Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of Erdington Arts Forum
On Friday 19th June, the Evening of Creativity will be returning to the OIKOS Café – presenting its first ‘live show’ since the lockdown began.
An eclectic programme of music and art, June’s Evening of Creativity will be a mix of pre-recorded performances from musicians across the city – alongside selected live performances on the OIKOS stage, being streamed through the Erdington Arts Forum Facebook page.
The special Friday night showcase will be the first time the event has been held, in part, at the OIKOS Café since the widespread closures of venues to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Organisers are keen to recreate the live gig experience, using the full venue set up at OIKOS Café – with all the sound, lighting, and staging in place that you would find at one of their regular concerts.
Running from 7:30pm, musicians appearing across the evening will include Clive ‘the slide’ Allsopp – who is taking a break from his role as conductor of the Walsall Symphony Orchestra to play some solo jazz trombone.
Robin Surgeoner will also be performing a live solo acoustic show, playing a set of original music – all penned by the nine time Gold medal winning Paralympian swimmer, who is also a prominent musician, poet, and artist under the pseudonym Angryfish.
There will also be a special cooking segment from the Polish Expats Association (PAE), showing the online audience how to prepare authentic Central and Eastern European dishes – as featured in the Central European Cookbook on the PAE Facebook page.
Performing and hosting the Friday 19th June event will be local poet, Empress P – returning to the Evening of Creativity after her set at the 17th April showcase, the first event held online after the widespread venue closures.
Empress P will also be interviewing local author Ed King – whose new book, Snapshots of Mumbai, is an exploration into the South Asian megacity and the historic relationship between India and Britain. Keen to shine a light on the fingerprints of Imperialism for a modern day audience, Ed King will be discussing his book amidst the recent clarion calls for clarity over Britain’s colonial past.
Having run every month since it was first established in 2017 by the Erdington Arts Forum, the Evening of Creativity events have become a regular fixture in Erdington – hosted at the OIKOS Café on Erdington High Street, until the coronavirus crisis forced it online.
Committed to supporting artists across the constituency, each Evening of Creativity is also a chance to introduce new performers to Erdington – establishing them in front of a vibrant North East Birmingham audience, and vice versa.
But as the lockdown saw music venues close and stages left empty, the Evening of Creativity embraced a new digital audience – one that allowed the local event to reach out even further than before through social media and live streaming.
Now, as the coronavirus crisis is brought more and more under control, with the physical and social distancing restrictions being eased week by week, organisers are keen to nurture this new-found fan base – alongside returning to the live environment that helped establish the event.
“We’ve always been ‘standing room only’ at Oikos,” tells Jobe Baker Sullivan – Evening of Creativity founder and chair of the Erdington Arts Forum, “the live events were well supported and loved by a loyal crowd – every month, without fail, we saw a packed house enjoy music from across Erdington and the country.
“But when the lockdown came and venues closed, we were forced online to keep the event alive – recording performances and posting them onto social media. Initially we didn’t think of this as anything more than a stopgap, but the ability to reach audiences well beyond Erdington has been an unexpected gift.
“So, on Friday 19th June, we are going to bring back the live show – recording part of the event live, back at Oikos, and broadcasting it as it happens. But we’re also keen to nurture our new digital audience too and bring them more into the gig – recreating the live show experience as much as we can for everyone enjoying the Evening of Creativity online.”
To find out more about and Erdington Arts Forum and their regular Evening of Creativity events, and to watch this month’s event at 7:30pm on Friday 19th June, visit www.facebook.com/CAFEartsforum
For more on Oikos Café, visit www.oikoscafe.co.uk