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