Young Actors
Historical Background
Miranda's meetings with Shakespeare
Shakespeare Statue

Telephone: 01923 248294  e-mail: bryan-ritz@zen.co.uk 

Write to: Backstage Books and Music, 30 Tunnel Wood Road, Nascot Wood, Watford, WD17 4WN. UK

Progressive Folk and Singer-songwriter duo Ritz and Wesson, stalwarts from the late 60s/early 70s folk scene, release a new CD of original material this month - The Liberty Sessions - through the Backstage Music label.   Bryan Ritz and Nigel Wesson were a part of the folk movement based around the clubs and pubs of London that hosted a burgeoning live music scene.

They met at Bunjies Folk Cellar in Litchfield Street Soho, one of the three key venues on the circuit along with Cousins and the Troubadour. Nigel had the Saturday night residency and hosted floor spots from artists such as Al Stewart, John Martyn, Donovan, Roy Harper and Gordon Giltrap.  

The mid-1960s and 1970s saw the appearance of the singer-songwriter as a major cultural change in the history of popular music. For the first time, artists could communicate directly with their audience about themes and viewpoints that related directly to their lives and those of their listeners. Both songwriters themselves, Bryan and Nigel collaborated on a number of projects including sessions for the legendary Bill Leader and Muff Winwood of Island Records - but ultimate success eluded them and after a few years they unintentionally drifted apart as the pressure to earn money from a day job over took them.  

Re-united in 2013 through the power of the internet they found that they were living only three miles apart and resumed their musical partnership immediately. The first fruits of their work came out in 2015 with a CD entitled “Phoenix in Silver” which had favourable reviews and has sold well. R2 magazine described it as “Haunting and original English pastoral songs. Not your usual singer songwriter offering”.

For further details contact Backstage Music by E-mail: bryan-ritz@zen.co.uk or Telephone: 01923 248294 BUY NOW ON AMAZON

The track 'Sinner's Song' from this album is a BBC Radio play. All our latest releases available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music

Our first album 'Phoenix in Silver' - '5 star rated on Amazon' and from the album, the track 'Fine Folk Music' is a BBC Radio play. All our latest releases available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music

'Phoenix in Silver' by Ritz & Wesson and 'Autumn' by Nigel Wesson - BUY NOW AT AMAZON

PHOENIX IN SILVER - Full length album - 13 tracks

'Haunting and original English pastoral songs. Not your usual singer-songwriter offering.' R2 Magazine
'A nod to the beautiful whimsy of Incredible String Band', R2 Magazine

'Listen to 'Walkin' Barefoot' - sounds like a lost acid folk classic,' R2 Magazine

If you enjoy Al Stewart or Justin Hayward; you will love this. 'Lovely album - recommend getting Ritz & Wesson!' Songcast USA

AUTUMN - EP - 6 tracks

Nigel has been a singer and performer since he started his residency in 1966 at Bunjies folk cellar in Litchfield Street, in the heart of London’s Soho, at the tender age of 16. In the years through to 1975 Nigel completed over 400 Saturday evening performances at a time when Bunjies was a famous venue on London’s folk scene. The full list of ‘drop in guests’ is a record of folk greats from the UK and USA.

Recommend 'Softly Sleeps the Sea - Nigel has a wonderfully rich voice ... NR

'Fi's Tune' is a beautiful instrumental. BR                                                 

Quoted by Rock and Reel Magazine the album 'Phoenix in Silver' - 'a nod to the beautiful whimsy of Incredible String Band ... and the storytelling approach of Al Stewart'.

Some history ... Nigel Wesson performed over 400 times as host performer on Saturday evenings in the late 1960s to early 1980s at Bunjies in London's Soho. Ritz and Wesson's first recordings were recommended by Muff Winwood (later to become head of Sony Music) to Island Music for publishing, but were never released. Hear them now on 'Phoenix in Silver'


                  Ritz & Wesson Live at The 

July 2015           
Ritz & Wesson Live at The 

July 2015        

Backstage Books bring Shakespeare's plays and times to life through high quality fully illustrated fictional stories for young adults that are based upon historical facts and extensive research.

NEW BOOK TO BE PUBLISHED IN 2019 - 'Miranda Finds The Shakespeare Code' - a fictional story revealing more about the mysteries surrounding Shakespare and the King's Men players and wonderful plays such as Julius Caesar, The Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream.

Latest Book for young adults - available now - 'Miranda's meetings with Shakespeare' - fully illustrated on high quality vellum coloured paper £9.99 (incl. delivery) ISBN:  978-0-9544727-1-9. Reviewed by TV Presenter Janet Street-Porter "I enjoyed Miranda's meetings with Shakespeare" - available as a fully illustrated paper book or Kindle"

Buy Book Here

Fourteen-year-old Miranda observes by chance a rehearsal by the King's Men theatre troupe in 1611 for their most ground-breaking and mystical play The Tempest, written by their principal playwright William Shakespeare. This begins a series of exciting adventures and with the help of the boy player she befriends she discovers some of the secrets of the Playhouse and pursues her own desire to act on the stage. She discovers some of the philosophical inspiration for the playwright’s work and Francis Bacon’s special contribution to the plays.

“A charming tale that magically evokes the tempestuous times and secret theatrical arts in Shakespeare’s England.” Reviewed by Tony Broadbent – author of the acclaimed mysteries: The Smoke, Spectres in the Smoke, and Shadows in The Smoke

Backstage  publications complement  the stage training and theatre arts development available through our stage school Stagecoach, where Bryan Ritz (founder of Backstage Books) is a principal. Stagecoach provides training in  drama, singing and dance  for young people aged 4 to 18. It is interesting that young players in Elizabethan and Jacobean times were taught these three disciplines as an essential foundation for acting.

Backstage publications are suitable for readers above the age of 11 (and all people who enjoy quality fiction).

The first two books published by Backstage use 'factional' detail to provide a setting based on fact, which gives the reader greater access to Shakespeare's language, ideas and creative genius.

The first two books are set in the year 1611, where within the walls of the ancient monastery of Blackfriars, situated at the edge of the City of London, the King’s Men acting troupe have created a unique indoor Playhouse where a fantastical world is played out for their audiences, in an age where there was no TV, cinema or internet. They summon royalty, emperors and rulers long passed away to exercise their power again and act out their intrigues on stage.

The next book in the series 'Miranda finds the Shakespeare code' will be released when completed.

You can reach us at (UK) 01923 248294 and www.backstagebooks.co.uk

For theatre arts training go to: www.stagecoach.co.uk/harrowonthehill

or E-mail: info@backstagebooks.co.uk.

All books available at: www.amazon.co.uk

Previous Book

A Play For Miranda £4.99 (fully illustrated) www.amazon.co.uk 


'I enjoyed 'Miranda's meetings with Shakespeare' - available as a fully illustrated paper back or Kindle' - Janet Street-Porter, TV personality

'Surely it will become one of Prospero's Books' reviewed by Tony Broadbent, author of 'The Smoke'

'An enchanting story catching the energy of Shakespeare's London and a magical glimpse of the birth of the Tempest. Set us hunting the location of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse - Apothecary Street and Playhouse Yard - on the web and in the ancient backstreets of the City of London! What happens next Bryan?' Dai Williams, Psychologist

'This is a delightful tale, which is easy to read yet gives an historical background to the times of Shakespeare' Helen Quigley, Head of English, Surrey C.C.

This book available through www.amazon.co.uk 

The English Theatre Renaissance

Publications by Backstage Books are set in the richest and most creative period of theatrical production in English history. Between 1575 and the mid 1620s playwrights working alone or in short-lived partnerships created many thousands of plays in and around London. Only a small percentage of the plays still survive in printed form.

The incredible flowering of theatre works during these fifty years was stimulated by the interest and patronage of Queen Elizabeth I and her successor King James I.
New playwrights and authors found an outlet for their work in London’s many open air and public house theatres, where eager audiences gathered. The sudden explosion of creativity and rapid expansion of new knowledge at this time can be compared to the growth of the Internet in our modern times.

The Blackfriars was unique as a playhouse at the time and imagine the atmosphere that was present in the grand hall of the ancient monastery only lit by lamps
and candles; undisturbed by traffic noise or the bustle of our modern technological and industrial society. In a world without cinema or TV the theatre was also a very
important arena for the communication of ideas and news. People were able to learn new views of history, and the world beyond England and Europe was more and more accessible through the explorations of the great mariners of this age.

It is the author’s belief that the naming by the King’s Men of their most well known theatre The Globe was a radical idea in the late 1500s. Some authorities at the time
would still not even acknowledge that ‘the world was round’. Shakespeare would have heard of Sir Francis Drake’s explorations all over the world, proving the earth
was not flat. Islands such as Tenerife and the Bahamas were newly discovered and his plays were often set in similarly foreign and exotic places and this may have been an attraction for people to see plays at the Globe. Galileo, the famous Italian astronomer, also discovered by 1610 that the earth was not the centre of the universe, but revolved around the sun. As Shakespeare was writing his last plays at the Blackfriars, peoples’ views of the world, religion and their ways of life were being revolutionised.

Stagecoach Theatre Arts

Bryan Ritz is principal of a successful stage school in Harrow, West London. He also lectures and composes with Ritz & Wesson and Mosaic Orchestra