Torriano Meeting House

Torriano Meeting House outside

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


Commemorating György Krassó

You are cordially invited to our commemoration of György Krassó and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom fight
6pm Friday 20th of October
Russell Square, at Krassó’s tree, London WC1

Krassó founded the Hungarian Association of London at Torriano Meeting House

Out of his struggles, Kosuke Shirasu

Torriano Poetry, Sunday 15 October, 7.30pm. £5/£4 according to pocket. Poets from the floor welcome.

A bi-lingual reading from the work of poet and political activist, Kosuke Shirasu, (1905-1943), by the joint interpreters, Bruce Barnes and Jun Shirasu.

The reading is in the memory of the poet’s daughter Ichiko Shirasu

Kosuke Shirasu (1905-1943) was born in Tokyo, and worked as a journalist and pamphleteer. His involvement in the Japanese Communist Party was reflected in his work in Akita City, producing and circulating a newsletter for local workers as well as documenting the farmers’ riots against local landowners. In 1928 he joined NAPF, the All Japan Federation of Proletarian Arts, contributing to its official magazine, Battle Flag; by 1930 he had collected and published many of these contributions in his pamphlet Strike.

Proletarian writers such as Kosuke worked under extremely adverse conditions: state censorship, the mass arrests of communists and other political activists that began in 1928, and the impact on morale of the renunciation of communism by the Party’s two most experienced activists, Manabu Sano and Sadachika Nabeyama, in 1933.

His poems are influenced by European styles of free verse and often explore multiple perspectives; however his main concern appears to be a desire to record the day to day experience of workers in struggle.

The ‘interpretation’ process

Over a four year period, Jun Shirasu, the poet’s grandson, searched libraries and journals for Kosuke’s work and then shared his partial English translation with the co-author Bruce Barnes; a definitive interpretation was then developed through email exchange, and through Bruce Barnes background reading on the Japanese social history of the period, the development of Communism and the proletarian writers movement in Japan.

About Ichiko Shirasu

Ichiko Shirasu, the poet’s daughter, was the inspiration for the publication: a BBC World Service journalist, translator, and a polymath who kept faith with her father’s socialist principles by demonstrating them through her kindness and generosity. Sadly, her untimely death meant that she was unable to see her idea come to fruition.

1917: The Grassroots Working-Class Revolution that Lenin Crushed

1917, International Women’s Day, Petrograd, Russia

Talk. Thursday 5 October, 7-9pm. Free.

Many left-wing accounts of the Russian Revolution – such as Neil Faulkner’s recent book A People’s History of the Russian Revolution – distort the course of the revolution. Anarchists tend to fall in with the mainstream picture of a coup by a tightly-controlled Bolshevik Party. Trotskyists such as Faulkner see the October Revolution as an ultra-democratic uprising of ‘the people’. Scholars such as Alexander Rabinowitch have built up quite a different, complicated picture of both the Bolshevik Party and the October Revolution.

In this event, Peace News editor Milan Rai, author of a new booklet on the Russian Revolution, will explain how the Bolsheviks rode to power on a wave of popular outrage (benefiting from crucial mistakes by their Menshevik and SR opponents) and then crushed the grassroots workers’ revolution that had been one of the most important engines of social transformation. They were aided in their work by the radical wings of the Mensheviks and the SRs, and by quite a few anarchists.

Milan Rai is an anarchist and radical activist, and the author of Chomsky’s Politics (Verso, 1995) and War Plan Iraq (Verso, 2002) among other books. He is working on The Anarchist Reader for Verso.

Torriano Fun Palace


At our last Fun Palace a time machine was built, poetry was delivered from the top of a ladder, robots roamed the floor, Iraqi love songs were sung, telescopes were constructed, a mobile grew and grew, the beginning of the universe was pondered, thoughts were had, conversations were long, brains twitched, the spirit took flight, the soul had pleasure…and this year as we embrace the arts and science of the Russian Revolution something of the sort will grow again

Saturday 7 October, noon until 10 at night


Ladovsky’s 1921 drawing for a collective house, let’s build it!

Start of the autumn poetry season at Torriano

Sunday 3rd September  at 7.30pm.

Magma 68 reading: Anna Selby, Dawn Gorman, Joolz Sparkes, Nick Moss, David Gilbert and Michelle Penn
hosted by David Floyd

Poets from the floor welcome. Admission £5/£4 (according to pocket)


Torriano Film Society

Double Bill start 7pm Saturday the 22 of July

“Resonance – Beings of frequency”
“Emerald forest”

Free, donations welcome

Upcoming exhibition

Saad Mushatat 

17-28 March 2017

The artist thinks of himself as a product of the 1970’s, an era in Iraq that “was blessed with culture, art and creativity, (and) was very fundamental in shaping our lives,” he said.

Saad studied painting at Sir John Cass and Camberwell Schools of Art.

Evocation by John Nash, played by the composer at Torriano in 1989

Dedicated to John Rety and Susan Johns – founders of the Torriano Meeting House. This performance was part of a recital I gave at Torriano on 7th October 1989. Recorded on a pocket cassette machine held by a member of the audience. – John Nash

Torriano Poetry this Sunday

12th February 7.30. £5/£4 – Joan Michelson and Amali Rodrigo. Poets from the floor welcome

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