Adult Learners.

Up Your Street promotes free activities for seniors around The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Seniors ranging from 60 to 85 years young received their personalised Adult Learners’ Award certificates today having been nominated by Up Your Street.image 4D TAOimage 4D TAOThree of the Award winners

 The awards went to seniors who alerted by Up Your Street enrolled on and completed digital photography and walking courses in Bethnal Green, learnt about community theatre with Open Stage 2012 in Stratford east, currently follow the ‘Visual art and Appreciation’ pre-degree course at Birkbeck University and so much more. Credit where it’s due.

Congratulations to one and all!

This is what I know

Been very busy chasing my tail to put up RAGWORKS exhibitions. You know you can’t take a car to so many venues in east London because of parking restrictions so thank goodness for buses and trainers. Plus my internet was down as BT had a major fault  at their exchange. I survived.

I have learnt loads and this is the chief thing; that major venues need events managers or managers who know what they’re managing.

Making characters out of discarded material is enjoyable and creative then arranging to show RAGWORKS to the world makes you know why Trace and Dames have agents and minions working under them. It is so nice to get back in and pick up the needle. Yesterday it took me ages to be welcomed at a venue but I should have known as my emails and calls were ignored so I was working in the dark. Ah puff tut. People eh?

How fabulous “Cinderella” looks on the wall at The Mill in Coppermill Lane, E17. Is she Egyptian, Somalian, Turkish? Well she came from my brain so who knows! I am grateful to Mo at The Mill for her support as one artist to another I guess. Wish her the citizen award. And she has a couple of exhibits at The Smokehouse in dire Hackney Wick. Way to go Mo!

On Friday, in the sunshine, a large group of Up Your Street subscribers met at an appointed time at The WaterWorks in Lea Bridge Road to air their views on ‘the Greening of the Olympics’  with Ph.D student Sadie. The venue is very good and the hot chocolate in the cafe extremely good. We all had so much to say and what came out of it and this is what I know is that if it weren’t for Up Your Street disseminating information about all the happenings around the Olympic and Paralympic Games Park then the committed seniors would never have got to Open Stage , A Taste of Hackney, Songololo, Holden Point, Hackney Museum and etc etc where activities spurred on by the excitement of London 2012 were put out as projects.

We had a good discussion around the building works at the back of Leyton Marsh and the upgrading of Dagenham Brook, a herethereto stinky stream. Some of us walked the shaved Black Path on the back of the Argall Industrial Estate and then past copses and Kingsmill Bakery up to Coppermill Lane. It was a fine warm day remember.

What was concluded from the PH.D gathering was that we the residents around the perimeters of the Games 2012 feel abandoned and alienated from the riches of a world event. So to broach legacy was a way in to complete negativity and misery! For me, the greening of the Olympics means that more people go on walks in their boroughs and get to appreciate the beauty. But only some types of people and hardly in big numbers.

Enjoyed a screening of a film about the River Thames by William Raban at The Stratford east Picturehouse. The film was full of beautiful photography and was an eye-opener for most of the audience who had no learnt history of the London Docks. There’s an exhbibtion in Newham currently about the women who worked in Tate and Lyle back in the day.

Up at The PictureHouse everyone had a guided tour of the RAGWORKS exhibition by Gillian Lawrence which was in its glory that day.

Spirits rising

Yesterday I went off to Theatre Royal Stratford east to join in the Stratford East Singers. Jan i/c Theatre and Education at TRSE had arranged it since 8th October and before and there was plenty of interest in free singing in the theatre. Agewell Singers happens every Thursday lunch-time at Stratford Circus but restricts its participants to over those 50 years old or better. Here was a place and a time for those just wanting to open their mouths and sing. Shawab, TRSE assistant director, welcomed us and introduced us to Byron Gold our tutor  and the TRSE creative music director. Well, we had fun and scary bits too when we had to sing solo. Of  course, we weren’t forced to but we like to get in the spirit if it all. GREAT. There was a good mix of ages, ethnicities and boldness. Charlotte i/c Openstage2012 TRSE joined in with volunteers who’d also come via Up Your Street. We were great.

Went over to Downhills Park in Tottenham for half term adults’ brooch-making with buttons and bows, rags and pins, sewing and Nina. Was an eye-opener. What you can do with scrap eh?

Ended the day with a guest pass to Hackney Picturehouse. All the founder members have their names in light and then on the screens in colour and in B&W. Watched Clooney’s “Ides Of March”, a tale of a man’s integrity, falls from grace, values of life bla bla. A brave thing to do another drama about the American presidency campaigns and their shenanigans. Clooney damn handsome as ever.

I love the fact that we can munch and rustle bags like rats in the dark cos it’s the flicks and not the theatre. The founder members look nothing like what I thought Hackney people are i. e. mixed up racially and deliciously diverse. And I saw very few  people look like they aged more than 50 years.

I’m wondering who will come to show songs at TRSE tomorrow Wednesday because it finishes at 9.30pm. I’ll be there for sure. High Street Seniors exists to encourage seniors to be out in their neighbourhoods after dark. We walk on Thursday. See issue 42 of Up your Street.

Stratford east

You know the day’s gonna be good when the Leytonstone  underground staff, in their business-like way, smile and say “Good morning” to each traveller. The bonus is in passing the Westfield Stratford bouncers in their awesome uniforms and being greeted with a smile too. People lovin’ their jobs?

         What didn’t we do today? Checked in to launch the new website of Open Stage 2012 (TRSE) at Theatre Royal. The restaurant before opening hours was packed with Macs, volunteers, champions, and staff. The bar staff were welcoming and plying us with coffee, croissants , fruit , and juices  then in came Carrie with her famous home-bake…chocolate cake. (Oh heavens!). People got down to tweeting, Face-booking, Flickr-ing, signing in, signing up, writing notes to themselves on paper plates, munching whatever came to hand and generally inputting to comment boxes and talking to them lovingly. Off-line there was tons to do; filmed interviews, song suggestions, web-site critiques and general business. serious business there. A web-site is for life!

               After that Agewell Singers of Stratford  had another gig to do, by special request, I’ll have you know, to a return venue. Twas excellent. Now for the Easter and  Passover break.

Wind and rehearsals.

122 mph winds recorded in the Orkney Isles. Ah, to breathe that wind again! Orkney is just wind. I used to be picked up by it! My washed bedsheet once travelled from my grounds (much more than a garden) to the island shore despite the storm pegs. It was ripped by the barbed wire fences but good enough still.  Meanwhile Primark on mainland UK had begun the throw-it-away-and-buy-cheap-good-new movement. No Primark on those islands.

On days when the winds were whipping up, first of all the inter-island ferry boat crew  and the fishermen would tell our neighbours at the pier, then the phones would start going as people passed on the warning to batten down the hatches. If it weren’t tied down, it would vanish! Auntie Chrissie lamented the disappearance of her new plastic patio pots from her beautiful house on the hill. They turned up in the village. Sometimes we couldn’t open the front door because of the wind’s strength.

Last night just on midnight, the wind was banging into our houses down the road here. The noise competed with the crowd of police sirens.

I joined the Hermitage Wharf Heritage project, “A Sense Of Place” at 16 Wapping High Street because I wanted to be near the river and the boats and to learn about all the people who populated the area before the eighties. See on www.whatsinwapping.com that there was another successful coffee morning with Ray and the Wapping history group sharing experiences of the docklands as they were.

Photo:-Ray and his compatriots with Patricia who came over from the Caribbean , then in the 1970’s took her kiddies for a bus ride along Wapping and always said she felt the scenery reminded her of the sugar cane fields back home. 

Happy New year!

So here we have a grey cold nasty London Chinese New Year Day. Just come in from a special morning at Theatre Royal Stratford east (what a mouthful eh?). I’d cheekily asked if I as a member of Open Stage 2012 could watch a rehearsal for “The Graft”. I already go to St Luke’s in Old Street to watch London Symphony Orchestra rehearsals for The Barbican. Love a bit of work-in-progress, me. Put off there though as those ‘yummy mummies’ bring in their Tarquins who crawl around the chairs. Fair dos to introduce children to the world of elite white culture but actually they are learning the art of not being aware of other people. Whatever comes out live in Old Street finds its way into Sky Arts anyway. The au pair can enjoy the concerts then as well.

So I was priveleged to watch Ryan and Pat put the actors through their scenes and will say no more except thank you. Play begins Feb 11th based on Martina Cole’s work.

End of the month I’ll be collecting “Half Of A Yellow Sun” to distribute to people I meet in Up Your Street5 haunts all ready for World Book Night on March 5th.  Exciting. Good to give.

The Sahara Grill and Leyton

Re Riding Hood was jam-packed this afternoon. I met many people with views on what they want next year through my volunteering with Open Stage 2012. The whole place was buzzing and the bar and restaurant were rammed. The workers are always welcoming and smiley….adds a lot.

I am doing my best to highlight Leyton as the place to come to for shopping and eating, entertainment and wotnot. Can be an uphill task when everywhere building works are in place especially towards the Site  (Olympic and Paralympic Games). New restaurants are springing up too but if you read the reviews you’d hesitate, I am about to try The Sahara Grill with a review rating of 6/10. It’s a 5 minute walk from Leyton Station and looks beautiful from outside. But look at what’s around it? Even after the cuts, Waltham Forest council promised to clean up the High Street leading to the Site. I see many shuttered hovels. Of course shop owners can do something but do they? Go on the bus from Drapers (doomed) Park opposite the Sahara Grill and as you get towards the mecca that is Bakers’ Arms, count the betting shops. William Hill is obviously too too rich! Love that man.

Anyway guess what? Yes I saw it. I did. A tree in blossom, small but visible behind the road in front of the construction work going on where the Working Men’s Club stood like only yesterday.

On that warming note I won’t go on about the Lego advert on telly. Just watch it and listen with mother. No worse than the Fairy advert or Nisa. All about the role play, eh? I was on a film course and after watching a film we were asked why we thought the main guy was angry with his wife  (it was all about the grieving for a dead child…am I allowed to say that in the light of the Eastenders furore?) so we all put forward our arty farty filmy suggestions involving fade outs and time viewer perceptions then up sparks one of us women. “It’s because his wife hadn’t put his dinner on the table.” Joy to the teacher who got out of that one in a PC manner. I just fell into the pit that was the fifties.

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood  Theatre Royal Stratford east.  This afternoon Dec 30th 2010

                    The production actually started on time with a trio of performance arts pigs warming up the holiday audience  with lots of sing- songs, obligatory shouting, clowning around and prompts to shout.  The mood was set.

                     The Wolf   (Michael Bertenshaw) and Granny  (Derek Elroy)  are shocking and delightful . I would have been happy for the pair of them to carry on playing to us mesmerised ones. They look like the grown up actors in a budget sixth form end of year spoof.  With ‘ Glee’  and ‘ X Factor’  and  ‘Britain’s Got Talent’  we are used to wannabees popping up and showing off.  It was a bit like that with the rest of the cast; a solo spot here and a music mic  there.  It also takes confidence and experience to pull in an audience or maybe today’s audience was slow to respond.

The music is fantastic. Elroy’s singing voice is lovely.

             There is much to commend the performance. Often there are excellent choreographed sets with agile actors displaying their craft. The attempt at a pentecostal church gathering  is miserable and lacking joy despite Atkinson’s energy. The costumes are interesting. The lighting and effects are superb. At one crucial point the Wolf takes on King Kong’s scale. The children in the audience hide under scarves and coats. Here we have a taste of the true darkness of fairy tales. Short-lived because what follows next is a waste of time.

               After the interval Red Riding Hood meets Alien, meets Dr Who, seemingly meets Arts Grant funding criteria, maybe,  where demonstrating the internal goings- on of a Big Bad Wolf’s stomach is deemed educational and worthy.  Who knows what the paying audience made of it?  Where’s the axe whan you need it?

               Overall it is a great afternoon show.  Recommended. Something to look at, something to be puzzled about, a challenge to follow as the deviation from the path takes us into the variation on a tale. Bravo to Chloe and her red hood to die for. Perfect in his acting Marcus Ellard is on his way up. There are special offers on tickets at the moment. Open Stage 2012  volunteers are there to meet you and invite you to prepare next year’s pantomime.  And recognising all the extra characters who hide behind doors and trees like squirrel and baby owl I applaud the blatantly obvious Beyonce-inspired foxy dancer who is unable to steal this particular show. Very very watchable.

                    I never knew until today that the panto is described in places other than Stratford as “the black Red Riding Hood”. White Narnia’s on over the road.

Just want to thank Corinne at Stratford management and Joy at Words of Colour. Never had the best seat in the house ever!