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Bertolt Brecht Songs and Poems for 2019

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September

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Bertolt Brecht

“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”

Ute Lemper
Blixa Bargeld
Meow Meow
Gavin Friday
Camille O’Sullivan
Cathal Coughlan.

Terry Edwards, Horns/Musical Director (Gallon Drunk, PJ Harvey, Spiritualized, Tindersticks)
Michael Blair, Drums/perc (Tom Waits, Gavin Friday, Elvis Costello)
Eric Mingus - Bass (Mingus Big Band, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello)
Rod Melvin - Piano/keyboards (Brian Eno, Immodesty Blaize)
Paul Cuddeford – Guitars (Paul Weller, Bob Geldof, Tom Jones).

Musical Director Terry Edwards
Poetry and musical advisor Cathal Coughlan
Produced by Gary Sheehan

The dark star of cabaret Ute Lemper, Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld, post-modern diva Meow Meow and Irish singer and actress Camille O’Sullivan and iconoclast Gavin Friday perform the songs and poems of Bertolt Brecht. We are also delighted to welcome Cathal Coughlan of Microdisney and Fatima Mansions fame to the line-up

Social and economic turbulence, hedonism, cultural creativity, democracy under threat… Brecht’s songs with Weill, Eisler, Dessau and his remarkable poems are set alight in this new one-off concert. 

From his sardonic tale of beggars, thieves and prostitutes, The Threepenny Opera, to his anti-war play Mother Courage, songs with Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler like Ballad of Mack The Knife that has become a standard and his remarkable poems of the pre-war period, Bertolt Brecht has created a canon of his own. It is the voice of Germany in the 30s and one of the most singular and rebellious humanist voices. 

The German-born playwright, poet and director, Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg, Germany in February 1898. Following a period working as assistant to Max Reinhardt at the famous Deutsches Theater, he established himself as a playwright and director during the 1920s and early 1930s with plays such as Baal, Man Is Man, The Threepenny Opera and The Mother.  It was during this period that he started to form his theories of epic theatre which informed so much of his later work. In 1930, the premier of Brecht and Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, caused a riot as the increasingly influential Nazi party objected to its morality and critical tone.  When Hitler came to power in 1933, Brecht and his wife, actress Helene Weigel, left Germany and lived in a number of European cities before eventually settling in the USA in 1941 where he remained until 1947. During the war years, he wrote many of his best known plays, including The Life of Galileo, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mother Courage and her Children and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and also published an anthology of poetry, Poems in Exile. He returned to Europe in 1947 and shortly after his arrival formed the Berliner Ensemble. His post-war plays include Mr Puntila and his Man Matti and an adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone.  Brecht died in Berlin on 14th August 1956 and is considered one of the greats of German literature. He remains a hugely influential theatre practitioner throughout the world.

Presented by NCH
Davy - NCH Innovation Partner


Ute Lemper


Ute Lemper’s career is vast and varied. She has made her mark on the stage, in films, in concert and as a unique recording artist. She has been universally praised for her interpretations of Berlin Cabaret Songs, the works of Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht and the Chansons of Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Léo Ferré, Jacques Prevert, Nino Rota, Astor Piazzolla many others and also her own compositions, as well as her portrayals in musicals and plays on Broadway, in Paris, Berlin and in London’s West End.



Blixa Bargeld founded the seminal Berlin band EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN and also played guitar in THE BAD SEEDS, the band he founded in West Berlin in 1984, together with Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Barry Adamson. “We can’t play” is the first rule of the game for EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, it began with a tape recorder, steel and vocals under a West Berlin freeway bridge and developed twelve times over into Twelve Cities, he since made site specific performances on Hitler’s Reichsparteitagsgelände (the Nazi Party Rally Grounds)and after the Fall of the Wall the Shaft of Babel. Bargeld now works across artforms. He is a singer, narrator, actor, director and author, musician, poet and experimenter

Blixa Bargeld
Meow Meow


Post-post-modern diva Meow Meow has hypnotised, inspired, and terrified audiences globally with unique creations and sell-out seasons from New York’s Lincoln Center and Berlin’s Bar Jeder Vernunft to London’s West End and the Sydney Opera House. Her award-winning solo works have been curated by David Bowie, Pina Bausch, Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 2018 she starred in Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret at The Barbican.



Gavin Friday’s career spans four decades, and he still puts the same energy and passion into his work that he did with the Virgin Prunes in 1977. Gavin’s first solo album with Maurice Seezer was Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves, released in 1989, it was followed by Adam ‘n’ Eve, and three years later by Shag Tobacco. His 2001 show, the Kurt Weill tribute Ich Liebe Dich, juxtaposed 1920s/30s Berlin and 1940s Broadway and had a sell-out run at the Dublin Theatre Festival and in 2005 director Neil Jordan cast him as sexually ambiguous rocker Billy Hatchet in Breakfast on Pluto. His most recent album is the critically acclaimed, catholic

Gavin Friday
Camille O'Sullivan


Irish-French Camille O'Sullivan is a singer/actress who enjoys a formidable international reputation for her unique dramatic interpretations of the narrative songs of Nick Cave, Brel, Waits, Bowie, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.  The award-winning singer  has stunned audiences around the world with 5-star sell-out performances, her solo shows include Sydney Opera House, London’s Royal Festival Hall and The Roundhouse. Recently Camille starred in Edinburgh International Festival and won a prestigious Herald Angel Award for her tour de force, solo performance in the Royal Shakepeare Company’s Rape of Lucrece.



For 30 years, whether as a solo artist or frontman of acclaimed indie bands Microdisney and the Fatima Mansions, Cathal Coughlan has been one of rock’s most singular performers, feted for his caustic wit and dark lyricism.

Cathal Coughlan