JOELLE TAYLOR TO LEAD POETRY WORKSHOPS

Unity Arts  are offering FREE workshops for Over 18s  with renowned SLAM POET Joelle Taylor.

Hoxton Hall

These sessions are part of a workshop week HACKNEY DISSENT (which will also run workshops for 7-10s and 11-18s)  at Hoxton Hall and other East London venues.

These various activities will take place during the week  of 27 May – 1 June  with performances at Hoxton Hall and                Dr Johnson’s House.

We have invited Joelle Taylor to lead workshops for Over 18s in order to support creating spoken and written poetry of dissent.

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally, both for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Brazil, Botswana, Australia and Singapore) and on solo projects across Europe.

A former UK slam champion, she founded the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors in 2001 for the Poetry Society and was its Artistic Director and National Coach until 2018.

As an educator she has lead workshops and residencies in schools, prisons, youth centres, refugee groups, and other settings for organisations including the        Poetry Society, the British Council, Arvon Foundation and English PEN.

She featured on TEDx Talks and Outsider Lectures, and was recently awarded a Southbank Centre Change Maker prize, in recognition of her life-changing work on the national youth slams. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts and was longlisted for the 2017 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from a skilled and relevant poet and all work created will also be included in a book and all participants will receive a copy.

PLACES FOR JOELLE TAYLOR WORKSHOPS ARE LIMITED

Please complete the form for more details and an application pack!

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BESPOKE TRAINING – Hackney Archives

As part of a week of training and workshops we are offering a FREE Archives Training session  at Hackney Archives Dalston Lane, London E8 3BQ (just above CLR James Library by Dalston Junction Station) on Thursday 25 April 6pm – 730pm.

The head archivist Elizabeth Green will be showing us how archives and primary sources can bring history alive and we will be looking at documents relevant to our research into Mary Wollstonecraft and  our Heritage project

BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT

a Marriage Settlement from mid 1700s (a shocking document to the modern eye), minutes from the Unitarian Church where Mary Wollstonecraft was a parishioner, local maps and more.

 

This training deepens understanding of how lives were led and sometimes leads to new discoveries. (e.g previously we have discovered household accounts which told us what was eaten “Upstairs” by the “master” and what was eaten “Downstairs” by the servants).

Places are very limited due to the nature of the session so please email us at unityarts@hotmail.co.uk or complete the form below to book a place

BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT – Launch 2 Feb

There will be an opportunity to find out more about the HLF funded BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT project and to sign up for research trips and training 2 February 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm at St. Mary’s Church (rooms at rear), Stoke Newington N16 9ES.

The project will be researching the lives and times of local heritage heroine Mary Wollstonecraft and leader of The Blue Stocking Society, Elizabeth Montagu.

There will be Refreshments and Start-Up Packs available and at 3.00pm a short talk about the context of the project, some music and some readings from The Vindication Of The Rights Of Women.

“Only that education deserves emphatically to be termed cultivation of the mind which teaches young people how to begin to think”.

Register for a FREE ticket here BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT – Launch

ALL WELCOME

HLF Fund Blue Circle Of Dissent!

TWO YEAR COMMUNITY RESEARCH PROJECT RECEIVES HLF SUPPORT!

Unity Arts have successfully bid for a National Lottery grant  from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support a two year project BLUE CIRCLE OF DISSENT. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

The project will research the events, works and personalities that surrounded the lives and work of Mary Wollstonecraft and Blue Stockings Society leader, Elizabeth Montagu.

Elizabeth Montagu

Throughout the coming months Unity Arts will be platforming research, talks, training and events. Research visits will include, the National Portrait Gallery, Kenwood House and Strawberry Hill.

Strawberry Hill House

This project will create a series of free events. Events on 27 and 28 April 2019 (including an Outside Event on Newington Green) will be held to commemorate the birthday of radical Mary Wollstonecraft.

Events throughout the project will include an evening of literary presentations at Dr. Johnson’s House off Fleet Street. A community made event with specialist speaker in St Pancras.. An all-day installation at the Foundling Museum and a debate and installation at the Dissenters’ Gallery.

Please contact us for more information.

PATRIOTISM IS NOT ENOUGH – A New Play About Edith Cavell

One of our researchers Thom Jackson-Wood has written a short play based on the life, death and legacy of Edith Cavell (4th December 1865-12th October 1915), which has been shortlisted for the Herts & Essex Playwriting Festival 2019 “Write Here Write Now.” It will be performed at Hertford Theatre on Tuesday 19th February at 7.30pm as part of a showcase of new writing.

Thom researched Edith Cavell during our BRUSSELS AT DAWN project, which ran from 2013-2015, culminating in a commemoration on the centenary of her death on 12th October 2015 at St. Martin-In-The-Fields. Results of that project can be found here. EDITH CAVELL RESOUCES

Rather than tell a simple biopic, Thom has woven a modern-day storyline into the script, featuring Private Aaron Anderson, an angry disabled ex-soldier who now fights battles on Twitter, and is suspicious of everyone.

Thom says of the character “Aaron is a broken young man who has struggled to adapt to civilian life. Feeling forgotten and betrayed by his country, he tries to claim it back by campaigning to leave the EU. But beneath his rage, he is searching for an answer to give his life meaning. The life of Edith Cavell, her progressive attitude to all Europeans, and her selfless acts of bravery and her final words cause him to start rethinking his beliefs – that the world isn’t as black-and-white as he thought.”

Edith Cavell was a British nurse who pioneered modern nursing in Belgium from 1907-1915. When WWI broke out, she stayed in Brussels under German occupation to treat anyone regardless which side they were on in the conflict. However she was arrested by the German military on trumped-up charges on 10th June 1915 and she was imprisoned for ten weeks, then she was shot at dawn on 12th October 1915. Her final recorded words “Patriotism Is Not Enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone” inspired the title of the play.

“Write Here Write Now” is a playwriting competition organised by Contexture Theatre, an arts company based in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.

 

REMEMBER EDITH CAVELL

Today is the anniversary of the execution in Belgium of WW1 nurse Edith Cavell.

Image created by Dave Roberts which was shown as part of the HLF exhibition at St Martin In The Fields October 2015

Our HLF project BRUSSELS AT DAWN investigated her contribution to nursing and how she ended up in Belgium running a hospital, teaching nursing and why she was arrested for espionage.

Edith Cavell Window at St Olave’s                                            Image by Michael Cheetham

We worked with the Cavell Nurses Trust, The Royal London Hospital, The Florence Nightingale Museum, Belgian Edith Cavell Commemorative Group and the Royal College of Nursing to research this extraordinary woman’s life and her contribution to nursing.

We created a puppet show, exhibitions and have a series of films (including interviews with her descendant Dr Emma Cavell and author Diana Souhami), papers and resources created by both experts and community participants.

Edith Cavell Resources

Every year someone from Unity Arts lays a rose on the Edith Cavell statue in Trafalgar Square on her birthday – 4th December.

We never want her forgotten.

****The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco – The Hope Theatre, London

7 + 1 is sometimes 9. Especially in the absurdist world of The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco (in a completely accessible translation by Donald Watson), playing at The Hope Theatre until 13 October. The satirisation of education, politics, language and psychology could not be more apposite. First shown in Paris in 1951 this seventy minute illustration of futility still bites. Hard.The evening begins with us walking into a brilliant evocation of a mind in turmoil counterpointed by a cold, white centrepiece echoing a science lab or operating room. A beautifully envisioned and executed set by Designer Rachael Ryan. The Maid (Joan Potter) is steadfastly cleaning the table. An enthusiastic pupil (Sheetal Kapoor) visits The Professor (Roger Alborough) for a lesson. As in The Bald Soprano, Ionesco effectively uses the tools of repetition and circularity to parody the bourgeoisie’s need to repress and destroy the best in human nature. Instinctively we understand this which is why so many of us rebel at school. 
We know what is going to happen. Ionesco forces us into the uncomfortable role of complicit voyeur as we laugh (I did, often) at the ridiculous contradictions of reductive reasoning and he often jolts us into a realisation of our inescapable part in this appallingly nonsensical world. Ionesco is hard to pull off. His plays call for an understanding of the grotesque. Ruthlessly require technical excellence, truthful performances and perfect timing. As soon as Roger Alborough, playing The Professor, entered, I knew we were in very safe hands. A completely stunning performance. Alborough just ate up those meaningless monologues that are such a bitch to learn.

His handling of Ionesco’s many idiotic phrases and comic asides, absolutely pitch perfect. Energy pumping out of every pore. What an absolute treat to see acting of that calibre up so close. If he does not win an award for this fantastic portrayal I will eat my socks and the ear of a coat button.
I would have preferred The Pupil to have been played in the upper teens but given the powerhouse she was working with Sheetal Kapoor more than pulled her weight and Joan Potter wrung a laugh out of every line she had.  Again Potter, like Alborough, knew how to hold a beat. Played the rhythm of every line to a tee. Excellent.
Matthew Parker is a complete star. He has often been bold in his programming at The Hope and his in-house productions have been enormously successful. In making the choice to produce an Ionesco play he has taken a huge leap of faith. Cannily he has surrounded himself with great Creatives (I must also mention the clever and creepy Sound Design by Simon Arrowsmith).
Fringe Theatre is where all the apathy busting and challenging theatre is happening and I wish Parker and his very talented team every success. In an era where we are numbed by tepid clichés and slogans this was a breath of icy, harsh air. Highly recommended.

Oscar Ciros is a playwright, director and clown.

Playing at The Hope Theatre until 13 October

Photos by LH Photography

The Lesson at The Hope Theatre

****Sister Mary’s Playtime – Edinburgh Preview LONDON by Lil Warren

Reviewers should never mention topics outwith the artists’ control. The journey, the seats, the stairs or the toilets nor the TEMPERATURE but……they do.

I mention the heat here because Tim McArthur, who shared his new show Sister Mary’s Playtime, in preview, at the Arts Theatre Upstairs, Leicester Square performed in a complete nun’s habit. Feet bedecked in taps.  For over an hour. At FULL THROTTLE and in FULL VOICE! We, however, could barely pick up our gin and tonics.

The audience members were perspiring as if in a Tennessee Williams revival in Arizona. So moist, they were even beyond wiping away the glistening sweat beading lip and brow and well, everywhere.

We were eventually cajoled out of our seats for the opening “prayer” and were galvanised enough to join in the Hand-BAG! Freezer-BAG! Ball-BAG! shout-along.

This fantastic sing-a-long, do actions-a-long, shriek-a-long is supported by the deliciously wonderful Brother Mathew on the ivories and even the little timing glitches that we expect in preview, dare I say it, were greeted warmly by a now noisy and appreciative audience.

I particularly enjoyed the “interview” segment at the end of the show, McArthur is a skilled and highly entertaining interviewer, allowing guests to make us laugh too.  And the surprise guest was astoundingly good. (No spoiler alert here).

Sister Mary is outrageously rude, camp, cheeky with enough political bite to make someone (me) snort their beer and nearly choke. Expect audience participation, to be pulled up (not off) on stage and some sort of cake as a reward for joyously joining in with Musical Theatre faves that are just knocked out of the park by this fabulous performer. A perfect Edinburgh show!

TIM MCARTHUR

Playing in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 3-26 August 2018 @ 5pm

Frankenstein Pub, 26 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN

Lil Warren is a writer and director, an  old Edinburgh Festival lag, and co-host on Free Seed on Soho Radio CULTURE CHANNEL.

 

SYON JANE by Isabel Walters

Queen Jane remains the only English monarch of the past five centuries for whom no genuine portrait is known to have survived. Dozens of images have been put forward over those five centuries, but none has yet been conclusively authenticated.

It is now believed the portrait above by an unknown artist is the truest likeness of Jane Grey and is in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House, Middlesex, UK.

One of our young artists, Isabel Walters, responded to the portrait with a bust SYON JANE that was exhibited at the New Armouries 12 February as part of the WOEFUL PUPPET exhibition.

 

 

Dr Zoe Hudson on Woeful Puppet and Tudor Prison Life

On 12 February as part of the WOEFUL PUPPET presentation at Tower of London Dr Zoe Hudson gave a talk (to a very mixed crowd) about what life in prison would have been like for Lady Jane Grey.

“I used archival evidence of Stonley and other prisoners to explore how Jane might have experienced those months in the Tower of London”.

Dr Zoe Hudson on Tudor Prison Life

She writes here of delivering a talk to a mixed community group and how she “was excited to have a chance support the work of Unity Arts” and “a group of young kids gathering at the front; I hadn’t anticipated having so many young people in the audience”.

This talk was well received. And Unity Arts continue to work as a bridge between academia and the community.

We very much look forward to working with Zoe Hudson in the future.