London Arts in Focus
The Waldorf Hilton Hotel, Aldwych, London, Thursday 26 August 2010
It’s wet outside, so there’s quite a queue for the cloakroom at the Waldorf Hilton, the venue for Awards Night at the London Festival Fringe 2010. The sensible ones have of course gone inside the strikingly elegant Palm Court room with its white marble décor and have collected a glass of wine before queueing. Those of us who haven’t, stand and fret.
Fortunately, Cheryl Moskowitz, a poet and novelist, is prepared to tell me about the world of poetry and its economics (of lack of them). Despite this, it seems, poetry still survives. Anne-Marie Fyfe, who heads the judging panel of the New Poetry award and later hands over the prize to award-winner Carrie Etter, has a big hand in this, running the famous Troubadour café in London’s Earl’s Court, home of many a poetry reading. The fact that 77 poets were entered for this prize (and to be eligible, a poet had to have published a collection) gives you some idea of the scale of this quiet piece of the London arts scene.
Anne-Marie’s partner is Cahal Dallat, also a writer, musician and poet, and we just have enough time to reminisce a little about old times in Belfast (where we both attended Queens University, round about the time when dinosaurs walked).
Together there are ten awards to be given. They are for (amongst others) jazz, and poetry, for music and art and these Awards have been one of the real successes of the London Festival Fringe, the idea of Greg Tallent and the man who has persuaded and cajoled so many people to do things – sponsoring and judging awards, hosting events, providing venues, publicity and help of all kinds.
One of these is Rachael Dalzell, whose Bedfordbury Gallery in Soho has been the base for the London Festival Fringe Art Award. This award was also amazingly popular, with no less than 87 artists entering and 22 being shortlisted. (The winner was Andrew Hladky).
Above all, Greg has gathered 220 people to help celebrate the winners’ achievements in these grand surroundings, so at least one venue for a London Festival Fringe event is something quite other than ‘Fringe’. Here, award winners rub shoulders with sponsors, award entrants, shortlisted artists and there are performances too, compered elegantly by actor Derval Mellett and directed by Simon Hipkins.
Leanne O’ Loughlin, who, in the short time she has been in London, has become a doughty reviewer of fringe performance, tells me she attended one of the evenings at which judging took place for the music award, and that award winning band, New Cut Gang, are well worth their accolade. David Shepherd, who books bands for the Leicester Square Theatre, and is here tonight, may well take some notes.
The Awards themselves, which award-winning comedian Don Biswas somewhat unkindly (but perhaps appropriately) likens to a chair leg, are handed out a la the Oscars, with much mentioning of friends, supporters, comforters and others. Perhaps the most poignant note is that struck by actor Jane Lesley when accepting the Award for Best Play (on behalf of A Christmas Carol, which she co-wrote with Joe Fredericks). She accepts the Award with a special note to the actor who played Scrooge (Jonathan Battersby) in the original production and who died earlier this year.
But perhaps we should leave the final note to Greg Tallent himself, without whom none of this would have happened:
‘London is the theatre capital of the world. This city has the best playwrights, actors, directors and theatre professionals. It also has a great theatre audience. To celebrate this and to offer recognition to artists and creatives working in the capital we have set up the London Awards.’
No one could doubt the energy and enthusiasm that is in evidence throughout these – now established – Awards. Come forward, next year’s sponsors.
People here include: Charles Wahab, Andy Powell (Artist), Tracy Keeling (Playwright), Leanne O’Loughlin (Writer), Stephen A Brown (Opera singer), Kasia Tallent , Richard Helliwell (Film Special Effects / Alternative Fringe), Michael Tallent , Jane Lesley (Director, MokitaGrit), Jonathan Hansler (Actor), Gillian Best Powell (Artist, Cor Blimey Arts / Core Gallery), Greg Tallent (Director, London Fringe), David Shepherd (Music Director, Leicester Square Theatre), Zoë Powell (Knitwear designer), Stephen Keogh (Global Music Foundation), Tracy Howl (Photographer, London Press Pix), Ewa Jaworski (Actor), Victoria Silverman, Michael Spring (Writer; Director, WildWest), Kenneth Liu (Musician, Grimhilde), Anna Tallent, Jackie Stirling (Actor), Skye Crawford (Editor, Fringe Review), Diana Thomas (Director), Nolia Devlin (Director, Nolia’s Gallery),
The London Awards comprise: London Art Award, London Jazz Award – Best Vocalist, Best Jazz Instrumentalist, London New Comedy, London New Music, London Photography, London Short Fiction, London Theatre Writing, London 48 Hour Short Film, London Best Play, London Poetry Award. Details as follows:
London Art Award
‘An award exclusively recognising an Artist whose work pushes the boundaries of art, inspired by the phrase “Quick before we come to our senses’”.’
Visual Arts Organiser: Gillian Best Powell
Judges on the selection panel: Jason Brooks, Artist, whose work is included in many of the world’s finest public and private contemporary art collections. Nick Kaplony, Artist and Freelance curator, Artsquest & Pumphouse Gallery. Zoe Whitley, Curator Contemporary Collections, Victoria & Albert Museum.
Final shortlist: Ingrid Berthon-Moine: ‘Rouge Pur and Rouge Star’. Andrew Hladky: ‘It Was Not There’. Yoonjin Jung: ‘Seeing the Unseen’. Paula MacArthur: ‘Deluxe’
Winner: Andrew Hladky
London Jazz Award – Best Vocalist, Best Jazz Instrumentalist
Jazz Award Organisers: Stephen Keogh / Ross Dines
Judges: Peter King. Tina May, Voice. Guillermo Rozenthuler, Voice (Latin). Gilad Atzmon, Multi instrumentalist, sax, clarinet, ethnic wind. Jean Toussaint. Pete Churchill – Royal Academy of Music. Mark Hodgson. Jim Hart. Barry Green. Brigitte Beraha. Asaf Sirkis. Charles Alexander. Julian Joseph. Joe Paice – Jazz Services. Paul Pace – Ronnie Scott’s. Ross Dines – Music Director, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho. Stephen Keogh – Global Music Foundation.
Best Vocalist joint winners: Norma Winstone and Cleveland Watkiss
Best Jazz Instrumentalist: John Turville
London New Comedy
Organisers: Louise Ayling & Imogen Crouch-Hyde
Judges: Lynne Parker, Director of Funny Women. Debbie Chazen. Laurie Lewin
Finalists: Jeff Leach, Joe Wells, Gemma Beagley. Commended: Christian Manley. Runner-up: Katie Lucas
Winner: Don Biswas
London New Music
Organiser: Patrick Lyons
Votes were made online and by the audience on the final music night.
Bands in competition: New Cut Gang from the Dublin Castle. Frisky Holler from the Old Police Station. Kalakuta from E1ectric
Winner: New Cut Gang
Organiser: Tracy Howl
Judges on the selection panel: Edmond Terakopian, award-winning photojournalist. Kate Day, Communities Editor, Daily Telegraph. James Sparshatt, Photographer, Capital Culture.
Finalists: Ben Graville, Ben Westwood, Colin Hampden-White, Daisy Meadows, Hady Bayoumi, Jola Mroszezyk, Liz West, Mish Aminoff, Nadjib Lefleurier, Rashida Mangera, Siddhartha Tawadey, Xiaoxiao Sun
Winner:: Daisy Meadows
London Short Fiction
‘Fictional stories, no more than a 1000 words that are inspired by the phrase: “Quick, Before We Come to Our Senses”. The phrase did not need to be used as a title, and was intended only as a starting point to work from.’
Judges: Dr Anna Beer, University Lecturer in Literature, Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. Dr Michael Sayeau, Lecturer in the English Department, University College London. Dr Tara Stubbs, Stipendiary Lecturer in English, St. Peter’s College, Oxford.
Shortlisted: Bahar Oona Brunton. Carolyn Thomas. Claire Louise Norton. Eley Williams. Geraldine Taylor. Jennifer Thorp. Kate Kerrow. Mike Wendling. Robert Pickles. Sarah Day. Scott Morris. Tara Isabella Burton
Winner: Jennifer Thorpe; The story: Coming Into Senses
London Theatre Writing
‘This Award gives a platform to the most promising piece of new writing or devised work to have arisen from a writer/s or theatre group. It is intended for writers/actors to showcase their work to a large audience and to the industry.’
Organiser: Maude Laflamme (London Playwright’s Collective). David Bottomley (London Playwright’s Collective). Kerry Irvine (ScenePool)
Judges: Ola Animashawun, Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre, Director Euphoric Ink. Skye Crawford, General Manager, King’s Head Theatre. Ria Parry, co-Artistic Director of Iron Shoes/
Finalists: Aurora – Louise Monaghan. Drawing the Curtains – Benedict Fogarty. Snap. Catch. Slam – Emma Jowet.
Highly Commended: Sultan’s Battery by Kathy Rucker
Winner: Benedict Fogarty – Drawing The Curtains
London 48 Hour Short Film
‘The competition tested the creative and technical skills of writers, directors, film crew and actors. The team will be given a title and a genre to work from and have 48 hours to finish the movie.’
Judges: Phil Wood, Manager & Programmer, Roxy Bar & Screen. Nathan Theys, Director, Film Creatives. Enrique Rovira, Director, Producer, Editingpoint.com. Kathy Hill, Director, Writer, ‘Down and Out in Cannes’.
Entries: (Genre / Title / Team): Romance – Three Lives – Alma. Sport – A Woman’s Life – Argentum. Suspense – The Well of Loneliness – Art is Useless. Biography – What Maisie New – Avocado. Fantasy – A Day Off – Spontaneous Skamp. Crime – Miss Lonelyhearts – Water Rats. Mystery – She – Yardie Style.
Winner Three Lives – by Team Alma
London Best Play
Organiser: Kaye Conway
The 3 plays with the most votes are, in alphabetical order:
A Christmas Carol – Joe Fredericks, Jane Lesley
Angela Unbound – Andy McQuade
Alice’s Adventures In The New World – Rebecca Dunn, Sarah Sigal
Winner: A Christmas Carol – Joe Fredericks, Jane Lesley
(Ellie Collyer-Bristow collects on behalf of Joe Fredericks, with Jane Lesley)
London Poetry Award
Organisers: Cahal Dalat. Anne-Marie Fyffe
Judges: Daljit Nagra, Poetry Tutor in Faber Academy. Tamar Yoseloff, teaches creative writing with The Poetry School in London. Adam O’Riordan, the youngest Poet-in-Residence at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere.
Shortlisted Poets: Abi Curtis. Agnieszka Studzinska. Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Carrie Etter. David Briggs. Ellen Phethean. Grace Wells. Hilary Menos. Howard Wright. Katrina Naomi. Maureen Jivani. Patrick Brandon. Sam Willetts. Tom Chivers. Eleanor Livingstone.
Winner: Carrie Etter, who reads from The Tethers
© Brent Crude 26 August 2010