Richard Strange

Since his proto-punk band The Doctors of Madness first hit the headlines in 1975, the musician, actor, writer and adventurer Richard Strange has worked in every field of the performing arts. Richard has continued to write and record songs, release CDs, appear in films and onstage around the world, make videos, curate Live Art events, write a memoir, lecture, and play live concerts.

As a singer he recently participated in a number of concerts organised by the celebrated American Producer/Arranger Hal Willner, most notably “Stay Awake!” a programme of Walt Disney songs, which was performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown Festival, and also performed the show in New York. The shows featured Grace Jones, Nick Cave, Steve Buscemi, Pete Docherty, Shane McGowan, Jarvis Cocker and Beth Orton. He also sang at Willner’s “Rogues Gallery”, an evening of Sea Shanties at London’s Barbican Theatre, in July, alongside Tim Robbins, Shane McGowan, Martha Wainwright, and Suzanne Vega.

He has composed music and written a number of songs for the Contemporary Dance Company Protein Dance. In 2010 he re-opened his groundbreaking mixed-media Cabaret Futura after a 30- year hiatus, and curated the 2011 New Territories International Festival Of Live Art in Glasgow.

As an actor, Strange has been seen in films as diverse as Batman, Mona Lisa, Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves, Gangs of New York and Harry Potter. He has made numerous TV appearances, including a number of episodes of Men Behaving Badly, and as a stage actor he has worked alongside household names such as James Nesbitt, Peter Capaldi and Marianne Faithfull.

In 2011 he curated Cabaret Apocalyptica for the Tate Gallery, London, an event which drew 3000 people to Late at The Tate on a single evening. Cabaret Apocalyptica was Strange’s response to the exhibition “John Martin and The Apocalypse”.

His two monthly events, Cabaret Futura and A Mighty Big If are critically-acclaimed fixtures of the London art and cultural calendar, and his recent guests on the latter, an informal live chat show held in Soho’s Church of St Barnabas, have included such giants of their genres as film-maker Mike Figgis, composer Michael Nyman, theatrical maestro Robert Wilson, musician, producer and composer Nile Rodgers, Gary Kemp, Marc Almond, Peter Capaldi, Brian Cox, and the artists Cornelia Parker, Richard Wilson, and Gavin Turk.

In 2012 he was also commissioned to write the song for the closing credits of the Hollywood film Dark Hearts. The resulting song was called BloodBrother and Dark Hearts was screened at The Cannes International Film Festival in 2012.

His collaborative artwork, A Sleek Dry Yell, created with the award-winning artist Haroon Mirza, was bought for the nation by the Contemporary Art Society in 2012, and is currently touring the UK Art gallery circuit.

Increasingly involved in the worlds of education and academia, he teaches Creative Musicianship to BA students at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, and is also a mentor on the National Music Education charity, Music For Youth. Overseas, he was elevated last year to Visiting Fellow by The Hong Kong Design Institute, where he also lectures and co-ordinates collaborative creative projects. He is also a Principal Fellow at the Higher Education Academy, one of only 350 in the country.

In 2013 he was Narrator and sang baritone in the UK premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, which played to a rapturous full house at The Royal Festival Hall and was praised by critics from every area of the media, and also featured in Hal Willner’s concert Amarcord…Nino Rota, the Barbican tribute to Fellini’s composer, with Marc Almond, Nitin Sawnhey and Kate St John.

“Language Is A Virus From Outer Space”, Richard’s collaborative project with the composer Gavin Bryars, a cantata based around the life and work of William Burroughs, received its World Premiere at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on October 11th 2014, Burroughs’ centenary year. It was greeted with a standing ovation from the sold-out house. Conceived, curated, co-written and directed by Richard, the show featured contributions from Gavin Turk, Sarah Jane Morris, Rupert Thomson, Jeremy Reed, Haroon Mirza, Anni Hogan, David Coulter, Seb Rochford and The Doctors of Madness. A feature-length film of the event is current in the editing stage. The Doctors of Madness will tour Japan in September.

His memoir, Strange- Punks and Drunks and Flicks and Kicks was published by Andre Deutsch in 2005.