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Our Actors Alive trip to The Globe

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Our Actors Alive Jack Petchey Winner Lara tells us all about her recent trip to the Globe

Hi! My name is Lara, and I was the winner of the 2016 Jack Petchey award. If you win the award, your drama group gets some money, and the winner gets to decide what to spend it on. I chose to spend it on a behind the scenes trip to the Globe Theatre and this is what we did there.

Our tour guide was the Technical Director of the theatre. We first went up to “heaven” which is a space above the stage, with a trap door which many actors have been lowered through. After that we went down to an area where some props were being stored and entered a huge lift that took us down to the stage. We went up to ‘Juliet’s balcony’ and saw down onto the stage. It was easy to imagine how terrifying it would be to perform there! We went on to the stage and delivered some famous lines from Shakespeare.

Globe Benches

The scariest thing we did was go down to ‘Hell’, which is the space underneath the stage. It was extremely cramped and claustrophobic, but seeing the trapdoor and sticking our heads out was probably the highlight of the trip. Next, we went to see the costume and prop stores. They were both piled high with strange items, some costing hundreds of pounds! We were allowed to try on some hats and see how we looked, and also got to pick up two different swords. They were extremely heavy and luckily not sharp, but our tour guide said that if you sharpened the blade, it would be exactly like the kinds of swords they had in the Elizabethan times!

Hat Globe

I really enjoyed the trip to the Globe, and I think everyone else did too. I am definitely very happy with the way I chose to spend the money, and I can’t wait to do our production of Romeo and Juliet this March.

 

 

A Q&A with… Diana Burton

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Omnibus are currently exhibiting work by Diana Burton, an artist who works with a unique material.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My love of Textiles and making in general came from my Mother, who taught me how to knit and stitch. I recently completed an MA in Textiles at Chelsea College of Arts. The course enabled me to get back in touch with making as an artist. It also expanded my knowledge of sustainability and instilled a responsibility to consider how we can place at the centre of our practice, an ethical and moral approach to producing as artists, designers and makers, so that we can make better choices about our consuming

Why did you choose umbrellas as material for your work?

I think umbrellas chose me! An uncanny encounter with a discarded broken umbrella evoked memories of lived experiences.  A deeply personal project emerged and I began to photograph discarded umbrellas where they lay. The urban site is like a graveyard for broken umbrellas. The detritus of material culture in general, can invade our sense of ‘all is well’ and evoke an element of dystopia. For me, discarded umbrellas represent a sense of ‘all is not well’ and are a metaphor for broken bodies and those who are discarded by society.  After photographing the found umbrellas, I collect and re purpose them into hybrid, bio-mechanical sculptural forms that aim to replicate the disturbing initial encounter.

What are the challenges of working with umbrellas?

One challenge is collecting a greater volume of umbrellas so that I can create sculptures on a larger scale. So it needs to rain much more! I enjoy the practical challenges of working with umbrellas. It has become quite a cathartic process, which enables my relationship to umbrellas to shift and evolve. Sometimes they can look foreboding and repulsive evoking trepidation and at times they are a thing of beauty with their enterprising mechanism and sculptural form.

What’s next for you as an artist?

I have just finished an MA and I am hoping for more opportunities to exhibit my work, so I am engrossed in collecting and making. I am also currently preparing a PHD proposal and looking for a position as artist in residence.

A Storyteller’s Experience

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On the last Thursday of every month we meet up and six storytellers share their tales in front of a live audience.

Last month Sudeshna Choudhury told an inspiring and poignant story about the little things that can have huge effects on others and on the world. She felt inspired to write to our hosts – Laurel Lefkow and James Richardson – about her experience on the So, This Is What Happened… stage.

Dear Laurel and James,

Thanks very much to both of you for inviting me and organising such a wonderful event – you are both truly the quiet unsung heroes of the storytelling story!

I absolutely loved my first Omnibus storytelling event! It was a super evening and every one of the amazing storytellers were so different with a different style, yet gave us so much insight into their world and charmed us with their unique stories. There was a whole world covered within the six stories!

The venue and audience were all delightful and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my story and so glad everyone liked it! I loved all the other stories and thought my fellow storytellers were courageous and generous and such fun! And I thank each one of them for making this an evening to remember!

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I hope to see you all soon again and enjoy listening and telling more stories. I really believe proper true storytelling is an endangered species and is only slowly recovering thanks to dedicated storytelling lovers like you.

I think storytelling as an artform is not as appreciated enough, as it should be, considering it to be totally vital in our society to keep us human and connected to ourselves and others, create goodwill and love, and a wonderful source of guidance, insight, wisdom, inspiration and fun!

Think of Thomas’ deep and humorous insights into the fascinating world of law and its ethics which he experienced and battled with, Juliette’s family world of love and connection to the outside world by being less rich and trusting the universe to provide, Frederick’s humorous but very insightful world into humans being neither too bad or too good and guidance for life from unorthodox sources in a world of stag parties, banking and bank robbers, and Yaron’s moving account of his battle to understand and overcome the human condition of depression with wisdom, patience and love that is inspiring in his triumph over it. Mine was of course about the positive domino effect of proactive encouragement and praise to change people’s lives for the better globally or locally from our little corners of our worlds.

Storytelling is also important in how it connects the younger generations to the older ones especially in learning the stories of their families’ history.

Or indeed of the world of the older generations (like in Roddy’s fascinating story of the ordinary people in Estonia during the upheaval of USSR at important historical moments, but which was also about the indefatigable human spirit and hope in difficult times). So storytelling must continue to be encouraged and fresh air blown through the small fire sticks that are our current storytelling efforts till it becomes a big cheerful crackling fire to keep everyone going!

Good luck in all your endeavours and naturally I bless you all for your wonderful storytelling efforts ongoing!

Sudeshna x

Next month’s So, This Is What Happened… is on Thu 24 November.

BOOK TICKETS


Interested in telling your story? Get in touch: enquiries@omnibus-clapham.org

A Perception Fest Q & A with… Artist Femke Fredrix

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Belgian-born Femke Fredrix studied Autonomous Design at KASK Ghent, during which she took part in an exchange program with Jesko Fezers studio, Experimental Design at HFBK Hamburg. Her affecting work focuses on an interdisciplinary mix between video art, textile, performance and sound.

Where are you from?

I am from Belgium, Ghent.

How did you come to be an artist?

Ever since my childhood I have enjoyed the feeling of being surrounded by different forms of creative expression. The desire to create my own artistic work grew naturally upon me through this creative input.

What has inspired you to create this series of work?

E(u)phemeral Map is the first collaboration between Jana Pacheco and myself. The work is strongly inspired by concepts distilled from our conversations about previous work on one hand and the space and context that brought us together on the other. The latter was a one-month artist residency facilitated by Agora Collective in Neukölln Berlin.

Who is your favourite artist and why?

I’m not sure if I really have one. However, I do feel that Bill Viola’s exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, 2014, remains one of the most overwhelming and inspiring experiences I have had with a whole oeuvre of an artist so far.

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

I fear I might have to resort to a cliché for this question but I would simply tell these aspiring creatives to stop hoping or wishing and simply start creating. Moreover, I would stress the importance of starting from a subject or action one is really, really passionate about.


 

Femke’s short film ‘E(u)phemeral Map’ will be on display at Omnibus during Perception Festival: Voyage in October. See the full programme. 

Perception Festival: Voyage

Mon 10 – Sun 16 Oct

#perceptionfest16

More information here

A Q&A with… Jon McCormack, illustrator

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Jon McCormack is an illustrator whose work is currently on display at Omnibus. His black and white prints show a mysterious and mischievous world, high in detail and significance. Find out more about him at jmcillustration.com and instagram.com/jmcillustration

 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an Irish illustrator who has being living and working in London for the past three years. Originally I studied film and television production before going on to work as a storyboard artist. Then I started to branch out into illustration and worked on an Irish children’s book series called Vroom-Town. I enjoyed working for other people but I found that my style was really generic and nondescript. There wasn’t really any of my personality in the work I was doing so I decided to move to London to do an MA in Illustration at UAL Camberwell. The two years I spent at Camberwell were exactly what I needed. I’ve learned so much, especially from my fellow classmates who are so talented and diverse in their approach to illustration. I’ve only just graduated from the MA so I’ll be returning to Ireland for a short period to begin on some new work.

 What interests you about your chosen art form?

The best thing about illustration nowadays is that it can be found in many places; editorial, comics, picture books, gaming, multimedia, etc. There is a vast spectrum of outlets to showcase your work and the ability to have an online presence makes it easier to connect with others. When I studied film I felt very limited in terms of what I could achieve based on my passion and my skill sets but now I feel that there are many avenues available for me to take.

What are your motivations behind the art you produce?

I like to draw things that are strange and uncanny. I was always into fantasy and such and I enjoy anything that has a world and narrative I can get lost in. Film and animation are a strong influence for me and I especially like to create mood and atmosphere that give you a sense of place. Telling one story has its merits but creating a world where many stories can happen is more interesting to me.

How do you work when creating prints like the ones on display?

Humour is also a very important tool for me to endear my work to others. An absurd image or cartoon often feels more honest to me than other things I do and if it makes me laugh then I’ll put it out there. This can backfire sometimes – you don’t want people laughing for the wrong reasons!

Normally I draw and outline on paper and then scan and assemble on my computer. I used to use Photoshop a lot to create artwork before I did the MA but now I love using all kinds of drawing media and piecing them together digitally. I enjoy mixing the charm of hand drawn imagery with the efficiency of digital software. There are still many processes that I want to explore, such as printmaking, and I feel it’s very important to keep things fresh and moving in that sense.

 Which print that is on display at Omnibus is your favourite and why?

My favourite is the cat with the diamond eyes! It’s based on the Cat Sídhe from Irish mythology, which is sort of a fairy or spectre that takes the form of a black cat and steals the souls of the recently departed. I just like the attitude of it – the eyes and the stance are slightly sinister but also kind of silly. It was exactly how I pictured it in my head so I think that’s why I like it the most.

 What has been the most exciting moment of your artistic career to date?

I suppose being accepted for the MA was the most exciting moment for me as it validated the potential I had to be a working artist. Before I only really considered myself somebody who could competently draw for other people but now I realise there is much more I can offer. Now that it’s over, I’m excited to showcase more confident work and see where it takes me.

 

Pop in and see Jon McCormack’s work on display for the next few weeks!

A Q&A with… Erica Echenberg, Punk Photographer

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Erica Echenberg’s punk photographs are exhibited at Omnibus until Oct 7. They depict a fast moving and fast changing world, populated by familiar faces and interrogative stares.

Which is your favourite picture displayed in the exhibition and why?

One of my favourite pictures in the exhibition is the PUNK POGO shot. It was taken at the Roxy Club (Covent Garden) in 1977, and you can see that most of the audience have moved back to let the kids do their mid air dance. Pogoing became part of the ritual at a punk gig along with spitting (gobbing) and amazing homemade fashion. This picture shows the excitement and innocence of the time and how well the audience behaved. A young Shane MacGowan is the third punk pogoing on the right, in mid air. He later became famous as a member of The Nipple Erectors and then collaborating with Kirsty MacColl.

Do you think this type of photography could be done today?

I do NOT think that this type of photography could be done today. I think that this type of photography was unique to it’s time. There was a youthful innocence during this period that made the pictures more unique and special. It was not ‘selfie’ times when everyone wants their pictures taken and then start to pose for the shots. These were black and white years when a young new musical movement was being invented and tested for the first time and no one knew what was about to happen or what the future held. My equipment was basic and roll film was expensive so I had to try to make each shot count. Then the roll of film had to be developed in my tiny kitchen (which doubled as a darkroom) and printed from an enlarger onto photographic paper and dried on the floor! If I had enough money I would go to Joe’s Basement in Soho to get them developed and make a contact sheet to see the images in a positive format. This all took time and was not immediate as photography is today.

How would you describe the nights at the Roxy?

The nights at the Roxy were short but sweet. Only 100 days. I was lucky enough to be part of the scene and that made it possible for me to take pictures when I wanted and to record this unique time. I never experienced violence or trouble and there was a camaraderie which was very special. We were in a unique small group of kids with similar thoughts, love of music and experiences of good times.

What are they highlights of your photography career?

The highlights of my photography career are too numerous to mention as every time I went out to take photographs, some wonderful event would happen or I would meet interesting characters along the way. Working for Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Sounds, Record Mirror and later Kerrang! were wonderful times as well, as it gave me an platform to show my work and to get invited to amazing places. It was hard times too as the equipment was heavy and venues were far apart so tubes and buses were taken late at night. There were deadlines to be met which was always a challenge. But to be published and have a my name credit was a wonderful feeling when you were young and getting started.

What attracted you to being a photographer?

My father was a great photographer and picture taking was his hobby which he loved. This love of images and visuals he thankfully passed on to me. I went to Art college in Montreal, Canada and was inspired by my photography teacher there who had worked in the music business. I moved to London and started working for Ian Dickson who was a Rock photographer and became his assistant. I made contacts and was asked to take pictures for the magazines and then photography became my work and my life.

What do you miss about the Punk scene? What don’t you miss?

I do miss the innocence and magic of the early punk scene. Those were fast and furious times and I met so many amazing people, many of whom are still around today making music, taking pictures or being artistic. There seemed to be a lot of talent and freedom then and it let us start up bands, publish fanzines and invent fashion and to be who ever you wanted to be. Also women got a look in finally. We were no longer in the background but were now singing up on stage, shooting pictures and creating a special female bond and style.

Find out more: http://punk.london

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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