It's a blessing when a road is closed down and turned over to the community. The first of four Walworth street festivals took place on Liverpool Grove on 1st July and the charming spire of St Peter’s looked down on each and all. It was thoroughly well organised by our very own John Whelan and the Walworth Society. Every stall holder or performing act added to the vibrant cultural mix and micro economy. Special thanks to all the volunteers on the day - including Manuela who helped out at our stall.
The Peoples Company and I had teamed up to promote performance and art. It was a pleasure to engage local residents and chat about the Melodramatic Elephant art project. Several residents recalled hazy memories of the Coronet when it was an ABC cinema. All bar one expressed a sadness that the venue is earmarked for demolition - that dissenting voice recalled the smoky decrepit furnishings of a flea pit cinema at the fag end of the 1970s.
One exciting lead for our project came from Jeremy Leach, Walworth Society member and Paul William Fleming, Labour councillor for the Faraday Ward. It appears there may be one or two centenarian residents who were former thespians and who might be able recall the venue when it was the Elephant and Castle Theatre back in the 1920s. If anyone is reading this now, who has had a positive or negative experience of the building when it was a theatre, cinema or current live music and events venue, then please do not hesitate to contact me or John Whelan. We are capturing peoples experiences and life-stories as inspiration for the stage play we are staging about the history of the Coronet in November 2017.
Back to the art of the day. Our stall had a model of the Coronet building and we invited children to draw characters and make scenic backdrops that could be used inside the model. We also had some face masks that were used by the People's Company at our last work shop. It never fails to impress me how creative children can be without needing to think too deeply or fret about what they are doing. These simple outline drawings made in 5-15 minutes are the root of professional art. Are we witnessing the future creatives in a distinguished lineage from Charlie Chaplin to John Boyega, Lynette Hemmant to Florence Welch? Each and all, Southwark born and bred.
On a related note, are you interested in acting, singing, directing or production? Connect with the People's Company who are based at Southwark Playhouse and offer free workshops every Tuesday evening for adults over 25 years old. There is also a young company for 14-25 year olds.
Art work by volunteer, Manuele Machine: "Enjoy your life!"
Stephen Hyam who stopped by to pick up an image of Chaplin - he's a big fan of Morrisey as well!
A mum and her daughter visited our stall and together made these drawings and wrote this text. Sorry, I didn't get your names. If you see this, please contact me, so I can let the world know who created these lovely drawings.
Junior and mum, Liliana, gave us a lot of fun and abstract art that turned into love hearts.
Spider Man, spider man, spins an oil pastel, very fine.
Sorry mum, didn't get you or your son's name. Please contact me.
Little Mix at the Coronet as imagined by Kayley and Kaiya Reffell. Apologies as I didn't have time to take your photo. Next time!
Joshua and Jada Jasmina with a great magic act scene being performed at the Coronet.
Reflecting the views of artists, actors, residents
and participants in
The Melodramatic Elephant in the Haunted Castle.
An art project about the Coronet from 1872-2017.
Past present future
Music and animation
Euan Vincent on Horror
Tiberius Chis on Chaplin
Final Curtain Call
Directing and acting
Jacko at the Coronet?
Ale and steak pies
This Is Where I Came In
Pollock's Toy Museum
Adventure with the Mayor
Reach for the stars
Ghost of Marie Henderson
Shop till the zombie drops
Faith, Hope and Charity
Singing and sketching
History and legacy
Dark Side of Metropolis
Walworth Street Festival
Interview with Sam Porter
Blood and Thunder
Culture and Capital