Meetup Report Saturday 24th March

Enthusiastic messages are already flying in about the Bath Writers & Artists inaugural afternoon meetup in the Duncan Room. ( I have reported on the Morning Workshop on this separate linked Page. ) Our special guests, Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Cherry  Beath, and Betty Suchar, Chair of Management of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution arrived with admirable precision exactly on 2pm to the already packed Duncan Room and from that moment, we were non-stop energy and activity until 5.15pm. This photograph by Keynsham photographer Matt Prosser shows Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Cherry Beath, with Taunton writer and director, Graeme Ryan who lead the group performance of Building the Kelston Barn.Chair Cherry Beath & Director Graeme Ryan


After the Book Table readings, which will be a regular feature of the meetups this year, Tessa Strickland, William Heath and Matt Prosser gave a compelling overview of the iconic local arts space Kelston Barn.  Matt’s presentation of his printed Passport-Tessa-Stricklandphotographs, individual slides and very atmospheric slideshow, as well as being so compelling in themselves,  really brought home to us the possibilities of being able to meet in a building which offers us these technical facilities.  Matt’s links are on this blog, and his Kelston photographs will be appearing in later posts once I have explored his Dropbox link.  It is a blessing for those of us who need occasional publicity photographs to have met and spent time with such a congenial and relaxed photographer.    Matt was also on hand to photograph the Chair of the Council for us, which will be warmly welcomed by Bath and North East Somerset Council who are already such kindly supporters of our new group.


Matt Prosser who took the March 24th photographs on this post

Having expanded our official title to include photography, we next saw it expand again, to embrace the vocal talents of Andrew Lawrence and Phil Shepherd, who had mastered Patrick Kavanagh’s Raglan Road at very short notice to bring melody into our afternoon. Time confined their performance to two verses, but I am hoping to persuade them to return on one of the afternoons when singer/songwriter  Miranda Pender is up from Sherborne, so that song can play a larger part in that particular afternoon.  Andrew Lawrence has been offering his many skills and talents to the World War One programmes for several years.  It was a great addition to our meetup that he was willing to share them so generously with our new group.

‘Building the Kelston Barn’, the collaborative poem which arose from last September’s Bathscape workshop, became, under Taunton poet Graeme Ryan’s confident direction, an extraordinary performance experience involving the whole room. I hope some of the people who shared this truly remarkable event will write something of their own in the comments box below this post.

These two photographs by Keynsham photographer Matt Prosser show the Bath Writers & Artists working with director Graeme Ryan on the first ever group performance of Building the Kelston Barn.


Building the Kelston Barn 1Building the Kelston Barn 2

 Sue, Chris and Dave Sims’ moving tribute to Dr Mark Sims closed our afternoon.  As with the Kelston Barn presentation

Scan copy it was wonderful to have the facilities to follow Mark’s story through photographs and film. His was an inspiring life and we were all deeply moved that the family shared so much of their journey and so many of their memories and were able to bring us so closely into their circle of love, and grief, and loss.



Chair Cherry Beath & Writer Rosie JacksonAs well as the morning workshop participants, and the people mentioned above, it was a great pleasure to share this afternoon with  Sara Butler, Claire Coleman, Beverley Ferguson, Brian Goodsell, Dawn Gorman, Margaret Heath, Caroline Heaton, Rosie Jackson, Michael Loveday, Ruth Marden, Phil Shepherd, Conor Whelan, Jude and Florrie Wisdom, and all the other friends of our new project who came to join us for this inaugural meeting in the Duncan Room.        This photograph by Keynsham photographer shows Councillor Cherry Beath with Frome writer Rosie Jackson who was one of the original contributors to Building the Kelston Barn.



3 comments on “Meetup Report Saturday 24th March

  1. clairedyer says:

    What an amazing afternoon of collaboration and performance. Watching the Kelston Barn poem unfold was a rare treat. The Sims’ family launch of Mark’s book was profoundly moving. The whole event was stunning and it was an honour to be part of it.


  2. Every part of the afternoon worked really well – thank you everyone and especially Sue for immaculate programming. I thought the performance of ‘Raglan Road’ was especially magical. I also join with Claire in thanking the Sims family for sharing the launch of Mark’s book with all of us.


  3. artemisandbear says:

    I enjoyed every moment of this original and creative event; it was wonderful to be part of the bringing to life of the barn and the hill through a collective performance. Thank you, everyone!


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