More Nautical Folk Songs from Solstice Shorts video

Video

Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd singing at Solstice Shorts Festival at the Royal Observatory again, with two more nautically influenced folk songs: we keep to our time theme however

I Courted a Sailor, spans six months

http://youtu.be/RX2pSzvk9pE

and Cyril Tawney’s Grey Funnel Line a single evening, and a lifetime.

http://youtu.be/SN4LSZ2UtYg

Our BSL interpreters wish it to be known that this is not what they consider performance standard signing, they needed a chance to rehearse with the performers for that, but you will be able to follow the song.

 

A Month of Sundays by Alison Moore Solstice Shorts Festival Video

Video

Saul Reichlin reads A Month of Sundays by Alison Moore (one of the Judges of our short story competition)  at West Greenwich Library.

Late for the funeral of his oldest friend, Ralph makes some unexpected new friends…

Our BSL Interpreters had an incredibly long day and didn’t get much time to rehearse, so treat the signing as a (very good)  indication of the story rather than a perfect rendition.

Solstice Shorts Festival – why we are doing BSL interpretation

When planning a festival (she says like she does it regularly) there are some obvious things you need – somewhere to hold it, people to perform, marketing to make sure there’s an audience, that kind of thing. What is often ignored, forgotten or rejected as too expensive, is making the event properly accessible.

Solstice Shorts is going to be quite a small festival. It will last just under eight hours, and the rooms we are using (apart from West Greenwich Library) hold a maximum of 40 people (although we are using two!)

So having a significant part of the budget allocated to allowing Deaf people to enjoy and participate is quite challenging.

I first started thinking about accessibility for Deaf people when I was working for a council housing department back in the early 1980’s. I had a brief placement in housing benefits, and met a member of staff who was constantly on call interpreting sign language. it wasn’t her job, she just happened to come from a Deaf family, so she could do it. I signed up for a course immediately, but being young and flighty (and a long cold dark bus ride away from the course) dropped out.

I came back to it when I was studying Neurolingustic Programming, which relies heavily on metaphors based on the senses in use of language, and no one could tell me what the implication were if not all your senses were available to you. So I did a BSL (British Sign Language) level 1 course, and learnt a huge, huge amount about communication in general.

Level 1 is pretty unsophisticated but you can bumble through a conversation spelling words you don’t know the sign for, and making up approximations so you can be corrected (I well remember discussing apartheid with an amalgam of signs – black-white-separate – it served it’s purpose!). One of the useful tools I found for increasing and practicing my vocabulary was signed music. Channel 4 had a music programme that went out at about four in the morning and everything was signed. Popular music being a bit repetitive in its lyrics made sure I got the signs right eventually! Along the way I became beguiled by the beauty and expressiveness of sign language, and its power in story telling. Oh, and my elementary knowledge helped me get a job working with Deaf and disabled entrepreneurs (initially on the phone – Skype proved handy). I quickly found my signing wholly inadequate to the task, even after 1:1 coaching on business terms, but I had fun trying, and everyone was very patient with me.

So you could say it’s on my radar. It helps that I have contacts in BSL interpreting services, and that I have had protracted, wide-ranging discussions (through interpreters, life’s too short for me to make up everything and be told how to sign what I was trying to say) with a wide range of Deaf people about all sorts of things (depreciation, and what harmony is, for example!). So, for me, it goes without saying that Solstice Shorts will be signed: stories, workshops, and the music.

Only funding makes this possible. I’d love for every event we do to be signed, but that isn’t doable without outside funding.

If you want to support our efforts to make Solstice Shorts accessible, you can back our crowdfunding campaign.

 

 

Solstice Shorts Festival – Update

sun half and halfPlans for the Solstice Shorts Festival are continuing apace.

A celebration of National Short Story Day, of the Winter Solstice and of the narrative power of folk music, bringing together story and song on the Greenwich Meridian – on the theme of Time.

The Festival has grown in scope a bit while we’ve been thinking about it and it is now a marvellous mix of live short stories, chosen by our exquisite line-up of judges and read by actors; and folk music from leading local professional and amateur musicians, backed up with writing and singing workshops, all of which will be BSL interpreted throughout, as we’d like to make the event as inclusive as possible. We also plan to live broadcast the performances, and podcasting them for future reference. We even plan to provide breakfast for the sunrise sessions!

We have confirmed venues at the beautiful West Greenwich Library from sunrise (8.04) til 11.30, and at The Royal Observatory Greenwich, in the Astronomy Centre,  from 11.00 til sunset (15.53)
We have confirmed judges for the short story competition: Alison Moore (award-winning short story writer and novelist), Imogen Robertson (writer of the acclaimed Crowther & Westerman historical crime series), Rob Shearman (Doctor Who and multiple short stories) and Anita Sethi (Journalist, reviewer and Broadcaster). Each of the judges is contributing a story to the day, and the book that will be published of the winning stories from the competition.
We have confirmed hosts: Cherry Potts, Imogen Robertson, Rob Shearman and Anita Sethi.
We have confirmed musicians: Pepper & Shepherd, Shadrack Tye, Rosemary Lippard, Summer All Year Long and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd.

The performances will all be free to attend, but we will charge a modest fee for the writing workshops, hosted by Paul Shearrard and Cherry Potts, one of which will be accompanied by live music from Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd, and of course the competition is £5 to enter.

All we need is the MONEY!

To that end we have put in an application to the Arts Council, and to the Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust, and started a crowd funding campaign, which, if you like the sound of the festival and would like to support it, you can contribute to (PLEASE!). This expires on Thursday 4th September at 23:59, so don’t hang around if you would like some of our lovely rewards – some of the one-off rewards have already gone! Books, signed or otherwise, exclusively designed badges and t shirts, invitations to our next book launch, a hand lettered poem, a digital portrait, and bespoke flash fiction are all available. We will add new rewards as we think of them.