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 Wilner, 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 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 Wilner’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. Richard also played the legendary Glastonbury Festival in 2009, showcasing the album The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange in its entirety.
2009 also saw Strange and his long-time collaborator, the multi-instrumentalist David Coulter, together onstage at London’s Barbican Theatre, as part of the ArtAngel project “The Plague Songs”, with Rufus Wainwright and Damon Albarn, among others. The same year he participated in Drifting and Tilting, The Songs of Scott Walker at the Barbican.
Ever an innovator, he worked alongside Coulter and the artist Gavin Turk on designing and fabricating a new musical instrument, a car-horn organ, for Albarn to feature in his Chinese opera production Monkey. He composed the music for the short film The Blood Road, directed by Temple Clark, and a score for the Contemporary Dance Company Protein Dance. In 2010 he re-opened Cabaret Futura after a 30 year hiatus, performed Anna and The Witch’s Bottle at the Barbican’s Surreal House exhibition and he curated last year’s 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 Richard was invited to curate two events for The Tate Gallery. He chaired a discussion on Watercolours for them at Camp Bestival in summer, and in autumn curated Cabaret Apocalyptica… 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”. The same year he appeared alongside Brian Cox, Toby Stephens and Natascha McElhone in the film Theatre of Dreams.
In November 2011 Richard was invited to be “Creator In Residence” at The Hong Kong Design Institute.
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, comedian Simon Day and the artists Cornelia Parker, Richard Wilson and Gavin Turk.
In January this year A MIGHTY BIG IF was invited to be part of Don Boyd’s online Arts Channel HiBROW.TV. His interviews with Alison Jackson and Richard Wilson sandwiched a performance by Strange and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp, duetting on three of Strange’s Songs.
This year 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.
This year he was elevated to Visiting Fellow by The Hong Kong Design Institute, performed in the films Ginger and Rosa, The Kick and Lady Luck, was featured in the BBC TV programmes Punk Britannia! and We Who Wait, and has performed at Camp Bestival and Bestival.
His memoir, Strange- Punks and Drunks and Flicks and Kicks was published by Andre Deutsch in 2005.
He is married to the academic and artist Kelly Dearsley Strange and lives in London.
HiBROW has initiated a monthly series of Richard's live, "post-modern" chat show, "A Mighty Big If", which will be staged at a variety of venues and feature intimate conversations with some of the most important cultural figures in the world of the arts.