Monthly Archives

September 2016

Diary of Brian McClure – Artist in Residence

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Brian McClure, our Artist in Residence at Omnibus, works with St Mungo’s, a charity that helps people recover from the issues that create homelessness.

From the beginning of 2014, when Omnibus opened, the Visual Arts team began working with other organisations that run community workshops and events. Here is Brian’s account in his own words of his week working with St Mungo’s and other charities:

“As usual on Tuesdays, on 30th August, I went to the St Mungo’s Well Being Centre in Wix’s Lane. Jeanette Rourke has runs a weekly Well Being Day in Wix’s Lane in Clapham throughout the year, for the St Mungo’s homeless charity. On every Tuesday there is regular Reiki, ear acupuncture and ping-pong and table football. We have had laughter workshops, writing workshops, film-making and opera workshops with the StreetWiseOpera team from the Royal Opera House. We are also involved in theatre, and a collaboration with the Young Vic evolved into a collective production with six other community arts groups. We also put on two self-devised theatre productions performed at Omnibus by “The Born to Shine Collective”. Omnibus Visual Arts have been creatively involved in many of them, running planned workshops, encouraging creativity. All the art that is made is photographed for publication in “Homeless Diamonds” art magazine alongside prose and poetry from the Well Being Day and other St Mungo’s workshops.

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On Wednesday 31st August I heard music by The Coolness, Omid Jazi, Paula Wichall, and Chris Tymkow and Thomas Plyska at St Gile’s church, WC2. Lupus Alba (White Wolf) is a company set up to provide creative environments for marginalized communities and to prove the socially cohesive nature of the arts. They work with the Peabody Trust and St Mungo’s. One of their musicians, Paula Wichall, has performed her songs very successfully at Omnibus at several events, including a launch event for “Homeless Diamonds”#27 in 2015. They have a free live event for new music by Lupus Alba performers at St Giles-in-the-Fields Church, at the top of Denmark Street WC2, on the last Wednesday of the month.There has been a church on the same site since 1101. The present building has a magnificent palladian interior from 1733, which makes a good back-drop for the songs of Lupus Alba.3-workshopra

On Thursday 1st September I was part of a group taken to look at the David Hockney “82 Portraits and One Still-Life” exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. After discussing the work, we returned to the ornately gilded and lavishly decorated room over the main entrance where the Royal Academy Club members then made portraits of each other in different ways and compared results. The Royal Academy has been inviting people from St Mungo’s to take part in their workshops since the beginning of the year and I was encouraged to go along by a regular participant at the Well Being Day. As well as enjoying taking part in the workshops with a very diverse group of art enthusiasts, I have talked to the Royal Academy team about what Omnibus and the WBD have been doing. They are very interested in Omnibus and our work.4-tommy-ra

Many of London’s best-known arts organisations have community workshops. They give creative space to vulnerable and marginalized people and produce very interesting and engaging work.”

St Mungo’s: www.mungos.org

Homeless Diamonds magazine: www.homelessdiamonds.org.uk 

Would you like to get involved or find out more about the programme? Email us at visualarts@omnibus-clapham.org and we’ll get straight back to you.

A Perception Fest Q & A with… Photographer Pasqu Mulet Pedro

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Pasqu Mulet Pedro was born in Gata de Gorgos (Spain). When he was 14 years old, he was given his first camera from his great uncle, an unorthodox priest. This was the start of a so far never ending addiction: travel. He is the photographer of El Descanso (The Rest) and Where the clatter never ceases for Perception Festival: Voyage.

Where are you from?

I am from a small village near the Mediterranean Sea called Gata de Gorgos, in Alicante province.

How did you come to be an artist?

Rather than an artist I consider myself a constant searcher – of forms, shapes, colors, shades and textures. I started doing landscape photography when I was in Norway as an Erasmus student studying development and political economy. Working as a volunteer teacher in Bolivia I focused myeyes and lenses more towards portraits, social and street photography. From then on I have always felt more attracted to human beings as a subject. It’s peculiar because I highly enjoy and appreciate being by myself.
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What has inspired you to create this series of work?

I have always had a deep necessity for exploring other countries and cultures. I often feel compelled to stroll through narrow alleys, crowded, smelly and colourful markets. In 2016 I was fortunate enough to visit India and Thailand. I tried to immortalize two faces of the people I met on my travels, considered opposed but inherent to each other: one being the need for resting the body, mind and soul, and the other the necessity the human being has for moving around. Either by imposition or by pleasure, people travel, people commute, people search.

Who is your favourite artist and why?

Tough question. Okay, if I must choose one right now, it would be Harry Callahan. His style of photography is not similar to mine, however I am fascinated by his sharpness and delicacy. Geometry and light become his friends, he plays with them freely. The three of them are dancing the same tune and, suddenly, something clicks. The result is full of meaning.

What would you say to any young people hoping or wishing to create work themselves?

Read. Read a lot of books. As a book seller and a culture fan, I would strongly recommend to always push your limits a little bit. Try to read some new writer every month. Try to discover new cinema directors. Get astonished by unknown music. And, of course, get out of your comfort zone. It always will be there waiting for you, so why not take the risk of exploring other points of view and ways of living?

Pasqu’s photography series ‘El Descanso (The Rest)’ and ‘Where the clatter never ceases’ will be on display at Omnibus during Perception Festival: Voyage in October. See the full programme here.  

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Perception Festival: Voyage

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Oct

#perceptionfest16

More information here

An Engine Room Q & A with… Stella Duffy

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Stella Duffy is the creator of Learning to Swim in the Abyss, one of three pieces debuting at Engine Room


Stella Duffy OBE is a writer and theatremaker. Born in London, she spent her childhood in New Zealand before returning to the UK. She is the founder and Co-Director of the
Fun Palaces Campaign, and has written thirteen novels. She has also written fifty short stories, ten plays, and many feature articles and reviews. As a stage performer, she is an associate artist with Improbable, a member of the improv company Spontaneous Combustion since 1988 and has guested with The Comedy Store Players. Her solo show Breaststrokes (Time Out & The Guardian Critic’s Choice) has toured internationally, and on top of all this she also wrote and presented the documentary How to Write a Mills and Boon for BBC’s Time Shift.

Engine Room is on Thursday 15 September at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £5

More information and book tickets here

An Omniwrite Q & A with… Segun Lee-French

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Segun Lee-French is the writer of Jimmy Jimmy, one of three brand new pieces debuting at Omniwrite

Segun has worked as a singer, poet, composer, playwright, film-maker & club promoter. As singer for triphop band, Earthling, he toured across Europe, performing on MTV, BBC1, VH1 & Canal 5. As a poet & playwright, Segun’s work has been commissioned for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Radio Manchester. Segun’s debut solo show, Bro 9 at Contact Theatre, won Best Fringe Performer & Best Design in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards 2003. Segun has been nominated for the Arts Foundation Performance Poetry award and his first poetry collection, Praise Songs for Aliens, was published in 2009. His most recent play Palm Wine & Stout was featured on Radio 4 Midweek and toured the UK in 2014.

What is the piece about?

Imagine that you went to bed one night and woke up the next morning in someone else’s body 25 years later on a different continent. This is a story about legendary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott and how he finds himself in the body of a Mancunian karaoke singer.

How have you found the support at Omnibus?

Omnibus is very attentive. Saffron has been an extremely encouraging and enthusiastic advocate since she saw the birth of this piece a couple of months ago.

How important is Omnibus in developing your work?

It’s wonderful to have someone who can give positive, intelligent and constructive feedback during the writing process.

Whats next and how can people follow you?

Next, I will write some more scenes for Jimmy Jimmy and gradually work it up to a full length play. The idea has taken a couple of years to brew so far. I was happy for it to grow organically, but it feels like it is picking up momentum now. People can follow me on Facebook: my page is called Segun’s Waking Dreams.

Any shout outs?

Respect to Dee Morgan of Nitrobeat who helped to spark off the initial conception and gave Jimmy Jimmy its first exposure.

Omniwrite is on Friday 16 September at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 | £10

More information and book tickets here

An Omniwrite Q & A with… Leon Fleming

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Leon Fleming is the writer of  Kicked in the Shitter, one of three brand new pieces debuting at Omniwrite

Leon is originally from Castleford in West Yorkshire, and is now based in Leeds. He is thrilled to be working with director Scott Le Crass again on his new play Kicked in the Shitter as a continuation of their working partnership of the last few years, including: Sid, which is about to open at the Arts Theatre, London West End; Ode to Sid and 125: The Man on the Clapham Omnibus. He is three-time winner of the Jersey Arts Trust New Plays Project (2010-2012) and the Channels Islands Radio Drama Competition (2010), and is also co-creator of Plays Rough; a monthly platform for new theatre writing which takes place at the Jersey Opera House and is now in its fifth year.

More about Sid here

What is the piece about?

I want to sound clever and say something meaningful about subtext and a wider picture of the world we live in played out on a human scale, but actually this piece really isn’t that complicated. It’s about a man and women; a brother and sister, who like so many people in the country today are struggling to cope with their environment. Like a quarter of the population they are living with mental health difficulties which are specific to each of them, while at the same time trying to juggle the obstacles of their daily lives in a country eaten alive with austerity, rampant with unemployment; where mental health provision seems to be an afterthought and the safety net of the welfare state that previous generations built to catch us all, is ripped ragged with holes so large that those who lose their balance fall straight through.

While in part there is no doubt that this play is a cry of disgust at our current and previous governments, it is also about people doing what people do when they are in trouble; holding onto each other to prevent drowning because there is nothing else left to hold on to.

How have you found the support at Omnibus?

Omnibus have been wonderful from the moment I mentioned I had begun writing this piece; giving encouragement and sending requests for information on how the play is getting from the excellent literary department here; long before I was invited to present it at Omniwrite. In fact right from meeting Literary Manager, Saffron Myers when she came to see my one man play Sid last August at the Camden Fringe Festival, she has taken on not just an interested but a massively supportive role in my work. You don’t get that everywhere, and it really changes your outlook when you know that there is someone interested in the work you’re putting out; it makes the whole thing feel less solitary.

How important is Omnibus in developing your work?

There are a lot of scratch nights out there and they’re fantastic. I used to co-run one myself, and they are so important for testing out new techniques and working out how best to structure a short play for example. But generally they are for short, self-contained pieces of work, and often for plays written specifically to a theme for that particular event. For someone like myself who might be working on a larger project over a longer period of time, but wanting to test out part of what I’m working on to see If I’m on the right track; to be invited to take part in Omniwrite is huge. With Omniwrite I am fully supported in terms of director, actors, rehearsals etc and all the expense of such things, and my work will run alongside that of two of my peers – if I dare presume to call them that – and I know there will be an audience; which I can watch while they’re watching what I’ve been part of creating. Omniwrite has gained such a fantastic reputation as well, which means getting industry professionals to come so I can audition my work before them is so much less difficult than it might be otherwise. If it wasn’t for Omniwrite I would have to hire a venue, beg director and actors to present my piece to an invited audience in order to get some feedback. So all in all, I’m very well aware of just how important Omniwrite is to someone like me and to my work.

Whats next and how can people follow you?

It’s actually a very exciting time for me. As well as Omniwrite, my one-man play Sid – which I mentioned earlier – opens at Above the Arts in London’s west end for three weeks from 19 September. Although it does make it all a bit stressful, I’m really pleased they they’ve coincided the way they have; one play reaching a kind of climax, just as I’m ready to start going public about a new one and looking for a home for it. The gaps in work can be excruciating, so when things get busy like this it’s wonderful; the busier I am, the happier I am.

I suppose twitter is the best place to follow me at @leonfleming I’m very active on Twitter, so you don’t have to follow me for long to know what I’m up to and what I’ve got going on, as well as what I think about just about everything. You can also follow Sid at @sidtheplay on Twitter or /sidtheplay on Facebook. I don’t put out newsletters or anything, but if anyone wants to get in touch with me directly, they can catch me at leon@leonfleming.co.uk

Any shout outs?

Where do I start? Scott Le Crass is number one, always. He’s the director of Sid and is also attached to Kicked in the Shitter, so will be directing the extract for Omniwrite. After that Saffron Myers, your Literary Manager who is such a magnanimous source of support; I look on her not just as a friend, but as a kind of fairy godmother to all playwrights. (I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that). Marie McCarthy, the Artistic Director here as well, who was not only very supportive while we were first rehearsing Sid last year, but who allowed my work to be part of the 125 Anniversary Celebration at Omnibus a few years ago. The whole team at the Omnibus in fact; everyone is so lovely and supportive. There are so many other people I would mention if I could (and if I could remember who they all were); some who are friends and colleagues, and some within the industry who I don’t know well yet, who have been incredibly supportive of my work to date and continue to be. I had always hoped coming into the arts that I would be part of a generous and loving community; and I’m lucky to say I haven’t been disappointed yet.

Omniwrite is on Friday 16 September at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 | £10

More information and book tickets here

An Engine Room Q & A with… Tom Adams

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Tom Adams is the creator of  Elephant & Castle, one of three pieces debuting at Engine Room

Tom is a performer and composer who produces his own solo shows including Still Score and Howl at the Moon. He trained at Circomedia, Bristol to be a clown and has now worked with, among others, Red Herring Productions, Laura Mugridge, Field Trip and Miracle Theatre. He has composed music for Daniel Bye, Polka Theatre, Miracle Theatre and Katy Schutte. His work always mixes live music and theatre and his next project is called ‘Bookish’, a brand new theatre project with peformer Laura Mugridge.

www.tom-adams.co.uk

What is the piece about?

The piece is about Sleeptalking, sleepwalking and other parasomnias. I wanted to make a show about this subject because I sleep talk and walk most nights and have an app which records everything I say and do in the night. I thought these recordings could be used as material.
It is a Gig-Theatre show with live music at the core of the story telling. I am going to collaborate with performer and composer, Lillian Henley (1927 Theatre Company). Working with Lillian will be a totally unique experience as we are actually husband and wife, so she has a unique viewpoint as we share a bed. The show will be just as much about her experience as it is me.

Also, it is called ‘Elephant and Castle’ because one of the first things I said to her in my sleep was: “I want to get in a cupboard and take you to Elephant and Castle”.

How have you found the support at Omnibus?

Fantastic. Marie is simply wonderful and I am so glad to be an associate artist of Omnibus.

What’s next and how can people follow you?

I am currently touring a show called ‘Bookish’ (5 mini theatre shows, each one about a totally different book) around bookshops and libraries. Then I am playing an Ugly Sister in Cinderella. After that, we start making ‘Elephant and Castle’ proper. After that, I am making a solo show about my magician Dad called ‘Bolt’. You can follow me on Twitter @TomAdamsSeagull

Any shout outs?

Laura Mugridge is excellent. Buy Lillian Henley’s DVD ‘Make More Noise’ and her CD soundtrack to Regents Park production of ‘Pride & Prejudice’. Also, I like the musician Toscil.

Engine Room is on Thursday 15 September at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £5

More information and book tickets here

Tom de Freston at The Bow-Wow Shop (Orpheus Special)

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Tom de Freston’s Orpheus prints will be exhibited at Omnibus during the Bow-Wow Shop on Orpheus on Monday 5th September, starting at 7:30pm. Tom is one of Michael Glover’s guests exhibiting works around the theme of Orpheus. He is currently working on a graphic novel surrounding the same theme.

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Tom’s work often starts with a loaded source. In the past this has included paintings by Goya and Picasso, Shakespearian tragedies, Spencer’s ‘The Faerie Queene’, Ovid’s Orpheus and Eurydice, and Western presentations of conflict. He states that his “projects are often the result of cross-disciplinary collaborations with poets, academics, animators, filmmakers, musicians and theatre directors. In each case the collaboration is centered upon exploring the possibilities present in the source material, and how the conversations between the different media might generate a further engagement and expansion of the material.” This will be the case during the Bow-Wow Shop, when participants such as economist journalist Ann Wroe, who recently wrote a book on the Orpheus myth, poet Marius Kociejowski; Martyn Crucefix, who will be reading from his translations of Rilke’s sonnets to Orpheus; and Lita Manners and Paul Thomas, who have composed music around the theme.

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Tom de Freston is currently Cultural Fellow at University of Birmingham at Artistic Director at the Wellcome Trust funded Medicine Unboxed. Previous positions include Leverhulme Artist in Residence (Cambridge University) and Levy Plumb Artist in Residence (Christ’s College). Tom has had a long list of solo shows including at The Globe Theatre, The Other Place (RSC), Breese Little Gallery, Pallant House Gallery, the Bodleian Library, Battersea Arts Centre and the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum (Tokyo).

He has received major funding awards from the AHRC, Oxford University and Arts Council England. He has had four books published on his work and another four of his own books published, two of which received Saboteur Awards. His upcoming graphic fiction is being published by Bloomsbury in 2017.

Upcoming exhibitions and events include Stowe (the National Trust), Mount Stuart (Bute) and the Ashmolean Museum.

 

Praise for Tom de Freston’s works:

“They inspire in the reader/viewer the same sense of disquiet and dread and awe -because there is a beauty too. It’s like you’ve both breathed in his darkness and made it your own”Sir Anthony Sher on House of the Deaf Man.

“The installation of de Freston work creates a harmonious celebration in a Chapel where art, architecture, prayer and music come together to provide a deeply moving spiritual experience.” Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate

“Obsessed by images of humanity on the very edge of disintegration, Tom de Freston is audacious enough to convey our most haunted fears about a world struggling for survival in the twenty-first century.” Richard Cork, Art Critic

“I get exactly that feeling of bleak despair from Tom’s harrowing Lear paintings, powerful to encounter and difficult to live with.” Sir Trevor Nunn

“Tom de Freston has produced something quite unlike any book I have seen before. The pictures are disturbing, the poems challenging. There is a prodigal richness of talent allied to a tumultuously anarchic vision that demands – and finds – a quite new way of expressing itself.” Professor John Carey- literary critic for the Sunday Times.7gc