Holloway Arts Festival 2011 was a lively occasion with an abundance of creative events produced by Rowan Arts at various local Holloway venues. From 8–17 June, members of the public were invited to join their neighbours to experience music, dance, theatre, crafts, poetry, and lectures on historic and current cultural events.
Two of the biggest events of the festival were Mayton Street Festival and Big Day Out. Mayton Street was transformed into a colourful spectacle with crafts activities, film screenings from Reel Islington, poetry readings, a cake bake-off, dance performances and a special programme of music by The Prics, Wolf Alice and Red Angel.
Big Day Out took place at Whittington Park as a free outdoor event with live music, artist workshops, film screenings and wandering performers. Crowd-rousers such as Katy Carr, Kidnap Alice, Chancery Blame and the Gadjo Club and the Trans-Siberian March Band provided an eclectic range of entertainment throughout the day.
Other highlights included The Jazzberries with their sultry reinterpretation of classic vintage gypsy swing, and the opportunity to probe into the influences and motivations behind cultural practitioners at two Connecting Conversations events.
Distinguished dancer and choreographer Jasmin Vardimon, Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, discussed her approach to dance with Joshua Cohen, psychoanalyst and Reader at Goldsmiths University. In a separate Connecting Conversations event, Composer Nico Muhly, Librettist Craig Lucas and Director Bartlett Sher all met with psychoanalyst Sara Flanders to discuss the commission of their exciting new ENO opera ‘Two Boys’.
There was also the chance to get involved with the Big Sing, a mass-singing workshop with the public and the Singer Songwriter Competition which offered the chance to win recording sessions, a photo-shoot and further performance opportunities. This year’s winner was Mariama Samba .
In addition, we had performances by the belligerent genius John Hegley with his new spoken word comedy Beyond Our Kennel, and Poets in the Pub with Aoife Mannix. Plunging into History explored the Ironmonger Row and the Victorian Turkish Baths with Malcolm Shifrin.
The entire festival closed with a comedy night of rising stars such as the fast-paced Kat Francois and the observational musings of Matt Welcome. Performance artist Liz Bentley compered the evening.
What audience members said about Holloway Arts Festival 2011
“It makes you appreciate music from other cultures and countries, and the contribution it has made to world culture” Jazzberries’ night of gypsy swing
“A truly sublime performance spanning continents and generations - and a great atmosphere” Katy Carr’s multi-media show of music and film from 1940s-era Britain and Poland
“I’ve had the guillemot poem stuck in my head - in a fun way - all day! John Hegley was brilliant!” John Hegley’s UK premiere of ‘Beyond Our Kennel’
“The most privileged evening I ever had. Two weeks before the opening of a world creation I meet the team. It is surreal!”
A response to Connecting Conversations with Nico Muhly, Craig Lucas, and Bartlett Sher’s English National Opera’s Production ‘Two Boys’
“Absolutely great! Fantastic event! [it was] fun for the kids, also adults. [A] great way of the community coming together and just having a day to learn new activities, new skills, and great food!”
Sheona Bell from the Mayton Street Festival
“It was wonderful, very interesting and surprisingly enthralling. I came because I thought it sounded weird. I stayed because it was really good!”
Sweltering Since 1938- Ironmonger Row and the Victorian Turkish Baths