Since the band was first unleashed on an uncomprehending public in 1975, Strange has been a Zelig-like figure whose presence has been felt in every corner of London’s cultural life. He founded the hugely influential mixed-media Cabaret Futura in 1980, and has subsequently worked as a musician, writer and actor.
His numerous movie appearances include Batman by Tim Burton, Mona Lisa by Neil Jordan, and Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese. He can be seen in the Harmony Korine movie Mr Lonely, playing the part of Abraham Lincoln, and he recently filmed the last episode of Harry Potter.
Throughout 2004-7 Richard worked with Marianne Faithfull on the Tom Waits/William Burroughs/Robert Wilson collaboration “The Black Rider”, performing in theatres in London, San Francisco, Sydney and Los Angeles.
In 2009 he was part of Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown Festival, at the RFH, in an evening of songs from Walt Disney movies, and in 2010 performed with the producer/arranger Hal Wilner in Brooklyn and at The Barbican, alongside such luminaries as David Byrne, Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi, Shane McGowan and Suzanne Vega.
Richard’s memoir “Strange- Punks and Drunks and Flicks and Kicks”, was published to critical acclaim by Andre Deutsch in 2005.
Richard curated a night of Live Art in Glasgow in 2011 as part of the This Is Performance Art Festival. Mary Brennan of The Glasgow Herald described it: “One of the most open-minded, far-reaching and rewardingly varied programmes of radical new work in the world.”
He recently co-wrote and presented This is Not Magritte, a programme about the Belgian surrealist, for BBC Radio 4. Last summer he chaired a discussion on Watercolours for the Tate Gallery at Camp Bestival, and performed his one-man show An Accent Waiting to Happen at venues across the UK..
He has recently completed filming Theatre of Dreams with Brian Cox, Toby Stephens, Natascha McElhone and Philip Jackson, and a short film, Lady Luck. He also played Smiley in the film “The Kick” directed by Marcus Warren, and The Figure in the film “Norfolk”
In 2012 he curated Cabaret Apocalyptica for the Tate Britain, Millbank, to celebrate the “John Martin and the Apocalypse” exhibition. Richard made a specially commissioned Performance/installation work with Kelly Dearsley Strange, and the show featured many artists including Kate Tempest, Gavin Turk and Richard Wilson. The same month he was appointed Creator In Residence at The Hong Kong Design Institute, and he was recently asked to be a mentor for the young musicians on the Music For Youth initiative. He was made a Principle Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in May 2014.
Richard wrote the song for the closing credits of a new movie, Dark Hearts, which premiered in Cannes in 2013, and was screened during the opening weekend of Raindance, The London Independent Film Festival. He also works as Music Consultant to Alison Jackson on her shows for BBC and Sky TV.
Last year Richard was Visiting Fellow at The Hong Kong Design Institute. And in the summer he appeared at both Camp Bestival and Bestival.
Richard’s live chat show, A Mighty Big If has been taken up by Don Boyd/Gary Kemp’s online Arts Channel HiBrow.TV. All future shows will be broadcast on www.HiBrow.TV. Recent guests include Marc Almond, the celebrated American theatre director Robert Wilson, the actor Brian Cox, musician/actor Gary Kemp, the award-winning artist Cornelia Parker, the actor Peter Capaldi, film director Mike Figgis, the godlike genius who is Nile Rodgers, and the poet and playwright Kate Tempest. Future guests include Juergen Teller, Hans Zimmer and Rupert Thomson.
In October 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. In November 2013 he also featured in Hal Willner’s concert Amarcord…Nino Rota, the Barbican tribute to Fellini’s composer, with Marc Almond, Steve Beresford, Nitin Sawnhey and Kate St John.
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 and Seb Rochford and The Doctors of Madness. A feature-length film of the event is current in the editing stage.
Working increasingly in education, having been award a prestigious Principal Fellowship of The Higher Education Academy (one of only 350 in the country), Richard currently devotes a lot of his time working with young music students in the UK, Hong Kong, Sweden and the USA.