‘It’s a lens for culture. Part of Bournemouth’s emerging identity.’
We sent two members of the Reportage team to check out what’s going on at the Arts by the Sea launch event. These are their creative responses:
Take 1 – Gemma Alldred
A play in 3 Acts
The play is set at the end of a pier in a southern seaside town, the venue, Key West is a mid-range eating venue by day and would be unremarkable, save for the most remarkable geometric patterned dome ceiling, lit by lights which dapple to create the impression of a clear blue sea on a summers day.
A Balkan soundtrack plays
Enter guests, from the pier, past those autumnal barrelling waves just short of enough power to draw out the town’s surfing community.
Slowly to begin with, social unease acting as a magnetic force pulling people close to tables and room edges. Some suited, straight from office work. Others in high heels, swishy skirts and fishnets…clicking down the slatted wooden pier. The guests carry varying levels of expectation, celebration and arty elitism. I find company with Myriam San Marco (Bournemouth Poet Laureate and wordsmith extraordinaire), her daughter and fellow Reportage reportees, Syd Meats and Matt Chambers.
Expert timing from the venues expert waitresses, brings forth a plethora of canapés, or slightly bizarre (yet very welcome) English tapas, delicious in all their forms, from fish and chip to butternut squash and spinach…..with the exception of the beetroot shots (although as Matt was the only one brave enough you’d need to speak to him about that!).
Councillor Lawrence Williams takes to the stage, a smallish bespectacled gentlemen, in a navy suit jacket, conjuring a secure sense of moderate conservatism; I am not expecting any performance art from this debut. Reading from an AB branded sheet of paper, he gives thanks to all those involved in the Sixth Arts by the Sea festival, which he describes as “extremely valuable” and as bringing a “unique dimension to our tourist offer”.
Dr Roxy Robinson enters stage right, introduced as the ‘Creative Producer’. A lengthy speech, confidently delivered in a way which indicates prior experience and or training in the arts; OvER STResssssing in All the RIGHT pLaCes. Highlights of her speech include a declaration of the commitment to programming work aimed at 16-25 yr old demographic, and a strong music programme, aimed at drawing in students and young professionals….lets hope the audience data tallies. Closing with an affirmation to new commissions and sell out events…we are assured some tickets remain for the week.
Kitsch n sync perform a mermaid themed show. Think female, female impersonators with all the sequins and lip syncing such an image should conjure. The wine drinking guests show their appreciation, laughs and giggles emit from the crowd. Kisses from wet fish and some buoyancy aids feature.
Curtain (followed by post show networking)
I take to the floor, and ask, ‘what does Arts by the Sea Festival mean to you’?
Andrea Francis – Arts and Cultural Engagement Officer, Bournemouth Council
Entertainment! it’s a huge amount of work to put on the festival, but it’s incredible, so much of it is free. It’s in unexpected places all across the town.
Timo Peach – The bloke from Momo Tempo
It’s a lens for culture. Part of Bournemouth’s emerging identity.
Alba Falquina – expert waitress and model making student
I’m at AUB and in my first year I thought it was a university event! I’ve never been to the festival because I always have to be at work or in lectures. I’ll miss it agin this year.
Emanuelle – Poet and performer, aged 8.
Having fun and poetry!
NB: Emanuelle then performed her poem “Busy Day”, which was possibly the most sublime moment of my evening.
Michelle and Sharon – who have danced bold Balkan moves alone, together all evening
Michelle O’brien – Actress and Storyteller
Michelle is an Associate Artist of the festival, and her work will be performed on Monday
It’s made a huge difference, It’s allowed me to think of myself as an artist. Carol Maund (festival founder) was a tremendous supporter of my work and that really was amazing.
Sharon Muiruri – facilitator, director, actor.
You can catch Sharon’s contribution to the festival on Wednesday
It’s very important, it gives you a focus to make work. It’s good to be part of something bigger.
Roxy Robinson – Arts by the Sea Creative Producer
Inspiration for all!
Libby Battaglia – Freelance creative producer
Inspirational. Something for everyone. Diversity.
It’s an amazing opportunity for artists we love and value to present work in beautiful locations.
Katie Lusty – Arts Council England
I’m very excited. This is a fantastic and varied event with something for everyone.
Take 2 – Syd Meats
This synopsis was issued by the Reportage Press Office at 21:00 GMT
Attention all shipping, especially in sea areas Festival Preview, Key West, Bournemouth Pier.
Canapes and wine, Riesling, good.
World music. Fiddle and oud. Good.
Mermaids rising. Fair to moderate.
More Balkan music. Good.
Fire juggling. Bloody marvellous.