To Worcester by train on Saturday 7th February for another performance of Two old instruments with Jonathan. Our second show in a library, this time in the intimate Studio of The Hive, Worcester. This state of the art building opened in 2012 combines the public library, University of Worcester library and access to County Council services in a single open plan structure. On a Saturday afternoon it was exhilarating to see it teeming with families visiting its extensive and welcoming children’s library spaces with their panoramic outlook, and using its friendly café; this striking piece of architecture evidently establishing itself among local people as a valuable and homely amenity.
Our evening show was the first dance event in a developing programme of small-scale performances. Afterwards our small but appreciative audience, including two young children, asked interested questions about the viola da gamba, unknown to most, and about the emergence of ballet in the eighteenth century… we felt encouraged by their engagement and concentration – and fascination with footwork!
Preparations for this performance took us twice to Didcot where we benefitted from the Cornerstone Arts Centre’s enlightened offer of reduced price rehearsal space in their bright purpose built dance studio, providing an ideal working environment of professional standard, cheaper than anything available in either Oxford or London. Cornerstone offers a cheering example of a local authority investing in a well equipped and centrally located arts facility, with friendly staff and an open door policy. A big thank you – welcoming artists in to use the facilities at off-peak times offers a lifeline to small scale initiatives developing and refining their work.
Here’s hoping that over time performing artists can become embedded, and audiences for dance and music built in these aspirational public spaces…