Saturday, 18 March 2017

Cabaret Thirty

Kirsten Savage, Mabh Savage, Freya Creaton, Billy Humphries, Samantha Crossfield, Lewis King, Alicia Fernandez Photo Richard Wilcocks
Richard Wilcocks writes:
This time, it came right. A year ago, when I first gathered in a crop of young upstarts from far and near, the evening was a long, rather straggly thing. Sure, the talent and the enthusiasm was there, but the timing was out, with no interval and what should have been a second half marked by people sneaking out for toilet breaks. I also felt the need, back then, to provide flapjacks and chocolate cake, for reasons which seemed good at the time. On Friday 17 March 2016, each act was well-timed in advance by the performers, we had an interval and those plagued by hunger (not many) or in need of a drink were able to visit the HEART café. No flapjacks on the tables, just vases of daffodils and feedback forms.

In addition, sensitive to being told off last year for not saying enough when introducing the acts, I agreed on some salient snippets in advance. We all now know that Kirsten Savage, for example, not only owns a bunny called Tyrion, but that she was wearing a wig: the lovely waist-length hair she had last year is now gone, sheared off to raise money for the Macmillan Nurses. We also know that Lewis King is one half of a comedy act, and pretty amusing when appearing solo. All of the ones who were in the same room in March 2016 have, in my firm opinion as a temporary impresario, firmed up, progressed and developed. As all of them have already indicated that they want to step forward again next year, I am imagining that we are in for a really superb gala evening in 2018. And then there’s the terrific newcomers, all of whom are invited to take part in the next LitFest!

Jade Verbick writes:
It’s always exciting to see a showcase of the incredible talent possessed by young people. With a mixture of music, short stories, and poetry, Cabaret Thirty contained a wide variety of talents. At times I found myself laughing, crying, awed by the immense skill that this group of young people possess. While everyone who participated was incredible in their own right, there are a few acts that stuck out for me. 

Alicia Fernandez recited poetry about, among other things, planets, radios, and Doc Martens. Her poems were short, beautiful, and resonated with me. The feeling conveyed in her work was honest and relatable, and I would love to hear more from her. Another incredible act was Freya Creaton. Her music was incredibly catchy, with her beautiful voice and excellent guitar skills. Her songs stuck with me long after the cabaret came to an end. Lastly, Lewis King’s short stories were very entertaining. Filled with humour and suspense, both of his stories were refreshing. I would love to hear more. I cannot wait to see where this group will go in the future.

Tamsin Scott writes:
If theres one way to be reminded of your procrastination, it is to attend an open mic night for people under 30. Not only did I feel inspired to pick up every hobby I can think of, but I was astonished by the talent that young people have. As a 20 year old myself, Im constantly in awe of how much people can accomplish in such a short amount of time. However, what shocked me most about Cabaret Thirty was the absolute variety of the talent. 

There were a number of singers, but all of them stood out for different reasons. Whether it was Billy Humphries songs that made me inexplicably nostalgic for a summer I had a few years ago, or Kirsten and Mabh Savages extraordinary vocals that filled the whole room with a kind of bubbling excitement, there was something for everyone. I never found myself bored, and after every act I found myself not wanting them to leave the stage. I was also struck by the emotion behind Samantha Crossfields short story, which although set on a tube took the audience places far beyond. The idea of a mothers love for her child is something so tender, and Croswell managed to capture that within only 5 minutes. Working at Headingley LitFest has inspired me to no end, and seeing young people perform so beautifully has made me pick up a pen for the first time in years.
Sally Bavage adds:It was delightful to see Freya Creaton  perform her own songs to her guitar: she was one of the original poets from the Own Your Words group at the poetry workshops financed by local councillors at Ralph Thoresby school for the past four years. Four of her supporters from the school came along too, and some hope to perform in next year's Cabaret 30.  Freya was clear that she would never have got into singing her own rather elegiac songs if it hadn't been for the start the poetry work at school had given her.  A lovely route to progression, thanks to the sponsors of our extensive community programme.

It was great that a couple of Leeds university students, Tamsin Scott and Jade Verbick, were able to come along as  volunteers to help with the event.  Good to see them at an event with the artists and audience in their age group!

Audience Comments

Awesometacular.  Fantabulosical.  Brilligular.  Wonderpendous.  So good I had to invent my own adjectives.

Better, much better, than I anticipated.  Lovely atmosphere and talented entertainment.  Hope to return next year.

The event was superb and a great way to spend my Friday evening.  I hope to attend and take part next year.

Excellent evening, incredibly talented artists.  Very comfortable, beautiful atmosphere.

A fascinating evening of music and poetry.  The venue has a nice warm intimate feeling.

Hello!  This evening was awesome!! Very fun and well-paced.  I think everyone should be able to take something away from this event.

A diverse range of performances, very enjoyable!  The venue is great and the atmosphere is welcoming and warm.  Good mix of music and spoken word.

Good variety of performances and friendly venue.  Impose time limit on performances.

A wonderful opportunity for younger artists to share their voice in a friendly atmosphere!  A fun variety.

The music was great.  Stand-up comedy would have been a good thing to have, but I have no talents so my criterion is not to be taken seriously.  Keep Freya and Kirsten for the next one.

Really important showcase and opportunity for young artists to perform.

I'm really grateful for this sort of event – it's crucial to promote local young talent!  It's been a delightful and inspiring evening  :)

Enjoyed it very much, very good performances by all and a good mix of different styles and artforms.

Some people's performances could benefit from the use of the microphone.

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