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Oscar winning actor triggers Cosmic funding drive

£23,000 bid to stage play in Liverpool backed by Jim Broadbent and Nina Conti

Written by . Published on June 12th 2014.

Oscar winning actor triggers Cosmic funding drive

OSCAR-winning actor Jim Broadbent, ventriloquist Nina Conti and Sex Pistols pop artist Jamie Reid are among a host of well known names who have got behind a campaign to raise cash to pay for a play which will have its world premiere in Liverpool. 

They are urging the public to dig deep into their pockets for the £23,000 needed to mount the first ever theatre production of Cosmic Trigger. The play is adapted and directed by Daisy Campbell, daughter of the late theatre legend and Everyman artistic director Ken Campbell. 

Nina-ContiNina ContiAnd with 23 days to go, the Indiegogo crowd-funding appeal is almost halfway there. Donors from the UK and beyond have been quick to pledge more than £11,000 in exchange for a range of perks including rare videos and CDs of Ken Campbell, signed Jamie Reid prints, T-shirts, badges and Cosmic Trigger trading cards designed by Liverpool artist Luke Walsh. 

Now a series of short promo videos, produced by Nic Alderton (son of Pauline Collins and John Alderton), has been released in which a host of famous theatre faces are inviting people to “pull the Cosmic Trigger”. 

Cosmic Trigger is the autobiography of author and one-time Playboy writer Robert Anton Wilson who co-wrote The Iluminatus Trilogy which was dramatised by Ken Campbell and first shown in Liverpool in 1976.

Broadbent was one of the many young unknowns who starred in Illuminatus!: the Terry Canning band included a teenage Ian Broudie, Bill Drummond designed the sets and Letter to Brezhnev director Chris Bernard was the manager of the company - The Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool.

Cosmic Trigger 

5X05_HKen CampbellThe show was staged of the first floor of what is now Flanagan's, in Mathew Street, and its subsequent transfer to the National Theatre kick-started the careers of all those involved including actors like Prunella Gee (Daisy Campbell's mother), Bill Nighy, and David Rappaport. 

Daisy and her production team came to Liverpool in February scouting for support and to stage sample scenes from Cosmic Trigger at the Kazimier.

The Brighton-based director told Liverpool Confidential she was overwhelmed after local performers, video makers and other artists turned out in their droves to the event.

“So many people came from out of the woodwork. Everyone seems to want this to happen.”

Daisy’s adaptation recounts the period of “Pope Bob’s” life around the inspiration for the writing of and theatrical culmination of Illuminatus!, a period where he also met figures like Timothy Leary, Alan Watts andWilliam Burroughs, all of whom feature in the play.

The narrative slips in and out of Illuminatus! itself and the production employs song, music, projections and stagecraft to evoke the real-life hallucinogenic trip through conspiracy, paranoia and enlightenment that transformed Wilson from a simple Playboy editor into the influential countercultural figure he is today.

Daisy CampbellDaisy Campbell

There is still no definite venue for the show which will open on November 23, alongside The Conferestival, a three fringe event in honour of Wilson celebrating his work, influence and legacy. A range of speakers will attend and give addresses, people like Robin Ince, KLF author John Higgs and members of the Maybe Logic Academy.

This will be a forum to listen to contemporary countercultural figures, network with like-minded individuals and pick up rare books and goods in the marketplace.

“So you’re not just funding a play, you’re funding a circus that we want to bring to town,” says Daisy.

Here is the link to donate. Pull it, pull it, pull it. 

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Bryan BiggsJune 13th 2014.

Synchronicity or what, but Deaf School have just announced they are playing the Floral in New Brighton on 23 November too

Angie SammonsJune 13th 2014.

Yes, we know about this. Will they be persuaded to play the Cosmic Trigger after-party though? Better start getting some early nights in now

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

What a way to end it all!

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