Torriano Meeting House

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Poetry Art Politics Community 

Torriano Meeting House  is a user-funded grass-roots volunteer-run arts and community organisation in Kentish Town. We are best known for our poetry events but we have many other long running strands including storytelling for adults, writing and storytelling workshops, hosting local political campaigning groups, theatrical events, left wing folk club, and we very much support grass-roots creativity and social change.  

Torriano is a space for you to organise events and projects.

“What is the purpose of resisting corporate globalization if not to protect the obscure, the ineffable, the unmarketable, the unmanageable, the local, the poetic and the eccentric? So they need to be practiced, celebrated and studied too, right now.” – Rebecca Solnit
 

Ágnes Hay: Dancing letters

Exhibition of creative lettering, all December.

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Michael Wedgwood

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A Torriano benefit

Blue Blouse

Sat 14 Dec 7.30 for 8pm
The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor present Blue Blouse . A performance inspired by 1920s Soviet agitprop. With seasonal jollity and refreshments. Collection: lots of money in the hat please!

The Blue Blouse (Синяя блуза) theatre troupe were an influential agitprop theatre collective in the Soviet Union, created by Boris Yuzhanin under the auspices of the Moscow Institute of Journalism. They were an important theatre movement, now long forgotten. They thrived between 1923 and 1927, when they merged with the Workers Youth Theatre.

At the time of their disappearance the Blue Blouse movement had 5,000 companies with more than 100,000 members across the Soviet Union.blue blouse

Edmund Prestwich and Ian Pople

Sunday 3rd November Torriano Poetry, 7.30pm. £5/4.

Guest poets Edmund Prestwich and Ian Pople.

ed prestwichEdmund Prestwich was brought up in South Africa and came to England at fifteen. He studied English at both Oxford and Cambridge and is now a teacher at Manchester Grammar School. His poems are peopled equally by people from South Africa and Greece (or Cyprus). Publications include Their Mountain Mother (Hearing Eye, illustrated by Emily Johns) and Through the Window (Rockingham Press).

Ian Pople was born in Ipswich. He was educated at the British Council, Athens and the Universities of Aston and Manchester. His first book of poetry, The Glass Enclosure, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted ian-poplefor the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second collection, An Occasional Lean-to, was published by Arc in 2004. Saving Spaces was published by Arc in 2011. He teaches at the University of Manchester.

Readers from the floor welcome.

Médecins Sans Frontières fundraiser

ruthA sale of original textiles, framed photographs and cards by Ruth Ingram

Saturday 12th, and l9th October 2.30. – 6.p.m. and Sunday 13th, and 20th October 2.30 – 6.p.m.

All purchased items can be taken away immediately. Prices between £10 – £ 35 (cash or cheques)

Launch of poetry pamphlet, Travelling Light, by Frances Galleymore

Saturday October 12th, 6-8pm

Long-time resident of Highgate, Frances Galleymore was a professional writer all her adult life, producing novels, short stories, reviews, television scripts, screenplays and, from 2006, poetry. In September this year, two years after her death in June 2017, she will be in print again, as a pamphlet of some of her work is published by Poetry Salzburg under the title Travelling Light, the poems selected and edited by fellow poets Isabel Galleymore – Frances’s niece – and Fred Beake.

Copies of the collection will be on sale, and there will be readings by Isabel, Fred and other poets of note. Frances was a member of Highgate Poets until leaving London in 2013; another Highgate Poet, Norbert Hirschhorn, describes how, with Travelling Light,

“Frances … takes us by the hand through the thickets and ambushes of life with a tender lyricism, magical, sometimes even funny.” Robert Peake declares that “In the brief time we are given, one could do far worse than to journey so lightly, yet so keenly aware, as she has done throughout these poems.”

Admission to the event is free. A place can be reserved by registering with Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-of-frances-galleymores-travelling-light-tickets-71246549347

Saturday 5 October 10.57am – 9.57pm

“Imagine a place where the latent genius in all of us becomes ripe, expresses itself and communicates with others.

A place where the human mind and human creativity explore the arts and the sciences for the delight of being alive.

No certificates are awarded at this university, no prospectuses have to be printed, no students have to bribed to study, there is no fear of ‘outcomes’.

This place is also a nursery, a laboratory, a music hall and a kitchen.

Since 2014, Fun Palaces have been built all over Britain and have spread across the oceans as far as Dar es Salaam, British Colombia and New Zealand.

Presently, Fun Palaces exist only for a day or a weekend at the beginning of each October and their fabric is made of constructions of the imagination erected within the bricks and mortar of host buildings.

The Fun Palace was conceived by theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price in 1961. It was an idea that a new sort of building could break down the exclusion exuded by institutions, that it would be a revolutionary, fluid space which never grew stale and which enabled and responded to the energies and flows of the community.

Joan wrote: ‘we are going to create a university of the streets – not a gracious park, but a foretaste of the pleasures of the future. The “Fun Arcade” will be full of the games that psychologists and electronics engineers now devise for the service of industry, or war.

‘Knowledge will be piped through jukeboxes…. An acting area will afford the therapy of theatre for everyone: men and women from factories, shops and offices, bored with their daily routine, will be able to re-enact incidents from their own experience, wake to a critical awareness of reality…. But the essence of the place will be informality – nothing obligatory – anything goes.

‘There will be no permanent structures. Nothing is to last more than 10 years, some things not even 10 days: no concrete stadia, stained and cracking, no legacy of noble contemporary architecture, quickly dating…. With informality goes flexibility.’

Cedric Price designed the aviary at London Zoo and hugely influenced architects to think about the politics of communities and their relationship to structures. He never got to build the Fun Palace but it remained an powerful vision.

In 2014, writer and performer Stella Duffy wanted to celebrate the centenary of Joan Littlewood’s birth by setting up a campaign for cultural democracy where the spirit of Littlewood and Price’s dream would be continued.

The idea is that anyone anywhere can build a Fun Palace and invite the neighbours in because curiosity, creativity and conversation are inside all of us. Culture is what happens when people come together.

I have been part of creating Fun Palaces at Torriano. I have found there is an exquisite pleasure in trusting that culture happens all by itself. A pleasure in overcoming the doubt that is manifested in scheduling, providing, entertaining, fundraising, teaching.

Stepping into a Fun Palace is a free-fall down a rabbit hole and on landing you discover you have arrived in the best possible place for being human.”

Emily Johns

Torriano Fun Palace

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