Ed Sheeran searches for new lines in movie ‘Songwriter’

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran poses during a photocall for the film ‘Songwriter.’ (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Ed Sheeran searches for new lines in movie ‘Songwriter’

BERLIN: British singer Ed Sheeran said on Friday that the hardest part of songwriting was coming up with lines that had never been written before as a new documentary detailing his creative process premiered at Berlin’s international film festival.
The movie “Songwriter” was directed by Sheeran’s cousin, Murray Cummings, and follows the Grammy winner as he travels around the United States and England writing songs on his laptop, jamming in a garden and recording in the studio.
The intimate portrait of Sheeran, who was the most-streamed artist on music service Spotify globally in 2017, includes footage of him belting out songs while crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, returning to high school to see his music teacher and talking to his father about his songs.
“I think the most difficult thing to do with writing a song is finding a phrase that you haven’t heard before because there’s always a song that’s going to be like: ‘I love you baby like crazy, I miss you maybe’,” Sheeran told a news conference.
He said he had learned not to push himself if he was struggling to write and did not believe writer’s block existed.
“What I do when I can’t write a song is I just put the guitar down and go and do something else for about a couple of weeks and then come back and then I’ll be able to write a song,” the 27-year-old said.
“So the way that my mind is now is, I will be able to write songs forever — they probably will start being about pretty mundane things because my life is getting more and more calm.”
Sheeran said he liked the documentary because it showed a song being written from start to finish, rather than just an album being recorded.
“I like that Murray found a niche that hasn’t really been done before. It’s quite difficult to find something that hasn’t been done in a music movie,” Sheeran said.
Sheeran, who said he planned to make a film next year in which he would play something other than himself, listed “Goodfellas,” “Cool Runnings” and “Love Actually” as his favorite movies.
Cummings told Reuters the documentary would give fans an insight into Sheeran off-stage.
“When he’s on his own he’s kind of very like relaxed and chilled and stuff. So I think they’re going to see that’s what he’s like because this film just kind of shows what I see every day,” Cummings said.


West End theater turns migrant camp to get London audience talking

Updated 20 June 2018
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West End theater turns migrant camp to get London audience talking

  • The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End aims to immerse the audience in the squalid camp in the northern French port city of Calais that inspired “The Jungle.”
  • The immersive play offers a glimpse into life in the camp, telling the story of asylum-seekers, people smugglers and charity workers who used to populate it.

LONDON: London theatergoers used to spectating in comfort are in for a rude awakening after the authors of a play swapped the traditional plush velvet seating for wooden benches and covered the floor with soil to simulate the feel of a migrant camp.
The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End aims to immerse the audience in the squalid camp in the northern French port city of Calais that inspired “The Jungle,” whose authors hope their play will stoke debate about migration.
“People often hold strong opinions about this subject because it doesn’t seem to have any immediate answer,” said Joe Murphy, 27, who co-wrote the play.
“Discussion is the only think that is going to get us forward ... and hopefully this play can provide some of that space for debate,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
Co-author Joe Robertson said the pair had “tried to depict both the terrible conditions that existed in the Jungle camp, but also the hope that existed in that place.”
Up to 10,000 people seeking ways to reach Britain used to live in the giant slum before it was cleared by authorities in late 2016.
Immigration remains a major political issue across Europe, as well as in the United States, where the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border has caused an international outcry.
Several European leaders including those of France, Germany, Italy and Austria are to hold talks on Sunday to explore how to stop people from moving around the European Union after claiming asylum in one of the Mediterranean states of arrival.
Murphy and Robertson, 28, based the script on their experience as volunteers in Calais, where they ran a temporary theater within the camp.
The immersive play offers a glimpse into life in the camp, telling the story of asylum-seekers, people smugglers and charity workers who used to populate it.
“There were 25 different nationalities of people all forced to live side by side often on top of each other and the phenomenal story about that place was people did make an effort to come together,” said Robertson.
Theatre-goers are invited to seat at the tables of the camp’s makeshift Afghan café, where the action unfolds.
“The closer you are to the audience the better the message is delivered,” said actor Ammar Hajj Ahmad, who plays one of the leading characters.
Ahmad, from Syria, is one of many actors from a refugee background featured in the play. Several asylum-seekers the authors met in Calais are also part of the cast.
“I am proud of this, I love telling stories ... about the many people who lived in Calais,” said cast-member Mohamed Sarrar, a musician from Sudan who arrived in Britain two years ago.
The play, which premiered at another London theater The Young Vic, last year, runs from July 5 to November.