FILM: Islington Faces Live 2014 at the King’s Head Theatre

12 Nov

Everyone has a story. Most blogs want to go viral, but to celebrate the 100th interview with people who live or work in Islington, islingtonfacesblog.com took to the stage. The show was at the King’s Head Theatre. The plan was to entertain, bring more members of the community into Islington’s oldest pub theatre and to raise a little money for the venue.  Here’s how it went with a short film of the highlights. Report by Nicola Baird. Thanks to Carlos Torres and Vicky Ryzhykh.

This is the short film (4 mins) of the ISLINGTON FACES LIVE 2014 highlights created by Archway resident Carlos Torres. Please do watch and share this film with Islington friends, family and colleagues. It’d be great if you can also follow the blog (see how at the top of the page and in the right hand column).

Selfie with guests. Photo by Nicola Baird.

Selfie with guests and helpers during the interval at Islington Faces Live. Photo by Nicola Baird.

Islington Faces Live – the show 25 October 2014

Islington Faces Live programme. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Islington Faces Live programme. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Dominic Haddock, Executive Director at the King’s Head Theatre until January 2015 helped co-ordinate the event, along with Jessica O’Neill, a Canadian community engagement expert interning with the King’s Head. We decided to make the tickets a fiver – and in the end raised £200 for the King’s Head Theatre.

It was only after the 2nd meeting with Jessica O’Neill at Coffee Works, 96-98 Islington High Street that it occurred to me that I’d have to interview people live on stage, something I’d never tried to do before. For the next month or so I watched a lot of TV interviews.

Once Simon Dolin – a past interviewee, see here – from Barnaby’s Hair Salon in Highbury Barn agreed to sponsor the event I felt confident to organise the guests. We needed eight great people. And we got them.

The running order was:

Bernita Matondo. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Bernita Matondo on the piano. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Bernita Matondo – welcomed us with stylish tunes played on the King’s Head Theatre’s baby grand piano.

Quick promo for the #islingtonfacesLIVE event on 25 Oct with a photo shoot outside the King's Head Theatre. I asked a passer by to snap us all so you can see Nicola Baird, Peter Gruner from the Tribune newspaper and Dominic Haddock, Executive Director of the King's Head Theatre & Opera Up Close.

Quick promo for the #islingtonfacesLIVE event on 25 Oct with a photo shoot outside the King’s Head Theatre. I asked a passer by to snap us all so you can see Nicola Baird, Peter Gruner from the Tribune newspaper and Dominic Haddock, Executive Director of the King’s Head Theatre & Opera Up Close.

Stars on stage

Dominic Haddock from the King’s Head Theatre revealed that Hugh Grant was just one of the famous film stars who’d started their career at the King’s Head Theatre. Dominic told use that the most successful show to date is La Boheme which has a scene in the pub next door’s bar. At one of these performances a drinker fell in love with one of the Opera Up Close stars – and they’ve now married! Ahh.

Pearly King of Finsbury. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Pearly King of Finsbury. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

The Pearly King of Finsbury, John Walters, had us all laughing as he warned that anyone with long hair (or wigs, or hair extensions) needs to be very wary of standing too close to a man covered in a suit of pearly buttons. He also revealed his next campaign is to get a better voice for ex-military who come from Islington. You can read an interview with him here.

Stanley Smart - poet mechanic in the audience. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Stanley Smart – poet mechanic in the audience. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Stanley Smart, who was born in Trinidad but has worked in London since his early 20s, then read his fine poem about the shocks he felt like when he first arrived in the UK in 1958. There’s a full interview with him here. Extracts from his poem are below:

Stanley Smart on stage with Nicola Baird during Islington Faces Live 2014. Photo by Nell May.

Stanley Smart on stage with Nicola Baird during Islington Faces Live 2014. Photo by Nell May.

England Our Mother’s Land
A land of milk and honey
A place of riches and wealth
The promised land. Where all of
citizens are rich.
Even the streets of England are said to be paved with gold…

What a tragic story
We’ve been told
A place of snow and ice
Where the rich are rich
And the poor are POOR –
Such myth and lies.

Gold? Not here.
So pack your bags and head for the hills.
Start taking the pillls
Otherwise you’ll end up paying council tax iblls
Oh gee wiz…
What myth…
Such a fool I was
Damn it.

The streets of gold?
Not here my friend.
Go. Tell them.

Hanisha Solomon and band. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Hanisha Solomon and band. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

We were then lucky to have the brilliant world music musicians on stage. Ethiopian-born Hanisha Solomon sang three fabulous numbers accompanied by a traditional drummer and an electric guitar. Go like her on Facebook here.

You can also read an interview with Hanisha on this blog here, and enjoy links to her songs.

After the interval we met the Mayor of Islington, Theresa Debono who is a councillor for Highbury West. She has raised her son here and talked about how being Mayor has helped get a better big picture view of the borough. The Mayor is supporting Pentonville Foodbank and Sure Start Islington.

Ernestas Jegorovas with telescope. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Ernestas Jegorovas with telescope. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Then came astronomer Ernestas Jegorovas who teaches physics at a nearby sixth form. He arrived in the UK from Lithuania knowing only two words of English – “dog” and “cat”. Apparently this helped him bond with the British as he discussed the weather and how it was “raining cats and dogs”.

Ernie admitted he’d like to be thought of as Islington’s answer to Sir Patrick Moore. And then he revealed his plans to launch a balloon into space from Highbury Fields. And we can join in thanks to crowd funding.

Pete May with Victorian lemonade bottle.

Pete May with Victorian lemonade bottle. Photo by Vicky Ryzhykh.

Next up was writer and Dr Who fan Pete May who shared some of the amazing finds he’s made looking into holes in the road including an oyster shell, an 1870 lemonade bottle, a bit of a powder toothpaste pot and part of an old clay pipe. Download his latest book, Whovian Dad here.

Scenes from the Gate cafe during a Speak Street session where you can learn English or Spanish with the locals.

Promo about a Speak Street session – organised by Joanna Bevan – where you can learn English or Spanish with the locals.

Finally we met Joanna Bevan who speaks five languages. She talked about how hard it is to learn a language unless you talk to locals, who can be hard to meet. To get round this problem she has just launched a pop up language cafe in Archway, called Speak Street, see info here.

Speak Street events are held on Wednesdays, 6.30-8pm at the Gate Cafe, 6 Archway Close, N19 3DT and cost £5. Refreshments are available from the cafe. Next dates (2014): Wed 19 Nov – English, Wed 26 Nov – Spanish, Wed 3 December – English, Wed 10 December – Speak Street party.

Thanks everyone – over to you

Many thanks to everyone who made it along to the event.

Do send some feedback about what you liked about the show or any ideas for future shows. And remember to do that poll up the top – and watch the fabulous film.

Oh yes.. and please follow this blog (see how top right of this page)? Be great if you can. Thanks!

 

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5 Responses to “FILM: Islington Faces Live 2014 at the King’s Head Theatre”

  1. Nicolette November 12, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Enjoyed the film, as I did the event, which reminded me why it is so great to live in Islington. (And it prompted us to go and see Opera Up Close do The Marriage of Figaro at the King’s Head – a terrific evening.)

    • nicola baird blogs November 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Nicolette – really delighted that you enjoyed the show and also that a trip to the King’s Head inspired you to go to the Marriage of Figaro. It’s such an intimate venue which means it’s much easier to be involved in the show – esp if like me when you go to the West End shows you normally book the cheap seats right at the back/in the gods! Nicola

  2. nicola baird blogs November 12, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    Jane’s London – which has fab photos and quirky info about London so definitely worth following – wrote a review of the show, see it at: http://www.janeslondon.com/2014/10/islington-faces-celebrates-100.html

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Carlos Torres: film maker & photographer | Islington Faces Blog - January 21, 2015

    […] Carlos also created the 4 minute film of Islington Faces Live at the King’s Head Theatre in October 2014. Find out more about this here. […]

  2. Richard Greening: Mayor of Islington 2015-16 | Islington Faces Blog - March 30, 2016

    […] interview on Islington Faces with previous mayors including Barry Edwards (2013-14). Also on this Islington Faces post you can find a clip when Cllr Theresa Debono was Mayor (2014-15) and spoke at Islington Faces […]

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