17th December 2016
Hello listeners, what we have here is a guest post from Richard Cox of Ridgeway Editorial – based in Swindon. I was unable to attend this event so Richard agreed to do a write up on my behalf. Thanks Richard. I can’t be everywhere – my name’s not Dolly – so this is fab.
So welcome to the Bohemian Balcony!
A new home for Swindon’s artistic evolution
Swindon has always found ways to adapt, regenerate and recreate itself. That’s what industrious people do: they make ideas a reality.
Across the town, groups and individuals are making their voices heard in new, refreshing ways. And in one of our historically significant community hubs, The Palladium (http://www.rodbournehistory.org/?cat=23), a new creative hub aims to provide a space for artistic freedom in the community. It’s called The Bohemian Balcony.
Based on Jennings Street near the Outlet Village, The Palladium used to be a 750-seater, single-screen cinema. It attracted film lovers from the late 1920s to about 1960. But since then, the only full house within its walls has been at bingo nights: you know, eyes down … take a chance.
That’s exactly what the founder of The Bohemian Balcony, Dan Rivers (32), is doing. He’s taking a chance to bring his ambition of ten-years to fruition. For almost his entire adult life, Dan’s been searching for the right opportunity to bring Swindon’s excellent creative practitioners into the spotlight. In 2016, that moment arrived.
Taking time to talk after the venue’s first Creative Collective event–a networking and collaboration forum– Dan explained the thinking that led him to reopen The Palladium’s doors to the public.
“There wasn’t a big moment,” Dan reflects. “I just realised that I could achieve anything and that you only failed if you didn’t try.
“There’s no motive other than creating a space that I can share with everyone and say, let’s evolve the arts in Swindon.”
And that evolution is already underway. The evening’s Creative Collective comprised two halves: the first was an opportunity to discover the new space and mingle; the second aired the work of a local screen-writer, Alex Secker, and Bristol-based comedian, James Micic.
Alex’s script for a short art film, read aloud by volunteers, explored the emotional attachments we all make with our homes. Set at a property viewing, the story follows just two characters: the owner and the viewer. It’s an everyday scene; however, it’s clear from the off that the viewer has a history with the property, and problems arise when things are not as they used to be. Watch this space.
James’ act was a testament to the hard work stand-ups put in to find the comedy sweet spot. His energetic style of delivery tied together a string of carefully-crafted witticisms, with audience participation playing a key role. And even if one or two punchlines fall to the cutting room floor, that’s the evolution of art. Both Alex and James received positive feedback from the audience.
“This place is not for egos and self-indulgence; that’s left at the door,” Dan shares as the evening comes to an end. “The ethos here is just to have the bravery to give it a try, no matter what.
“My hope is that I reach more and more people. My dream is that this place will be buzzing every single night with people, with events, activities …. 2016 is the time that we sparked something, and 2017 is about shining that light on it.”
The next event to be held at The Bohemian Balcony is with the Experimental Drawing Hub, from 12 to 3pm on Saturday 17th December.
The open-enquiry session will be led by local artists Beverley Greig and Paul Exton. It’s a great opportunity for anyone to explore their artistic expression in a friendly environment.
Tickets are £5 with all the takings going toward The Bohemian Balcony. For more information and to book your place, please visit https://thelittleboxoffice.com/bohemianbalcony.
About Bohemian Balcony:
‘A special place where artists grow and a space for imaginations to freely flow’
LAUNCHING IN JANUARY 2017: Based in the former Swindon Palladium Cinema, the Bohemian Balcony is an alternative arts venue for creativity, experimentation, training and production. We will provide a unique space and creative platform for artists, practitioners and students to freely express, develop their art, collaborate and bring their imaginative work to life.
The Bohemian Balcony will be an active, buzzing hub of creativity where multi-artists can train, develop and practice their art. A network and ensemble of performers, directors, scriptwriters, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, designers and artists all under one roof to not only keep the arts alive in our community but also to take our practice into a new generation and allow our practitioners of the future to emerge.’
The Bohemian Balcony
Jennings Street, Rodbourne
The Palladium: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/48331
‘Located in Jennings Street, off Rodbourne Road, Swindon, Wilshire. The Palladium Cinema was opened around 1928/1929. It was built and operated by Even Swindon Cinema Ltd. and had 750 seats at its opening. It was equipped with a RCA sound system.
The Palladium Cinema was closed by 1962 and was converted into a bingo club.’