Monthly Archives: March 2014

‘Unplug the unnecessary’: Chill Pill’s Response to Earth Hour

Simon Mole and Mr Gee of Chill Pill created a spoken word response to Earth Hour, which appeared on The Guardian website today. The poem is inspired by news stories about the UN warning over the world’s food supplies and how lights were switched off at famous landmarks in cities around the world for Earth Hour.  Click on the image below to have a watch: 

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Chill Pill will be hosting and performing at Chill Pill: The Big One at the Albany on 24 April. For more information and tickets, click here.

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Resident Organisation of the Month: TV Edwards

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Our featured resident organisation this month is TV Edwards, a law firm dedicated to serving the community and providing excellent legal services to those who need it most.

TV Edwards, LLP was founded in 1929 by a man called Thomas Victor Edwards. Now run by his nephew, Anthony Edwards, TV Edwards has cultivated a national reputation for delivering first-class legal services, innovative IT development, and a strong dedication to the communities it serves.  TV Edwards has recently moved offices to join us here at the Albany, hoping to expand and enhance the delivery of holistic community-based legal advice on the doorstep of Deptford.

We recently spoke with Senior Partner, Anthony Edwards, about TV Edwards’ work and his motivation to serve the community.

What inspired you to go into law?

My first encounter with TV Edwards was when I was 5 years old and came to the office on Saturdays mornings, then located at Aldgate. I used to stamp the forms and then go on to watch football with my father. I came regularly to the office and before I went to university I spent nine months carrying my uncle’s bag around the East End as he went to courts and to see clients. My father was also in the office and with him I got to know the dockers for whom he worked. I became very fond of the East End and its remarkable and changing community.

At university I had a head start over my classmates, even including the first year lecturers as I had experienced the law in reality. When I graduated my father asked if I realised that I did not have to come in to the family firm. I thought he was mad- what else could I possibly want to do? I loved the law and the community of the East End.

In the 70’s we began to talk in terms of objectives and identified that as a firm we were there to meet all the needs of the local community, we were not alone, all over London small firms like JB Wheatley in Deptford (which we later merged with) were doing very much the same.

What case or element of TV Edwards’ work has been most rewarding?

I am often asked about my most interesting case. I find it very difficult to respond. In truth I like acting in hundreds of what may seem like small cases but make all the difference to an individual’s life. Many of the results do, from time to time, reduce me to tears- the High Court judge returning to a mother her child that had been “bought” before birth by a rich lawyer or the defendant treated with great unfairness by the police.

How does TV Edwards work towards the goal of giving back/serving the community?

Although my passion lies within criminal law, we have brought in keen and able lawyers who can provide all the services and skills we needed to a high standard. The recent series of mergers (with other firms) has been in anticipation of changes in contractual arrangements with the government through the reduced Legal Aid schemes. We will continue to help families with difficulties and a range of social welfare issues and the mentally ill. In every case there is a team of specialist lawyers who lead in their field. We spend a lot of time training new generations of lawyers.

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 Megan Bommarito, Marketing Intern, The Albany

 

 

 

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Uncover Music is all set for Amplify!

The Uncover Music Company of young music producers, promoters, DJs and musicians are all set to bring you another evening of eclectic new music with Amplify this Saturday 29 March with doors opening at 8pm.

Produced in collaboration with MC, DJ and producer Chunky, the line-up is sure to excite with Blue Daisy, Micall Parknsun and Planas being just a few of the headlining acts. Last week, the group sat down to record their first ever podcast featuring 90 minutes of everything from soul, reggae to hip hop with guest slots by Chunky and Illum Sphere, check it out:

 

 

Stay tuned this week for more behind-the-scenes coverage of the artists in Amplify.

To find out more about Amplify and to book tickets, click here. The first 50 bookers even win a free mystery vinyl from Deptford Market!

 

 

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Albany

What makes a theatre special? More specifically, what makes the Albany theatre unique from all the others? We sat down with our Technical Manager, Ben Wallace, to find out. He helped devise a list of all the technical things that make us different, and arguably more interesting than other London theatres and arts centres.

Alexander Wolfe, Live at the Albany

Alexander Wolfe Live at the Albany

1) First off, the shape of our theatre.

Our main theatre is not your average rectangular theatre. It is a 16-sided polygon called a ‘hexadecagon.’ It is more often referred to as a theatre-in-the-round though. All of the theatre spaces and some of the rooms for hire at the Albany are irregular in shape, including our Red Room, Studio and Cafe.

2) Our main theatre has a hugely versatile lighting rig.

With 144 channels of dimming, there are a lot of options for creating the perfect lighting for any show or event taking place in our main theatre.

3) Enormously flexible seating.

Our main theatre has an extremely flexible capacity. It holds up to 550 people standing, 290 people in rows and 200 in cabaret style. There are two levels of seating and the chairs are free-moving and therefore can accommodate any arrangement needed; perfect again for most any type of performance.

The same can also be said of our Red Room and Studio – there is absolutely no fixed seating anywhere at the Albany.

4) The grid, where all the technical magic happens, is located straight above the entire theatre space.

CircusBitesBack (credit Polstar Photography)

Circus Bites Back in the theatre

This again offers flexibility and creative freedom for productions to arrange sets in whatever manner needed or desired.

5) Our main theatre can record 48 channels of audio from the stage.

In laymen’s terms, this means we can record music quite well. Speaking of which, English singer-songwriter Alexander Wolfe‘s Skeletons was recorded live here, have a listen:

 

Alexander Wolfe recording live

Alexander Wolfe recording live

6) As an added bonus, our theatre bar is actually located inside the theatre on the second level.

Having the bar so close is rather convenient for our audiences who then don’t have to cram themselves down corridors to grab a drink or snack during intervals, however it can be a slight hindrance during performances when bar staff cannot clean up. Oh well… you win some, you lose some.

The current Albany building was rebuilt in 1981 following a fire, making it a 33-year-old Deptford fixture that really takes the local community to heart. All of these unique technical bits allow us to put on a varied and diverse mix of programming for our neighbouring audience, which means Ben and the rest of our technical team never have to do the same thing twice.

We hope you love our vastly flexible and distinctive theatre as much as we do!

Cabaret performance in the cafe.

Cabaret performance in the cafe

For more information on room hires and performance hire, please visit our website.

Allison Gold, Marketing Assistant, The Albany

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Arts Centre Model is Theatre’s Future

Gavin Barlow, Co-Chair of the National Partnership of Arts Centres and CEO of the Albany, explains the thinking behind the forthcoming Future Arts Centres event. You can find out more about the event here.

This article first appeared in The Stage on Thursday 6 March.

Arts venues of the future are sure to look very different to those of today. The clarion call from those in the political and economic seats of power is for organisations to pursue a far more dynamic model, both in terms of their sources of income, the diversity of their agendas and their output and points of engagement with their communities. In short these are social enterprises, concerned with social impact as much as artistic excellence. Or, more to the point, the coalescence of social impact and artistic excellence.

Theatres are responding to this challenge, as highlighted by Honour Bayes in her blog, ‘Theatres should be our new churches’. She writes about the Royal Court’s ‘Big Idea’ series, with specialist led discussions on a variety of topics widening the range of experiences available to audiences. Other examples include venues like the Birmingham Rep, situated within a shared public space with Birmingham Library, or Contact in Manchester, who place young people at the heart of everything they do.

Much of this dialogue has resonated with the leaders of arts centres. In many ways it feels like what is being proposed as the future model for theatres reflects what has existed within arts centres for a considerable time.  

Arts centres are typically alive with people from early in the morning to late at night. They provide a unique offering to their communities, often with an extensive range of services and platforms for engagement, meaning they attract those audiences the arts usually finds hard to reach. This flexibility of approach combined with the architectural design has allowed them to develop the kind of innovative and responsive business models which many theatres are now exploring.

While this may be easy to acknowledge, what is often missed is that the way arts centres operate has increasingly created fertile ground for artists to find new meeting points with audiences and new ways of creating work. Not producers in the classic sense, arts centres are nevertheless often the starting point now for producing surprising and wonderful work which resonates with audiences up and down the country.

Arts centres are often absent from the public discourse about the arts. They have suffered as a result of the very things that make them brilliant. Their diversity of output makes them difficult to categorise: funders find them difficult to place within their portfolios, and editors find them difficult to place on the pages of their newspapers. Because their impact is felt at a much more grassroots level than, for example, a celeb studded opening in central London, it’s easy for the story of the transformational impact arts centres have daily on the lives of local people to get lost in the national picture.

The National Partnership of Arts Centres, which I co-chair with Clare Connor of Stratford Circus and is formed of nine leading arts centres across the UK, came together to address these concerns. We believe that the experience of our organisations represents a rich, and currently underexploited, resource for the arts community more widely. We’re keen to prompt a wider debate about the role that arts centres can play, and to imagine what that role might be in the future. On 12th May, we are inviting arts centre leaders and others to an ‘open conversation’, Future Arts Centres, where we will explore why arts centres are so important to the cultural, artistic and social life of our towns and cities, and how we can challenge ourselves to go further.

We hope that by so doing we will begin to ensure that the voice of arts centres is properly heard, as we work as an industry to shape the venues of tomorrow.

Gavin Barlow, CEO, The Albany, and Co-Chair of the National Partnership of Arts Centres

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Follow Granny Dumpling down Deptford High Street…

Actress Sui-see Hung transforms into Granny Dumpling, taking us on an interactive culinary adventure through the shops of the high street, fetching ingredients along the way to prepare her signature dish! Yellow Earth Theatre‘s Granny Dumpling- Ba Banh It will be performed this Saturday only at 11.30am,  1.30pm  & 3.30pm.

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Written and directed by local writer Thanh Le Dang, Granny Dumpling follows the best dumpling maker in all of Deptford as she reveals her Vietnamese culinary secrets on a unique trip down Deptford High Street.

Thanh Le Dang grew up in the Vietnamese Chinese community in Deptford and Granny Dumpling explores the idea of ‘home’. It’s about a lost old lady trying to establish a home for herself. With little social benefits, she makes a humble living doing what she knows; making dumplings to sell to the local community network in a street corner and to the local supermarket ‘Lai- Loi’ (this unofficial economy actually exists). The journey is about an old lady trying to find her way home without her only daughter as she talks to her ‘little dumplings’.

This marks the second collaboration between Thanh and actress Sui-see Hung; they worked together previously on a piece called Theef that was developed for Yellow Earth’s new writing showcase Dim Sum Nights, and was voted audience favourite the night it was performed.

Find out more about Granny Dumpling- Ba Banh It and book tickets here. Ticket price includes food at Deli X.

Check out more production images (by photographer Lee Dang) below:

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Deanna Rodger’s ‘London Matter’ Is About to Hatch!

This Friday, celebrated spoken word artist and Chill Pill co-founder Deanna Rodger returns to the Albany as part of Hatched, our programme for supporting artists’ development. She will be presenting her first ever full-length theatre piece ‘London Matter’ this Friday, 7 March at 7pm, which explores the relationship between love and darkness, and ultimately aims to answer the question “why aren’t London’s lights ever switched off?”.

Deanna Rodger

Leading up to the one-night show, we sat down to ask her some questions of our own:

What was your first experience with spoken word?

Attending a workshop at Lyric Hammersmith in January 2007 and seeing Dean Atta and Joseph Coelho perform.

What inspired you to pose the question about London’s lights never switching off?

I was walking around at night a lot in summer 2012, going out and trying to shake myself from myself and I couldn’t. I couldn’t escape seeing myself. I wanted everything to switch off so that I could disappear. I wanted to become part of the universe. It got me thinking about how we connect with other people and how we trust.  I had called quits on a relationship, it was an emotional time.

What do you hope the audience will take out from this performance?

I hope that the story is clear.. There’s loads that I’ve put into this and this sharing will really be about the narrative. And really cool lighting, thanks to Ben! [Ben Wallace, our Technical Manager]

When you are conceiving a new piece, is there a method to your writing?

Madness! And acceptance of all the rubbish that comes with writing every little thing in my head.

If you could meet anyone throughout history, living or dead, who would it be? And most importantly what would you ask them?

Hmm, the first human to ever be in existence though I’m not sure that means I could ask them anything. I think I would like to ask the Queen what she thinks of homelessness in the 21st century.

Find out more about Deanna Rodger’s ‘London Matter’ and book tickets here. As tickets are now limited, you can also see Deanna in Chill Pill Big One on Thursday, 24 April at 7:30pm. 

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