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The Spinning Wheel

The Spinning Wheel


  • DATES & TIMES: Saturday 22 November, 7.30pm
  • AGE GROUP: 12+
  • TICKETS: £12
  • Unfinished Business presents

    The Spinning Wheel

    The Spinning Wheel is an international collaboration between New York hip-hop theatre artist Baba Israel and Artistic Director of Unfinished Business, Leo Kay. Combining spoken word, live music by Yako 440 and video by AlbinoMosquito, this dynamic show celebrates the life of Baba's late father, Steve Ben Israel, a New York jazz musician, stand-up comic, countercultural activist and member of the iconic Living Theatre. 

    Combining spoken word, video and live music by Yako 440, this dynamic show celebrates the life of Baba's late father, Steve Ben Israel, a New York jazz musician, stand-up comic, countercultural activist and member of the iconic Living Theatre.


    Drawing from Steve Ben's extraordinary archive, The Spinning Wheel explores pacifist activism, loss and legacy, and asks, what remains of the movements that shook the Western world and how can we be transformed by the legacies we inherit?


    Baba Israel

    Baba Israel was raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. He developed as a young artist exploring spoken word, hip-hop, and experimental performance. He next lived and worked in Australia working on community theatre projects and festivals. During his time in Australia he received a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to produce and perform the Hip Hop Theatre production “The Bridge” which was performed in non-traditional venues and toured to juvenile detention centers. He began his career as an arts educator in Australia and has gone on to be a leading educator and consultant working with organisations such as Urban Word, BAM, and the University of Madison. He has also worked as a cultural ambassador with the State Department delivering workshops and performances across South East Asia, the south Pacific, and in Gambia and Turkey.


    He is co-founder and Artistic Director of Playback NYC Theatre Company who have bring theatre to hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, as well as theatres and festivals. The company is currently developing projects to support immigrant communities in Long Island in a series of performances and workshops funded by the Hagedorn Foundation. He was AD/CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester from 2009 - 2012.


    As a theatre and hip-hop artist, Baba Israel has toured across the US, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia, performing with artists such as Outkast, Philip Glass, Rahzel, Lester Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, Vernon Reid, and Bill Cosby. His debut solo show Boom Bap Meditations was supported by the Ford Foundation and The Hip Hop Theatre Festival which toured the US and Europe. He has worked on sound design for theatre and dance projects with Renita Martin’s It is the Seeing and Rha Goddess’s Meditations with the Goddess. He is a long time collaborator with Jason Lindner and has toured with Jason's project Now vs Now and was featured on their debut album produced by Meshell Ndegeocello and mixed by Bob Power. 



    Leo Kay

    Leo Kay is the Artistic Director of Unfinished Business. He started his illustrious career in performance aged seven, with a mime sketch in assembly about a window cleaner and a woman in a bathtub. Since then, his work has changed just a little bit. Moving through physical theatre, dance theatre and spoken word to explorations of site-specific-performance and intimate audience interaction, Leo's work is somewhere between theatre and live-art. Over the last five years Leo has focused on stripping back character and theatricality, instead addressing audiences as himself, often in an intimate setting, exploring personal biography in an attempt to connect more deeply with the audience or participants.


    Throughout his career Leo has worked as a freelance performer, director and movement-director, performing with companies including Kaos Theatre (Core Member 1995-99), Gisela Rocha Cia (Go Behind), The National Theatre (Jumpers and His Dark Material), the full London Philharmonic Orchestra (Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra & A Homage To Charlie Chaplin) Lost Dog (Hungry Ghosts) and Clod Ensemble (Under Glass). As movement director Leo has worked with Quarantine (Grace) and Fortune Productions (Journeyman). He has taught workshops nationally and internationally with Wim Vanderkeybus and Ultima Vez (Brussels), Au Brana performance research institute (France), Vila Danca, Teatro Castro Alvez (Brazil) and KataiKutu Sangram (India), among others. 


    This event is part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.


    Please note: 

    Age Guidance: 12+

    Latecomers during the first 10 minutes.



    Warning: Video contains flashing imagery.

    The Spinning Wheel - Trailer 2014 from Unfinished Business on Vimeo.