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The Albany receives Arts Council National Portfolio funding

Today we are pleased to announce that our funding as part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio will continue from 2015 -2018 at current levels, as is the case for 75% of National Portfolio Organisations. We will also receive £437,175 funding towards refurbishing our main theatre space. 

Congratulations are also in order for Albany resident companies. Entelechy Arts have received a funding uplift this year from £60,000 to £80,000 – one of less than 10% of National Portfolios to receive an uplift.  A five further resident companies will also be part of the National Portfolio: Apples & Snakes, Heart n Soul, Kali Theatre, Poetry London and Spread the Word.

‘We are delighted that, at a time of huge pressure on arts and culture funding, the Albany has been recognised by Arts Council England as part of the National Portfolio.

The Albany is a model for the arts centre of tomorrow: a social enterprise with community at its heart, delivering transformational artistic experiences for all. This award will allow us to continue offering creative spaces and experiences that speak to, and reflect, the lives of the diverse communities of South East London.’

Gavin Barlow, CEO, the Albany

For the full story, click here.

 

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Resident Organisation of the Month: Apples and Snakes

This month’s featured resident organisation is Apples and Snakes, the leading organisation for performance poetry in England, with a national reputation for producing exciting and innovative participatory and performance work. By working with highly creative individuals across the country, Apples and Snakes seeks to nurture, support, and create opportunities for emerging talent and push the boundaries of the art form, artists, and audiences.

Founded in 1982 by a group of poets, Apples and Snakes sought to create more opportunities for performance poetry and be the voice of those who have been marginalised and disenfranchised. In 2002, the organisation made the transition to a national organisation and currently has programme co-ordinators in London, the North East, the South East, the South West, and the West Midlands.

Apples and Snakes’ programming has included incredible performances such as Jawdance, a poetry open mic night, and My Deptford, a celebration of the diversity and culture of Deptford at the Southbank Centre. Their upcoming production, Telling Tales, featuring award-winning UK poet Patience Agbabi, is a re-imagining of Chaucer’s masterpiece The Canterbury Tales. Renaissance One recently sat down with Patience to discuss it:

What 3 words would you say best describe you?

Imaginative, impatient, impassioned.

Tell us a little about your new book Telling Tales.

It’s a modern version of The Canterbury Tales, each story told by a unique character from ladette to ‘ladies’ man’.

You’ll also be touring Telling Tales;  what kinds of events are you going to do and what do you enjoy most about spoken word?

I’ll be doing two kinds of events: arts centres with blatant sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and cathedrals, with covert sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.  Spoken word can connect on lots of different levels, much more than a traditional reading. The words fly straight from the mouth to the heart of the audience with no page in between. That’s the beauty of spoken word.

Which artists have influenced you the most and why?

George Szirtes, Michael Donaghy and Paul Muldoon for form; Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage for half-rhymes and accessibility; Jackie Kay for monologues and Black British perspective; Pascale Petite for imagery; Sharon Olds for honesty and reinventing the poetic line…and that’s judge the living poets. To answer this question in 20 words is impossible. There are times when form really does overconstrict a writer.

What’s an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a creator and performer?

If it works on the page, it will work on the stage. If I believe in the writing it fuels the performance.

What are you most passionate about? (doing/achieving/working)

Inspiring young people and enabling women to reach their full potential through my writing.

Where would you say your style of performing comes from?

It comes directly from the poem, knowing it off by heart and performing straight from the heart.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written? and why?

I’ve just written it.

Does current affairs or popular culture influence your writing and performing, and if so, in what way(s)?

The recession has permeated my recent work; and a huge range of music, film and visual art. It makes the writing richer, multi-dimensional.

 Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you, and how we can find out more about it.

I’m working with The Full English on a Chaucer Teaching Pack, to enable The Canterbury Tales to feature more widely on the curriculum. I got properly into writing poetry studying The General Prologue and the Pardoner’s Tale for A’ Level. I’ve always enjoyed narrative poetry headed by a strong character.

What’s your experience been of making inroads in the spoken word and/or music industry?

Living in a large city helps!  Pre-internet, when I was starting out, I attended loads of live events in London because it was exciting and I wanted a context for my own work. Even now, you can’t beat networking face to face.

Patience Agababi image

Telling Tales is here for one performance only on Wednesday 21 May, 8pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Megan Bommarito, Marketing Intern, The Albany

 

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Welcome to our Blog

The Albany is a different kind of arts organisation. Like many arts venues, we have a cracking programme of live events to sink your teeth into: from the best spoken word artists appearing at regular nights, a diverse theatre programme of work from some of Britain’s best theatre companies, regular events for families and kids, music, comedy and club nights – the building is never quiet for very long!

But that’s only a small part of what we do. We are truly, and quite radically, driven by the idea of being a community arts centre, and that means so many of the activities that go on within the walls of the Albany, at our sister venues Canada Water Culture Space and Deptford Lounge, and indeed out and about in Deptford and further afield, are rather more ‘below the radar’. But we think they are an extremely important part of who we are and what we do, and we think it’s vital that they make up a part of the picture of what the Albany is all about.

Many won’t know, for example, about the rich array of resident companies that we have within the Albany building- like performance poetry maestros Apples and Snakes, Heart ‘n’ Soul, an arts organisation with learning disability culture at its heart, and the Independent Theatre Council. Or that we have a (semi) regular market stall in Deptford Market, the incredibly bustling, diverse market that pops up on our doorstep every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (where shoes are ‘three pound each; two for a fiver’). Or that we have chickens in residence in our beautiful garden (OK, we’re pretty obsessive about telling people about those already…).

The blog will play a part in building this richer picture of what we do. We’ll peek behind the scenes, and chat to actors, artists and other company members about what they’re working on. We’ll share videos and photographs of what we’re getting up to. Most importantly we’ll give a voice to the people that engage with our work – like the participant in Meet me at the Albanyour day club for over 60s, who wrote a wonderful poem about her experiences here, or our Uncover Youth Theatre’s hilarious video spoofs of cookery shows.

We also plan to use the blog to share some of the expertise and experiences of those working in the Albany building, and to comment on wider issues relevant to the arts and to the local community.

Most importantly, though, we want our blog to be a forum for discussion, to help us learn more about our audiences and communities. Please do leave your comments and questions, and let us know what the Albany means to you.

And remember you can tweet us or connect with us on Facebook.

Gavin Barlow, CEO, The Albany

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