Write to Ignite 2009 was supported financially by Arts Council England and Hackney Council. There were 26 events throughout September engaging with a local audience of 2,597 and employing 88 local artists, poets and writers.
The Festival Director was Andrea Enisuoh who offered a very diverse programme. Presenting John hegley at the Mildmay working man’s club on Newington Green and Shane Solanki at the Third Runway @ Stoke Newington International Airport were just two of the highlights. Baden Prince’s Guerilla Poets invaded markets around the borough and culminated in an appearance on the Hackney Peace March.
Following the success of Michael Rosen’s piece performed by students, we decided to mound a professional production at the local Rosemary Branch Theatre. This was part of a mini Write to Ignite festival in 2008.
The play was performed in the round with a cast of 12 actors and directed by Christopher Preston.
Following this production, Christopher directed a sound recording at ‘The Studios’ to be used as soundtrack for Michael’s forthcoming film about Hackney Under the Cranes.
Working with Immediate Theatre’s Penny Cliff, Christopher Preston set out to photograph the blue fence surrounding the Olympic Park. The colour and the way it tore through the landscape was very dramatic. This exhibition has now been seen at the Hackney Museum, the Shoreditch Town Hall and the Walthamstow Library.
It is an ongoing project with photographs being taken each year recording the progress of the site’s development.
This 10 week playwriting course continued with even more success than in previous years. 11 Students enrolled in the course which was partnered by Hackney Library Services, who provided the venue and marketing support with leaflets. Funding was obtained from the Learning Trust’s Adult Education department under the banner of the “Words Unite” project.
The course took place every Saturday Morning at CLR James Library in Dalston Lane. We were able to programme two days of rehearsal and increase the actors to 6. Rehearsed readings were presented at the Homerton Library Hall as part of Write to IgniteHackney Word Festival for 2008. Eight plays were performed over a four hour period and an estimated audience of 50 attended.
Feedback from participants and audience was extremely positive and there was a waiting list of writers wanting to enrol on future courses.
“Write to Ignite” the Hackney Word Festival
Maya Productions continued to be part of the Hackney Literature cluster and handed the administration of the co-ordinator role to Centerprise Literature. We were proactive in the redevelopment of the Write to Ignite website and contributed two events to the mini Word Festival mounted by members.
Maya Productions was the lead organization on this project heading the Hackney Literature cluster of 14 organizations and individuals. Write to Ignite was supported by Arts Council England and Hackney Council.
Headed by local wordsmith and entrepreneur Nathan Penlington, the festival delivered 49 events in 21 venues across the Borough during September and engaging with 4,334 people from across London and beyond.
Local libraries and schools were involved as well as some unexpected events in the Clown Museum, a disused shoe shop and local Pubs.
Hackney Resident Michael Rosen was appointed poet laureate for the duration.
Babel Junction – a collaborative play set in Hackney
Directed by Suzanne Gorman
Produced by Christopher Preston
Designed by Paul Burgess
When Hackney district nurse Evelyn Brewster suffers a miscarriage, the ghost of her Tante Melde begins to take over. Her quest for motherhood seems fulfilled by spirit child Faith, but this takes her to the edge, forcing ex-patient Chava and her boyfriend Fez, karaoke singer Pukalani Crow, and kebab shop worker Kerim to face their own demons.
Babel Junction is set in Dalston, a place of many cultures and faiths where everyday life collides with hopes dreams and the supernatural.
Babel Junction was first performed in the Hackney Empire Bullion theatre on 26th April 2006
We contributed to the Hackney Word Festival Write to Ignite with a playwriting course lead by Christopher Preston. 10 writers worked on 20 minute scripts which were then read at the Homerton Library.
Pacific Voices – a national tour of polynesian stories and spoken word.
Babel Junction workshops began with five writers from different faith and cultural backgrounds.
Rehearsed readings of Emancipation Day (Diary of an Edwardian Lady of Colour) at Soho Theatre, Stoke Newington School & Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Purakau PounamuNational Tour
The Diary of an Edwardian Lady (of Colour)
Research and workshops around the true story of the Rice Family from Sutton.
What’s Your Story?
A research project gathering stories and photographic images from the diverse communities living around Islington Arts and Media School. 23 interviews were collected for publication and drama workshops held with year nine pupils on the theme of immigration.
You’re In Danger by Jerome Thomas.
A drama and video project with the Queensbridge Youth Club, Hackney. A six minute futuristic space adventure was produced combining live action, illustration and narration. 22 youth club members between 8 and 15 contributed, 9 as performers and 15 as artists.
Outwrite In East London
Continued at HomertonCollege, Hackney
A Gay Comedy by Christopher Preston was co-produced with the London New Play Festival. Many of the performances were sold out and the production achieved an overall box office of 80%.
Outwrite in East London
Continued in Newham Schools and Homerton College site. 25 young writers in East London benefited from having their work performed.
Shooting Baskets and Shaving Legs
Written by Waltham Forest Young Writers and Performers (LADDERS) became a reality rehearsals, shooting and editing involved over 20 young people in all aspects of Video production.
Memories of an Indian Childhood
Written and performed by Sita Ramamurthy was premiered at Leicester Haymarket Studio and subsequently toured to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Outwrite In East London
Continued with three Newham Secondary Schools and Homerton College in Hackney taking part; the development of a video script with the Waltham forest Young Writers & Performers and a series of play writing workshops for Waltham Forest Secondary Schools.
Contemporary Classics – Antigone
Was a piece of research to investigate the possible similarities in form between the Ancient Greek Drama and the Kuddiyatam, and ancient Sanskrit drama form which survives today. The resulting workshops with musicians and actors explored inter- cultural theatre forms and will be invaluable for future work.
Outwrite In East London
Continued with scripts by 29 teenage playwrights performed.
By Neil Biswas toured to Plymouth, High Wycombe, Leicester, Harrow, Bristol and London (3 venues). It received 33 performances in 8 venues.
OUTWRITE IN EAST LONDON
(Finding the writers of the future) was launched with programmes in Newham and Waltham Forest. Teenagers attended after school playwrighting workshopsculminating in script in hand performances by professional actors.
Maya Productions was founded by Sita Ramamurthy and Christopher Preston . Its purpose was to encourage work by Black and Asian playwrights.