Friday, 1 May 2009

Spotlight's Big May Moving Storey

After 13 years at The Yorkshire House, Lancaster's live-writing cabaret, Spotlight, is moving to the newly re-modelled Storey in Meeting House Lane, which has become a centre for the local creative industries.

"The Storey's Litfest auditorium is a 'black box' but just like at Christmas it's not the box, it's what's in it that is important - and what's in this black box is dynamic space - a space in which anything can happen, a space in which people are free to experiment, revel in creativity and take on the challenge of the unknown for themselves and audiences," say Ron Baker and Sarah Fiske, Spotlight's Co-ordinators.

Spotlight, funded by Arts Council England and supported by Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council, is a forum for the Northwest's developing creative talent to perform and experiment with new work. The event gives a platform to poets, writers, comedians and musicians on the third Friday of every month. It's a dynamic platform on which a wide variety of aspiring writers are positively encouraged to experiment with words, music and performance. Spotlight is a place of ideas, always on the hunt for new and original performers at it's Open Mic spots.

"We may experience some teething problems, it's a brand new venue after all", say the Co-ordinators, "but that just adds to the excitement and improvisational unpredictability of Spotlight."

The first Storey event (15th May) will be Spotlight's first gig in its new home features the usual mix of new and established talents. Following an Open Mic session, writer Hendryk Korzeniowski has performed at the Spotlight before with the occasional monologue. Although generally someone who works hard at being idle, reaching the top 10 of Channel Four's playwriting competition 'The Play's the Thing' has broadened his horizons somewhat and tonight he'll be reading a new short story.

Poet Rosie Robinson grew up in the Lancaster area, works locally, and says she loves anything new. She made her first appearance at the Open Mic back in December and took part in the Spotlight Slam in February. As well as writing poetry she writes songs and sing a bit as well. "'I just about manage to keep the windows intact'," she jokes.

However, at Spotlight she'll be concentrating on poetry, as will newcomer Mark Charlesworth, who makes his Spotlight debut withnew material from his forthcoming second book, In Memory of Real Trees - a collection which focuses around the small moments of light amidst the often dark and chaotic world of ordinary life - together with more familiar selections from his first collection, Sunrise and Shorelines.

Chris Newton (aka Mr Weird) completes the prose and poetry perfomer section while music is provided by Arlen Connelly and Blanket Apology. Arlen made his Spotlight debut at the Open Mic last month playing a stunning five minute set if classical guitar and was an immediate hit with the audience. Based in Preston he plays a mix of established and self-penned pieces and reveals he's also been known to do the odd Jake Thackery number.

Blanket Apology offer an eclectic mix of blues, classics and originals. The band was formed in October 2008 after the members collaborated to perform a short set at a tribute concert in Southport in memory of musician, writer, poet and actor Dave Hockley. Orchestrated by Mick Cooper, Dave's friends, colleagues and acquaintances performed in a show and entertained the audience with the man's music, songs and poetry.

Compered by John Freeman, doors open at 8.30pm with Open Mic between 8.45 - 9.15pm. Admission £4 / £2 (conc). If you're interested in making an Open Mic performance, please contact Spotlight in advance via

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