In April 2022 I was in the University of Bristol Theatre Collection researching the London cabaret scene of the early to mid twentieth century when I saw this face peeking out at me from an open folder of programmes and cuttings. I was immediately intrigued! The full picture was, I assumed, a publicity shot for a cabaret act, a play, or perhaps even a film.
In September I did a show called 'An Afternoon with Ada Campe' at the Phoenix Arts Club in London. It was the longest bit of live performance I'd done since February, and was packed full with new material including a socially distanced magic trick and some songs - the first time Ada had sung on stage. It was great fun - and a second show called 'A Late Afternoon with Ada Campe' happened at Above the Stag Theatre in Vauxhall in November - simultaneously my first and last live appearance that month due to the implementation of the second lockdown in London.
After both shows I had a sort of post-show 'hangover' that lasted for days - the rush and excitement of performing live again and packing in so much new material at once was wonderful, but whereas in pre-COVID times I was used to finishing Ada shows with a great release of tension, for both of these the tension seemed to stay in my body... presumably because the chance to perform live has been so rare during 2020 that I didn't want to let the feeling or memory of it go.
Want to see a preview of Ada Campe and the Psychic Duck in London before it goes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August? You can!
Here are the dates and details of all the July previews:
It's always weird finding things you have assumed have long gone. My folks are moving and therefore lots of my old stuff, gathered over years at their house, is seeing the light of day. Two things in particular have emerged from the depths - and heights - of the loft and prompted nostalgic smiles today - and I feel moved to share both of them. Below is a picture of the first - some old theatrical make-up powder and crepe hair given to me by my maternal grandfather many years ago.
Picture the scene thus:
Two Edwardian actresses meet
whilst walking through Covent Garden.
It's a balmy afternoon some time in autumn 1913.
The past fortnight has been very exciting!
Knickerbocker Glories was a show that I produced and was part of in June 2010 at the Union Theatre in London. It consisted of three fully staged one-act plays: Miss Appleyard’s Awakening by Evelyn Glover (first performed on 20th June 1911), Lady Geraldine’s Speech by Beatrice Harraden (part of the entertainment at the Princes Skating Rink for the WSPU’s Women’s Suffrage Exhibition in May 1909) and How The Vote Was Won by Cicely Hamilton and Chris St John, (first performed at the Royalty Theatre on the 13th April 1909). All of these pieces were originally presented for a sympathetic, pro-suffrage audience and all were originally written for the Actresses Franchise League.
I've found myself doing fortune telling gigs as Ada Campe quite a lot recently and it's been really fun researching and even more fun creating my own methods!
I did a lot of research on cold reading and traditional methods of fortune telling - all fascinating stuff. Having also learnt to do and perform a bit of Mentalism in my magic shows helped too. In Glasgow at the Britannia Panoptican - a fabulous old music hall that I heartily recommend you visit - I had my first encounter with a tarot card reader and found it very interesting watching her and seeing how she worked the whole encounter.
As it's intended for amusement purposes only I don't use tarot cards or do palmistry or anything that people have heard of and therefore might believe.
I've created my own cards and methods which are intended to be so blatantly silly that hopefully no one will take them to heart - although as I've discovered this means that people think I'm double bluffing them and am in fact psychic. I'm not. I'm just interested in people, want to amuse them and have discovered that with enough ambiguity, you can make anything seem relevant.
Feedback from events so far includes:
"Spookily accurate", " What a fun idea!" "You are a little bit psychic, aren't you?", "Spot on!", "That's amazing!" and
"They really are chickens, aren't they!"
Basically it involves me telling lots of strangers how lovely they are and to have confidence in themselves... an asset at any event, surely?
Thoughts, reflections, bits of research