#Arachne5 more thank yous

I’ve scheduled this to go live as we start our 5th Anniversary celebrations.

It’s a complex business starting and running a publishing house. People contribute crucial things at crucial moments and sometimes it isn’t until you look back you realise – if that hadn’t happened…

So thank you to all the people who do things without knowing and without being asked, or are so enthusiastic when asked I get over my own doubts and plough on – I’m bound to have missed someone, but here are most of the brilliant people who helped us get started and/or keep Arachne ticking over.

Bartle Sawbridge for introducing me to WooA Writing group something like eight years ago, giving me the structure to start taking my own writing seriously again, and for the rest of the members of WooA at the time, (Joan, Rosalind, David, Anna, Clare, Hilary) for being ace writers and getting me thinking (without saying anything to them) that we jointly needed a publisher, and also for introducing me to Liars’ League.

Liars’ League for being a bottomless cauldron of talent into which I dipped to find the writers for our first book, and especially thank you to Katy Darby for saying exactly the right thing when I approached her about it. If she hadn’t, this would have stayed a pipe dream, and also for co-editing and general cheerleading.

 

On the professional front, everyone at Inpress for not just doing what they set out to, in persuading bookshops to stock our books, but also providing all kinds of opportunities to explore the world of publishing through conferences and fairs made possible and affordable due to their bargaining chops.

Everyone at TJ International for producing such wonderful quality books in particular John Rance, for that first phone call (‘these are the questions you don’t know you need to ask us’) and being so approachable and reasonable and human!

Sabotage Reviews for the most reviews from any one source, and awarding us Best Anthology back in 2014. That plastic star thing is still sitting on the shelf above my desk.

All our Arachne Friends especially David, Jacquie, Pippa, Trefor, and Alison for their support.

Our supporters big and small on various crowdfunds especially Jonathan and Russell

and of course Arts Council England who have funded us twice.

And our authors and artists for coming up with inspired rewards for crowdfunds, especially Inua, Kevin Jill, Pippa and Jeremy.

On the maverick front…All the people who said YES when I came up with what felt like daft ideas, everyone at Lewisham Libraries (literally dozens of them, everyone has got involved and supported us), but particularly Alan Morrison, and Joan Redding (ex Lewisham, now at Carillion) who probably said yes (or more accurately, let’s do it) more than anyone in the known universe, and everyone at Better Libraries in Greenwich, particularly Rebecca Gediking (‘Of course we’ll open the Library at 7am on a Sunday’) and Debra Sullivan (‘This is what Libraries are for’), and many other libraries and librarians especially Gaynor Lynch Foley at RBKC. Greenwich University for a spectacular launch week for Outcome, especially Sarah Creech. Zoltan Abbot at Brockley Deli and Father Bates at St Hildas and Stuart Morriss at Misty Moon for hosting some pretty strange events without batting an eyelid. Dennis Harrison at Albion Beatnik for the most consistent hoster of events outside London. And of Course, V22 (Becca, Simon) for hosting tonight’s PARTY!

My dear friend Michele, who steps in and helps whenever she can and never flaps when things go pear-shaped.

All the other stepper-in-ers, especially Laura, Helen, Birgitta, Tessa, Judith, Catriona, Mark, Bartle, Stuart.

Another great friend, Muireann, for eagle-eyed proofing and cheeky margin comments, and regular company at supper on a Monday. Arachne would be a poorer item altogether without her.

Carrie and Wendy for batting ideas about, practical help with storage and logistics, and offering to be a formal advisory group.

Irena Hill for brilliant networking (she knows everyone) and idea thrashing.

Russell Potts (my dad) for vital help when needed, and telling me he’s proud.

And finally, just in case she thinks I haven’t noticed or don’t appreciate it, Alix, the best woman in the world, who comes to events she doesn’t want to come to (and doesn’t let it show), shares the driving on long hauls, fits holidays around festivals, sings with the choir, does front-of-house, staffs bookstalls and even reads for us. Arachne has a huge impact on her life, and wouldn’t exist if she wasn’t such a positive life force.

Here she is doing everything…

Shakespeare’s Women

Video

 

Jennifer A McGowan reads some of her Shakespeare inspired poems at Midsummer Night in the Garden. Responding to:

Othello – Emilia

King Lear – Cordelia in Prison

A Winter’s Tale – Paulina as Pygmalion

Macbeth (Had to sort the camera out part way through this, so it’s a bit, um, weird.) Weird Sisters on the Make

Henry VI Parts 1-3 & Richard III – Margaret of Anjou

We hope to publish Jennifer’s next collection With Paper for Feet, in 2017, funding permitting.

What Country, Friends? and Mary Arden Videos

Video

Carrie Cohen reads Elinor Brooks poem, What Country, Friends? Inspired by Twelfth Night, amongst other things.

And Jennifer A McGowan reads her own sequence of poems, Mary Arden’s Garrets

Another Midsummer in the Garden performance.

 

At the Bottom of the Sea of Troubles video

Katy Darby reads the delicious At the Bottom of the Sea of Troubles by Lucy Ribchester (originally a Liars’ League story), at our Shakespeare400 event, Midsummer Night in the Garden at Manor House Library.

oh, and we got a review – it’s only available on Facebook, so it is copied here in almost its entirety for those of you who don’t do that (I’ve left out some misapprehensions that just confuse the issue.)

“A miniature Kenwood or a pocket Glyndebourne” ? by RICHARD STOKER – Actor/Composer/Writer/Artist etc.

Some very talented actors and musicians treated us to a real summer open-air event last evening – June 21st 2016. It was luckily a warm sunny night with only one spot of rain ! The action started with music : ” From Songsters Raise the Roof ” and ended with a story ” At the Bottom of the Sea of Troubles ” these two items alone made an excellent start and end to the production – both as creations and in performance quality. You can guess by now that it was in praise of our greatest bard – William Shakespeare – in an almost authentic setting both in its venue – the splendid Baring public-library and gardens (even the two canons outside the front door were festooned with flowers for a change) – the birds flew over even one seagull – planes could be seen in the distance but did not drown in any way the music or the actors – one baby could be heard crying. We were very lucky no midges wasps or bees were about … the sound system worked extremely well too – refreshments were available including strawberries and cream tarts etc. People sat on the lawns Glyndebourne-style with picnics laid out over the grass. As it grew darker this setting was idyllic for Shakespeare …I was reminded of Kenwood House as the music was sung and the Scarborough open air library events came to mind which I always enjoyed. “Raise the Roof” was the splendid choir mostly a cappella conducted by Kirsty Martin – who reminded me of Imogen Holst herself – with the same determination of purpose. The actors were excellent – they included Cliff Chapman, Carrie Cohen, Katy Darby, Saul Reichlin – in fact Katy Darby was a star of the show having that rare ability to hold any audience anywhere at her finger-tips. There was also some original writing from many of our authors including the american-born Sarah Lawson, her “Next door to the Capulets” deserves mention. The printed program was well designed in Shakespearian style print and spelling. Much devoted thought had gone into this whole project. This evening will live long in the memories of all who were lucky enough to have attended …

Acrostic and Haiku for Midsummer

Video

Alison Absolute sent us lots of Haiku… Almost the Complete Works of Shakespeare: we couldn’t use them all, these are just some – a page got dropped somewhere so there are fewer than we intended – read by Katy Darby, Carrie Cohen & Saul Reichlin

Saul Reichlin reads Pat Tompkins‘ acrostic, What’s in a Name? Listen carefully, in true Elizabethan cryptic style, there’s a message buried in the first letters of each line

there are lots more videos to come, keep an eye out!

Silence in Court! Midsummer custody battle video

Video

Crown versus Crown a prize-winning sketch by Carolyn Eden based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Titania and Oberon fight for custody of the Changeling.

Titania- Carrie Cohen
Oberon- Saul Reichlin
Cobweb- Katy Darby
Robin Goodfellow- Cliff Chapman
Judge- Mike Eden

Songs for Midsummer Video Raise the Roof

Video

If Music be the food of love, play on…

The lovely Raise the Roof community choir brought us some songs ancient and modern to celebrate Shakespeare

Ancient: Elizabethan ‘anti-austerity songs’ a medley of songs from Shakespeare’s day about trying to have a good time with an empty purse.

Fairly Modern: Juliet Desailly’s setting of Shakespeare’s Full Fathom Five sung in public for the first time in 40 years, apparently!

Very Modern: Kirsty Martin’s setting of words from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and Hamlet) We Intend for Your Delight written especially for the occasion.

Strawberry moons and Shakespeare in the garden

Wow, that was a lot of fun. A bit exhausted today, and trying not to post mortem the tiny things that didn’t go quite as I would have liked, none of which were to do with performance. Someone from the library had the time to do a head count, and there were still 111 people around at the end, and more earlier who took smalls of to bed and so forth.

Clearly the strawberry moon presaged great things – SO glad I didn’t realise the leap year meant the Solstice was really Monday, we would have got very wet!

So a vaster-than-empires thank-you (yes, I know that isn’t Shakespeare*) to:

Library
Joan Redding, for saying yes, trusting us with her library and letting us get on with it
Tony Gibson, parking maestro and usher in chief
Ralph Winkler, Sound engineer
Pat Roberts, Max Norman, Judy Cumberbatch, Danny Connolly for helping set up.
Arachne Mates
Judith Stephenson for taxi services
Alix Adams and Muireann Grealy for being brilliant bar staff and strawberry distributors
Jay Hassan for amazing cakes
Michele for book sales and saying ‘We’ when talking about Arachne Press.
Jane Ferguson for ushering and programme distribution
Bea (and Hugh) Jackson for set (and cannon) dressing

The readers, for reading so magnificently and entering into the spirit of midsummer madness with such aplomb
Jennifer A McGowan (best-dressed Shakespearean character)
Saul Reichlin (presence, gravitas, and doormanship)
Katy Darby (especially for the tress-tossing)
Carrie Cohen (super fundraiser)
Cliff Chapman (MC extraordinaire)
Mike Eden (out of retirement especially for us)

Musicians

Raise the Roof for fearless singing of very new songs especially Juliet Desailly for the solo and Maestra Kirsty Martin for the 100 mile round trip
Rosalyn Miller & Toby Hine for acting whilst singing and Mark Wainwright for playing the guitar with music trying to take wing.

Writers:
For meeting the brief so magnificently and entertainingly.
Pat Tompkins
Elinor Brooks
Rachel Bellman & Elizabeth Charlesworth
Sarah Lawson
Jennifer A McGowan
Carolyn Eden
Kirsty Martin
Juliet Desailly
and of course the founder of the feast, Master William Shakespeare.

Audience
Well, weren’t you the bees knees? 111 of you stayed the course to the end, in ever cooling temperatures and rising wind. Congratulations on being our largest audience yet! Stay in touch! If anyone took any pictures they are prepared to share please let us know, I really can’t manage video, audio recording and taking stills.
Video will go up over the next week as I edit it – Still have some Story Sessions to edit, and the Solstice Shorts Submissions to read… but been too busy preparing for this to get it all done. Contain your Souls in Patience, I will get there.

julian in ruff

*Andrew Marvell, since you ask