19 NOVEMBER 2014 JU GOSLING AKA ju90 WRITES: In addition to the Open Exhibition, next week at the Old Town Hall Stratford, on Wednesday 26 November, the acclaimed US act Krip Hop Nation arrives for a workshop at 3pm and a performance at 7pm. As with all of our events, these are free and open to everyone. There are more details in the programme and on our Facebook page.
On 3 December, International Day of Disabled People, we’re in the marquee at the back of the Town Hall – which I am assured is heated! – for a daytime event celebrating international friendship with The Hands Project. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy refreshments, help create an international touring installation, network and e-chat with disabled people in other countries. Other disabled-led enterprises from Newham will be showing their work in the Council Chamber at the same time, so get that date into your diaries now.
On the weekend of 5-7 December, we are then back in the Council Chamber for the third annual Together! Disability Film Festival. This year we have a stunning programme of films made over the past two years, including a feature film premiere each evening. Immediately before the festival, on Thursday 4th and Friday 5 December, we have a two-day animation workshop at the McGrath Centre in Stratford with EastEnders star David Proud. Again, you can find further details in the programme and on Facebook.
And of course the fun doesn’t stop there. This Saturday, which is the official launch of Disability History Month, the Natural Diversions street art company from Bath will be performing in Stratford’s Cultural Quarter from 12 noon onwards. Look out for the Noise Doctors, Pirates and Parking Attendants!
We also have two other exhibitions taking place as part of the festival, Cedoux Kadima’s Home and Memories, at the Hub in Canning Town, and Ian Farrant’s portraits at Grassroots in West Ham. Our Music Club, which takes place on the first Monday of each month from 7-8.30pm at the River Christian Centre in Canning Town, will feature guest musicians Kate Portal and Baluji Shrivastav and have a world music theme.
Last year we ran a very successful comedy writing workshop at Stratford Circus, and in response to popular demand, this year we have a sit-down comedy workshop followed by an improv show at The House Mill in Bow on Saturday 13 December. This will be led by sit-down comedians Karen Shook, Kate Caryer and Angry Fish. The workshop begins at 2.30pm and the show at 7pm. As always, these are free and open to all.
The House Mill was the main venue for our summer programme, and continues to house the Drawing and Painting session of our Art Club on Friday afternoons from 2-4pm – which of course continues throughout the festival, as does our Textile sessions at Vicarage Lane Community Centre in Stratford on a Thursday morning from 10-11.30.
We also have events programmed by partner organizations. Newham Disabled Reps Forum run their annual Disability History Day at St Marks Centre in Beckton on Tuesday 9 December, from 11am to 2pm. Regard are hosting their LGBTea Party on Sunday 14 December at Vicarage Lane Community Centre, from 3-5pm.
The Discover Centre, who have also shown work in the Open Exhibition, have a ‘relaxed’ performance of their winter show One Snowy Night at 12 noon on Saturday 13th, and a BSL-interpreted performance on Sunday 14 December at 3.30pm. The Discover shows are paid-for, but there are substantial discounts for families and for Newham residents.
I should add here that all of our performances are ‘relaxed’, and we aim to make everything as accessible as possible. We have wheelchair access and hearing aid loops at every venue, and BSL interpretation for most events. We will always do our best to cater for individual needs, including providing guides and audio-description – just let us know.
Finally, saving the best for last, the Together! Pop-Up Poetry Club will be publishing their anthology and reading poems from it on Monday 15 December, which will also be our end-of-festival party. The Poetry Café takes place at the Hub in Canning Town, which is the venue for our weekly poetry workshops on a Wednesday morning from 10.30-12. The Hub is also currently the venue for Cedoux Kadima’s wonderful exhibition Home and Memories! Come and enjoy the poems and the artwork, and put the festive back into festive-al by joining us for a final celebration before the holidays. As previously, and despite this lengthy list, I am bound to have left out crucial people and activities – I can only say it’s because we work with so many wonderful people, who achieve some incredible things.