Many of our projects come about from a casual conversation in the middle of something else - this was one of them. At a book launch I asked the area librarian at Lewisham Library if they were doing anything for Shakespeare400, and we got a bit excited about doing 'something'. This is that something. There is nothing in it for Arachne Press, not in the short term anyway - we do hope we will be publishing Jennifer A McGowan's poems in a book next year, but that's a long way off and we are doing this event just for the fun of it, and a delight in words (especially Shakespeare's) and music.
Midsummer (21st June, 7.30) because it was a time that was important to Shakespeare, and anyone who has much to do with Arachne knows we love a Solstice.
Manor House Library because it's a beautiful building with convenient steps to perform from and a lawn for groundlings to spread their picnic rugs. (If it rains we have the use of the very handsome Baring Room).
Free to the audience because we like to make everyone welcome and we have found that even a small fee reduces our audience by up to 2/3rds.
Words because it's what we at Arachne Press do:
Poems from Pat Tompkins, Alison Absolute, Shakespeare himself, Kim Russell, Sarah Lawson, Elinor Brooks and Jennifer A McGowan and a story from Lucy Ribchester, performed by a trio of actors, Katy Darby, Carrie Cohen and Saul Reichlin.
Music because Shakespeare's plays had music and songs in them, and because we LOVE music.
New song written by Rachel Bellman & Elizabeth Charlesworth performers to be confirmed.
Songs from Raise the Roof community choir, led by Kirsty Martin will sing songs of all ages inspired by Shakespeare.
Discover what’s in a name, and what you get when (almost) the complete works of Mr Shakespeare are reduced to Haiku. Five of Shakespeare’s women get their own poem, as does his mother, Juliet’s neighbour makes a complaint, one of Shakespeare’s sonnets gets turned on its head. The Illyria of Twelfth Night resurfaces in a story of modern-day refugees and find out where (and from whom) young Will stole his best lines and what Rosalind and Orlando’s wooing sounds like set to music.
Lewisham can't contribute more than the venue and distribution of fliers to all the libraries, and we have no budget at all. We would like to be able to pay the performers at least their expenses. We have 3 actors and 3 professional musicians, and by rights we should be paying them around £150 each. We have pitched our bid here at £50 a head plus a little on top to pay for promotional materials in the hope that we hit a modest target, and perhaps exceed it. If we do exceed our target it's simple, for every pound over the target the perfromers get closer to their proper fee, If we exceed that we will be able to give small thank you's to the non-professionals involved, and perhaps pay me for my time in organising the event.
We really hope that if it's logistically possible you will come to Midsummer Night in the Garden, (on 21st June 7.30) and share the experience, which we will video, so you'll be able to see how your generous contributions were spent, even if you can't make it on the day.
Here's what we have to offer as rewards:
Books! (Well, we are a publisher)
Pictures by one of our cover artists Kevin Threlfall:
We hope to add other rewards later in the crowdfund period, so if there's nothing here that grabs you, keep coming back to check.
Risks and challenges
We have a track record of running events, including several with Lewisham Libraries. They are being brilliant, and have already sourced us a PA system and checked the H&S aspects of performing on the steps. We have a backup room (lovely, elegant, but much smaller than the lawn) for if it rains, so our main risks are mitigated, although it would be a pity if we had to turn people away in the event of rain - we are investigating wether we can use the library main floor if the event is popular and it rains.
We are confident that our performers wil work for expenses, they have before- but we would really like to be able to pay them properly - they all deserve it.
- (24 days)