Types of event

Rodney Branigan and the Deadbeat Damsels

‘First Class US import’ Rodney Branigan, supported by local live music scene stalwarts the Deadbeat Damsels, brought his unique brand of ‘Full Contact Folk Music’ to an intimate seated gig at the Foxlowe Arts Centre on Saturday the 9th of March, 2019.

First up onstage were the Deadbeat Damsels, featuring Jill Povey on Guitar and Vocals, Alison Savigar on Vocals, and John Crimes on Percussion (no Steve Giddings on Lead Guitar this time round), and playing a mixture of Americana, (Alt) Country and Country Rock, old & contemporary, with strong voices and beautiful harmonies. Cover versions on the night included tracks from First Aid Kit, and Ward Thomas amongst others. Playing the Foxlowe for the first time – the Deadbeat Damsels are more used to performing in the pubs in and around Leek – we’re sure that we’ll see them onstage here again in the near future.

Featuring a percussive dual guitar sound – ‘One Man, Two Guitars’ – aided by pedals and sample loops, Rodney Branigan performs an original and virtuoso blend of progressive folk, rock, flamenco, classic, bluegrass and jazz guitar (and mandolin, when it stays in tune), mixed with stories from the High Plains of Texas, anecdotes and dirty jokes – all of which he calls ‘Full Contact Folk Music’.

Rodney takes the stage, and after greeting the audience launches straight into his trademark dual guitar attack on his song “about schizophrenia” – Schizophrenia – “just to get it out of the way early”. An hour and a half long set features covers of Creep by Radiohead, The Way You Move by Outkast, and Come Together by The Beatles, as well as Rodney’s own material, including the evocative and moving paean to trying to grow trees on the High Plains of Texas, One Seed, and Devil’s Delight (which he dedicates to his mother, with tongue in cheek), as well as incendiary instrumentals and his shortest song of the night – an accapella paean as to why you shouldn’t leave your vinyl records out in the sun!

Highlights included tales of trashing expensive guitars and trying and failing to get his money back from the manufacturer; innuendos and British expressions for solitary pursuits; the relative merits of George W Bush compared to Donald Trump and the former’s attempts to replace sex education in American schools with an ‘Abstinence Programme’; a dirty joke about two divorcees meeting in a bar; his relatively clean-living lifestyle these days and applying for permanent UK citizenship; why his merchandise stand only had Rodney Branigan tea towels on it; whether or not Leek has any hip hop fans; and his risky and potentially life-threatening act of dual guitar showmanship that has previously left him unconscious twice and with facial injuries needing stiches, prompting the use of motorcycle googles on previous occasions! Rodney, for reasons best known to himself and not made clear to the audience, performs the stunt with one jean trouserleg rolled up and a wink to the audience (perhaps the act of rolling up his trouserleg sets him up mentally, only Rodney himself can say), before hammering his dual guitars so hard that three of the strings break on one of them and then twirling one of the guitars around his head and sitting down in one connected blur of motion, all without missing a note! We saw Kris Barras play his guitar behind his head and with his teeth, Jimi Hendrix style, a couple of weeks back; but Rodney’s act of guitar showmanship was all the more impressive because of the potential – and actual, in previous performances – level of jeopardy and risk of bodily injury! Thankfully, everything went OK this time. Phew.

As ever, both acts who played on the night and the Foxlowe thank everyone who came out to support live music in Leek, and we look forward to seeing you at the Foxlowe again soon for upcoming gigs.

The Deadbeat Damsels at Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Deadbeat Damsels at Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Rodney Branigan at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax

Gemma Ray, plus band, and Thomas Truax, plus Hornicator and Mother Superior drum machine, played the Foxlowe Arts Centre on Friday the 1st of March. Following a whistlestop tour of Continental Europe, both artists recently hit England for a series of gigs at a select few venues, including the Foxlowe and the Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

Co-headlining and swapping the running order each night, Thomas Truax was onstage first (and frequently offstage, and outside as part of the performance). A quirky and eccentric mix of storyteller, inventor, performer and recording artist Thomas Truax, who travels the world with his collection of self-made instruments including his legendary ‘Hornicator’ and ‘The Stringaling’, supported Bob Log III at the Foxlowe previously before co-headlining with Gemma Ray this time around.

Mixing electro-acoustic steel guitar and live rhythm loops, plus percussion sounds coaxed from his Dr Seuss meets steam punk meets Heath Robinson-esque “drum machine”, called ‘Mother Superior’, Thomas Truax gradually builds up a magical and hypnotic sound over which he narrates tales about “about clones, butterflies, dogs, technology, loneliness, and other beautiful and sad things”. Further assorted homemade instruments, contraptions and gizmos, including ‘The Hornicator’, which is constructed from the shell of a junk gramophone horn, are utilised to create Thomas’ sound, and strings, springs and attached noisemakers on the afore-mentioned gizmos are plucked and set in motion too.

Thomas doesn’t confine his eccentric but captivating performance to the stage either, as he frequently wanders into the crowd whilst playing, and even goes outside the venue during ‘Full Moon Over Wowtown’, leaving the audience guessing as to which door he’ll reappear through or even if he’ll come back at all (hint – he always does). Wowtown is a surreal place from which some of the characters and events in Thomas’s songs originate, and fans of his music (or even just fans of the bizzarre and David Lynchian Americana) can subscribe to The Wowtown News, an email newsletter that he sends to a long list of email subscribers (GDPR rules may or may not apply in Wowtown).

Hailing from Essex but via Berlin, Gemma Ray and her band followed Thomas onstage for the second half of the co-headlining show.

Gemma Ray inhabits a similarly David Lynchian Americana audio world, with a woozy, hypnotic but unsettling mixture of Peggy Lee with Link Wray and Dick Dale-esque surf guitar (an accomplished and in-demand guitarist, Gemma plays with a wicked-looking kitchen knife at times, used as a slide running up and down the fretboard, and lodged behind the rear pickup on her guitar when not in use). Her and her band’s sound is akin to staring at a Blue Moon whilst underwater in the Pacific Ocean, sometime between the late 50s and early 60s, or the surfer from Crystal Voyager going under one too many times to the accompaniment of the Pink Floyd soundtrack. Both retro and yet contemporary, Gemma Ray and her band bewitch and beguile and ever so slightly unsettle (I’m reminded of that large kitchen knife again at this point!).

Eight album, called Psychogeology, is out now, and has been described by Gemma as ‘an ode to the majesty of landscape, the enormity of nature and time, and the inevitability of every human life eventually forming a minuscule part of further landscapes’. Music News states in their Psychogeology album review:

“This out-look has been honed from extensive global travelling and where [the Situationist concept of] ‘psychogeography’ is the seeking of a wandering un/subconscious resonance garnered from ‘urban’ areas, Ray goes ‘rural’, discovering a broader, wider, more expressive and expansive feeling of nature’s rhythms and tangents more attuned to the body’s inner torrents: the art of wandering in tandem with the art of wondering. ”

The review also references surf guitarists Dick Dale and Link Wray, and elements of Pipeline by The Chantays, and even perhaps ahead of his time but deeply troubled Joe Meek, Peggy Lee, the epic soundscapes of Pink Floyd, and all-girl groups like the Shirelles and Shangri-Las and torch singing chanteuses Billie Holiday and Julee Cruise could also be said to be part of the sonic mix.

The show finished with Thomas joining Gemma on stage to duet on a couple of songs, reinforcing the meeting of minds and bond between the two artists.

The Foxlowe thanks everyone who came out to the show, as did both Thomas and Gemma on the night, and we look forward to welcoming them back again in the future.

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Gemma Ray and Thomas Truax at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

 

 

Kris Barras Band and the Jack J Hutchinson Band rock the Foxlowe

The Kris Barras Band and the Jack J Hutchinson Band rocked a sold out, hot and sweaty Foxlowe Arts Centre last night.

The Jack J Hutchinson Band have supported the mighty Kris Barras Band on their Winter 2019 UK tour, throughout January and February.

Jack J Hutchinson is a British blues rock guitarist, based in London. The Jack J Hutchinson Band features: Jack J Hutchinson (vocals and guitar), Felipe Amorim (drums) and Lazarus Michaelides (bass).

The band, along with Stuart Moir and Alberto Manuzzi, are working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed album ‘Paint No Fiction’. The record, with artwork designed by long time collaborator Aaron Gardner, is scheduled for release in the summer. Hutchinson has stated: “Most of the material has come together whilst on the road over the last 10 months or so. Whereas my previous record was written mainly at home with an acoustic guitar, a lot of the new songs came together in sound checks and in hotel rooms jamming on my electric. So, unsurprisingly, it feels like a much heavier album with a lot of movement.”

Some of that new material was played during the set last night, along with tracks from his critically acclaimed album ‘Paint No Fiction’ and a frenetic cover of ‘Oh Well, Part 1’ by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, and was well-recieved by the enthuiastic 250+ sell-out crowd of blues, southern rock and classic rock fans.

The Kris Barras Band followed the Jack J Hutchinson Band, and played a trademark blistering set that featured classic rock and heavy blues guitar and “soul-wrenching melodies“, along with bravura displays of Jimi Hendrix-esque showmanship (including playing the guitar behind his head, and with his teeth) mixed with a swirling Hammond organ and keyboard sound, pounding drums and heavy bass.

The set featured ‘Watching Over Me’, a song written for his late father who had inspired him to pick up the guitar when he was 6. As a musician himself, he had played bass in Kris’s band. Kris’ father lost his battle with cancer a few years ago. The spoken introduction to the song and the emotional delivery was a touching tribute and touched everyone in the audience I’m sure.

The Kris Barras Band members are: Kris Barras – Lead vocals/guitar, Josiah J Manning – keys, Elliott Blacker – bass, and Will Beavis – drums.

From the Kris Barras Band website bio page:

“Inspired by his father at the early age of only Six years-old, Kris was already making an appearance on stage before turning Ten. He has since gone on to spend more than twenty years thrilling audiences throughout the globe playing live.

“The band have appeared at major festivals throughout the UK and Europe. These include Ramblin’ Man Fair (UK), Rawa Blues Festival (Poland) and Bliuzo Naktys (Lithuania). 2017 saw the band complete two very successful tours in both the UK and Europe with 2018 lining up much more of the same.

“In April 2018, it was announced that Kris would become the new frontman for USA super-group, Supersonic Blues Machine.The band feature’s legendary artists such as ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather (Toto), Eric Gales, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) and Walter Trout.

“Kris was nominated for ‘Blues Guitarist of the Year 2017’ by Total Guitar magazine and voted into the Top 15 Blues Guitarists in the World by Music Radar.

“‘The Divine and Dirty’ album was released in March 2018 and went in straight at number one in both the Amazon and iTunes Blues charts as well as Number 3 in the Official UK Blues/Jazz Charts, where it remained in the top 30 for 12 weeks. The album also reached the UK top 40 on Amazon for all music; the only blues-based band in that chart at the time.”

Jack J Hutchinson Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Jack J Hutchinson Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

Kris Barras Band - Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Limehouse Lizzy 2019 Tour

Limehouse Lizzy, who continue to keep the spirit of Celtic rock icon Philip Lynott and his band Thin Lizzy alive, are officially one of the hardest working bands in the UK.

Rocking up to a cold and icy Leek on Thursday the 17th of January as part of their 2019 Tour, they played to a packed room of Rock Fans of all ages, including the children and grandchildren of rockers old enough to have seen Thin Lizzy live in the 70s and early 80s.

As their Facebook Page states:

Attention to detail, playful audience interaction and that all important X-factor that leaves you with the feeling of witnessing the real thing have led to their performance being described as “beyond tribute”, by both audience and critics alike.

Returning to the Foxlowe for 2019, the audience were treated to the Celtic influenced tracks like ”Whisky in the Jar” and “Black Rose”, amongst the usual razzamatazz, audience banter and the classic tracks “The Boys are Back in Town”, “Sarah” and many others that we’ve come to expect from one of the most highly rated acts on the tribute circuit.

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Limehouse Lizzy 2019

Photos by Giles Metcalfe

The Dylan Project December 2018

The Dylan Project visited the Foxlowe Arts Centre once again, on the night of Thursday the 13th of December, 2018.

Now in their 20th year, but unfortunately sans Dave Pegg for this show (apparently “unavoidably detained” elsewhere), The Dylan Project (Steve Gibbons, Dave Pegg, P.J. Wright, Phil Bond & Gerry Conway) played under the banner of the Cuckoo’s Nest Folk Club to a packed room of respectful but enthuisiastic Dylan fans.

As their website says:

“Don’t be misled by the word ‘tribute’. Although the phrase “tribute band” can mean a slavish facsimile or a big-name cash-in, The Dylan Project is far more than a mere copycat act. The members bring their own distinctive take on the music, Steve Gibbons interprets the lyrics with stylish individuality and, above all, respect for a master writer and performer shines through every word, every note. As Mojo’s reviewer said: “The Dylan Project is a tribute in the best possible sense. Touching and deftly handled, it makes you marvel, once again, at the scope and majesty of this singular writer’s work.””

Thanks on behalf of the Foxlowe and The Cuckoo’s Nest to the band and everyone who attended on a very chilly night in Leek. See you again next year!

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

The Dylan Project - Foxlowe Arts Centre Dec 2018

Photos by Giles Metcalfe.

The Little Unsaid

The Little Unsaid played an intimate gig in front of a select audience on Friday night, in the packed cafe area of the Foxlowe. The cafe was adapted into a performance venue for the night.

Touring in support of their ‘Selected Works’ album (Reveal Records 2018), the band are described as being ‘musically inventive and lyrically astute – creating tension between extremes (harmony and discord, sadness and joy, the technological and the organic) – an artist of considerable range’, Album of The Month, by FolkRadio.co.uk

Reveal Records is the home of Lau, Joan As Police Woman, Eddi Reader and more.

Fronted by songwriter John Elliott, The Little Unsaid are a band with an original sound and international outlook. The band have spent the last year touring Europe, leaving audiences emotionally rapt with a live show that’s been described as ‘a thumping depth of passion’.

Their sound is all their own but echoes the intensity and melancholic overtones of greats such as Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, using light and shade in their music and lyrics, and quiet and loud passages, to great effect.

2017’s critically-acclaimed Imagined Hymns & Chaingang Mantras album was recorded with Radiohead engineer and film score producer Graeme Stewart. The Little Unsaid embrace elements of rock, folk, electronica, jazz and alt-pop. One of the UK’s must-see rising live acts and recent winners of the Steve Reid award for Innovation.

‘Entrancing… songwriting of a real rich quality, all held together by an intensity of approach, by a focus on the emotional weight music can carry’ – Clash

‘Extraordinary music. This is an amazing act’ – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

‘A brave and often brilliant collection’ – R2 Magazine (on Selected Works)

With support on the night from Indie/Alternative singer-songwriter Venn Goodwin.

Venn Goodwin

Venn Goodwin

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid - photo by Giles Metcalfe

The Little Unsaid – photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thanks go out to the volunteers who adapted the cafe space into the venue for the gig and put everything back again afterwards, and to Ivan for taking care of the Sound.

John Bramwell

Singer-songwriter John Bramwell, supported by Dave Fidler, played a unique and captivating largely acoustic solo set at the Foxlowe on Friday the 9th of November, 2018, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Alan Lowles and Dave Fidler.

Despite the Autumn storm that was raging outside – you could hear the wind howling and rain battering down outside during the quieter moments of his set – around 50 or so hardy, enthusiastic and highly partisan fans braved the weather and turned out to watch an evening of songs “inspired by the spirit of liberty, independence, adventure and solitude that John has enjoyed on the road, as well as the diverse emotions that escape and travel can bring about – from sadness to exhilaration”, with vocalised sound effects, audience participation and often hilarious asides, interpolations and interactions with members of the audience and his entourage between songs.

Biographical Information

John Bramwell is one of the UK’s most unique and talented singer-songwriters.

Performing as a musician for over 30 years, John started out as the front man of a four-piece band called “The Ignition” that toured in the 1980’s. Following that he became a solo performer and Granada Television presenter, Johnny Dangerously.

Bramwell formed ‘The Mouth’ in the 1990’s with friend and musician Bryan Glancy and later worked booking bands at the longstanding and legendary Manchester venue ‘Night and Day’. It was here that he met Pete Jobson and formed ‘I am Kloot’ in 1999.

The three piece alternative rock band went on to release ten albums, receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011 for the exquisite, Sky at Night, produced by Guy Garvey & Craig Potter from ‘Elbow’.

Each ‘I am Kloot’ album is a brilliant showcase for John’s skilful songwriting and distinctive vocal style.

A brilliant showman, throughout his career John has developed a legendary, live reputation establishing a relationship with audiences with his refreshing honesty, tall stories and his catchphrase “here’s another song about drinking and disaster”.

His new solo album, called Leave Alone the Empty Spaces, is out now. The record is a stunning showcase of John’s fabulous, widely acclaimed song-writing and his unique voice. It’s the first completely new collection of songs by John as a solo artist since he started his adventures away from ‘I am Kloot’.

Dave Fidler’s first solo album, I’m Not Here, and the Easy Gone, Easy Come EP are also availabe, including on Spotify and iTunes for your listening pleasure.

Dave Fidler at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

 

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Thunder Hammer Spooktacular Halloween Ball

Thunder Hammer made their third appearance at the Foxlowe on Saturday the 27th of October.

As with their previous two appearances, the event was a sell out, and the Foxlowe was packed.

Billed as a Halloween Ball, the more extrovert and adventurous members of the audience dressing up as zombies, Día de Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) Señors, Señoras and Señoritas, Axl and Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Horror Film characters, and Marvel and DC Comic characters, amongst other costumes. It looked like a lot of effort had gone into the hair, makeup and costumes, and you all must have had some funny looks travelling to the venue or if you were out and about around town beforehand!

The Band themselves were in their usual stage clothes, although Leek-based bassist Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons was rocking a pair of cowboy boots! The band members in full are:

  • Simon Ward – Lead Vocals
  • Ben Forrester – Lead Guitar
  • Dave Leese – Lead Guitar
  • Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons – Bass
  • Josh Jones – Drums

Our very own local ‘Monsters of Rock’ play a mix of Classic Rock and Heavy Metal covers, and this was their first show back together as a full band after their lower-key acoustic appearance in Leek, and now legendary sell out preformance at Trentham Gardens in the summer, which saw over 2500 rock fans descend upon Trentham to witness the Hammer in action.

Warning – some of the following photos contain fake blood and gore, and outrageous riffage and face-melting shredding, which some viewers may find disturbing!

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 FXLW

Now in its sixth year, the expanded Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 was held at 20 different indoor and outdoor venues all across Leek, with more than 60 bands playing, from Wednesday the 3rd of October to Sunday the 7th of October. The Festival was a great success.

On Wednesday the 3rd of October, The Foxlowe Arts Centre hosted The Guy Tortora Band, with support from Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef.

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef

The Guy Tortora Band, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Guy Tortora Band

Sunday the 7th of October saw the FXLW: Americana sessions taking place all-afternoon and into the evening, featuring an eclectic lineup of six bands and artists playing from 12 noon until 7pm – Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Lissy Taylor, Fine Lines, and The Strange Blue Dreams.

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford

The Rye Sisters, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Rye Sisters

Mean Mary & Frank James, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Mean Mary & Frank James

Lissy Taylor, at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Lissy Taylor

Fine Lines, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Fine Lines

The Strange Blue Dreams, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Strange Blue Dreams

A big thank you to everyone involved – the artists who played on Wednesday night and on the Sunday, the sponsors, the Foxlowe staff and volunteers for all their hard work in staging the events, and to all that attended.

All photographs by Giles Metcalfe.

Gawain and the Green Knight – Crowdfunding Call

Gawain – diligence and faith by Sue Prince

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November celebrating the links between the Staffordshire Moorlands and the epic medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This 14th century Arthurian tale features chivalry, romance, temptation and a beheading challenge.  Members of the public will be invited to take part and make their mark in a pictorial retelling of the tale guided by local, internationally known artist Sue Prince.  People will also be able to listen to a talk, eat medieval food and take a guided walk to the stunning Lud’s Church with Gawain specialist Clive Foden.

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action.  The event is being organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade through the town, complete with giants, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to delighted crowds.

Before the public workshops, Sue Prince, who lives in Ilam, will teach the skill of painting a ‘bonad’ (a style of narrative folk art in egg tempera) to art students at Leek College, and some will become her expert helpers. Then on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November, everyone is invited to come to the college, learn the technique and add to Sue’s version of the story: they can even paint a medieval version of themselves along the bottom of the artwork.

Clive Foden, a skilled woodcarver and Gawain specialist, will travel from Norfolk to deliver one of his enthralling talks on the evening of Saturday 17th November at the Foxlowe Arts Centre.  He will discuss the poet’s interest in craftsmanship as well as the unmistakeable landscape clues in the poem. The following day, Sunday 18th, Clive will also lead a guided walk over The Roaches and down into Lud’s Church – the poem’s Chapel in the Green where Gawain meets the Green Knight to submit to beheading!

All the events are free (apart from a small transport cost to the guided walk) and to enable them, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September (running for four weeks) to raise the £3375 needed. There are lots of exciting rewards in return for sponsorship!

People can choose to be immortalised in this unique artwork by being depicted as a character from the poem, such as Sir Bertilak and his lovely wife, or King Arthur and Guinevere.  Other possibilities are Knights of the Round Table, several courtly ladies, and Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s wicked sister.  There are even a number of mythical beasts like the woodwose. Or perhaps your horse could be Gringolet, or your dog a hunting hound? Other rewards on offer are the opportunity to be a giant and take part in the annual Dr Plot’s celebration as Gawain or the Green Knight. or being taught how to play medieval bagpipes.  But if none of those tempt you, then there you will be able to pledge for copies of Sue Prince’s stunning finished artwork in various forms, or just make a donation, so there’s something for everyone and to suit every pocket!

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Background

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect (the others being Pearl, Purity and Patience) and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, now known either as the Pearl or the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek, North Staffordshire. 

For further information

Please contact Lindsay Trevarthen on sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

Search

Categories