music and has written and performed a whole album of her own compositions, which is due out this year. Simon is passionate about sound and electronic music and puts out music under the name of ‘Bad Head Day’.

And your connection to Hastings?

Our initial connection to Hastings was that it was Wil’s and my first daytime excursion in 1995 as a couple! We went on the lift and ate chips and slept in the car at the old lido in Bulverhythe. I was about 5 months pregnant at the time with Sky (now 22!). The funniest memory was in Hastings town centre, when we went to get a cup of tea after spending the night in the car, and while we were sitting there, an old lady loudly remarked to her friend: ” Well there’s no need for hair like that!” I still don’t know if she was talking about me or Wil.

We came here permanently in 2004, because we had a couple of friends here, John and Fran, who we knew from Wood Green in London, who assured us it was an awesome place to live. We discovered more friends from our Earth Spirit festival days, (Bev, Mick, Boris, Jo, Rob, Caz, Mick, Jo) and realised that the cheapest town in the south east contained more friends than we actually had left in London: we were sold! I was teaching piano in Heathfield part time, so armed with that, we decided to relocate; plus the fact that on the Kings Road there were at the time 13 charity shops. We like a charity shop!

Sparkly Bird

Thursday 17 May: Eastbourne Underground Theatre, Grove Rd, Eastbourne: 8.30pm. Tickets available from Theatre and on this link.

Saturday 19 May: Upstairs at The Anchor, Wingham, from 9.00 pm. Tickets avalable from pub and on the door. £10 tickets.

Warning: show contains triggers and flashing lights.

Kat Lee Ryan

Kat Lee Ryan

Sparkly Bird on Facebook and on Soundcloud.

The Fabulous Red Diesel.

Live showreel.

Posted 18:42 Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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