This was our fourth event for aspiring young performers to have an opportunity to perform their original work to a LitFest audience keen to enjoy and appreciate the originality of young minds and upcoming talent. Stories and stanzas, dreams and nightmares, angst and introspection, observation and revelation, some accompanied by guitar or even bouzouki.
Freya Creaton, originally from the group of poets at Ralph Thoresby, now at Notre Dame and looking to move on to university later this year to study media and film, sang three songs. I say sang, but her voice is so pure and clear that she makes every word count in lyrics that clearly convey her poetry. Simple but deep, enhanced by her guitar. A delight.
Sophie Joelle writes young adult fiction and is active in the local writing community, enjoying open mic and spoken word events. She is also the organiser of the annual 12 hour Charity Open Mic, coming up again later this spring . She read out to us an extract from her novel-in-progress, When She Was Good. There was pindrop silence as we listened intently to her character Jess revealing some aspects of her character that left you clear there was a murky secret and some darkness to come.
Rhavine – we'll leave it at that, he's still teaching – gave us a darkly tragi-comic account of last lesson on Friday afternoon with year 8 when you are 11 hours into your new teaching career. What hell was the tedious curriculum! What fresh hell was our anti-heroine! Would he get through to the weekend unscathed? You'd have to have been there to find out.
Alex Mitchell has only just started in the sixth form but hopes to go to university to study journalism. He read out three of his poems with aplomb and assurance. Originally from Bedford, he gave us a rather bleak picture of the place which he clearly was less than devastated to leave. He confronted some issues about those who feel, or are, different, and gave us a poignant view from a father who does not know, yet, who his child might be or become. Poignant stuff.
Savage Wolf are an acoustic duo who gave us several songs from the album they are developing, a reworking of Little Red Riding Hood. The bouzouki adds a slightly exotic note to the multi-stringed guitar and powerful words belted out by the singer, Kirsten Savage. The nursery tale, as we know it, takes a rather darker turn here under the influence of a mixture of prog rock and folk music.
Lyn Bauman-Milner is a librarian by day and an author by night. Yes, night. Or the stuff of nightmares. A teacher's breakdown under the onslaught of year 9 and some of its less likeable students was both inevitable, pitiable and terrifying. Lyn's first collection of short stories, Dark Doors, was published by Leeds Trinity University in 2015 and she has had work both published and performed, as well as been long-listed for a Saboteur Award.
Mabh Savage describes herself as a pagan author, poet and musician who performed two pieces of 'Hekatean devotional music' as well as a song in honour of Brigid, the Celtic goddess of bards. Strange and powerful stuff. Mabh has a strong voice to accompany her guitar and belted out her chants with confidence and brio.
Samantha Crossfield describes herself as a reader and writer of both stories and poetry. She gave us an interesting twist – a description of London that focused on the world beneath the streets, the Underground. In more than one sense. Less menace than there might have been, though there were hints in this extract that with some unusual viewpoints and eyes in strange places, it could take a turn.
What an evening!
Special mention should be made of Freya and Alex. Supported by friend Callum, they formed the nucleus of the group of poets at Ralph Thoresby secondary school who developed the young poets' group 'Own Your Words' under the inspiring support of teacher Kate Wolstenholme. I wish she could have been there to see what she started. From acorns ...
Play the short video: here's a taster of Savage Wolf. Kirsten Savage introduces an item from its prospective Red Riding Hood album:
A lovely event full of awesome young talent - very welcoming
It's good because it's a really nice community event that brings plenty of people together
Genuinely saddened that this could be the last Cabaret Thirty. I hope this continues. Thanks for a great evening.
I enjoyed all of it. It wasn't my usual sort of evening, but something different. Clearly I like the band duo I came to see, but I also liked the poems and readings.
Put a pop-shield on the mics. Great event. Hard to find - please put a proper sign outside saying which gig is in which room.
A good mix of performers. Enjoyed it. Well done to everyone.
A diverse and entertaining evening. A welcome chance to see people who would not normally be given a stage, and to gain an insight into their ways of seeing the world. Well done and thankyou.
Exceptional and highly varied evening. Performers and the audience were very supportive of all acts and really built a feeling of collaboration and community. A wonderful evening.
All the acts were really good. Enjoyed the night. Quite inspiring actually.
The evening was highly entertaining. There was music, literature and comedy. Truly a masterful evening.
An invigorating mix of song and spoken word. Lively and lyrical.
First half: really enjoyed the event thus far. Everyone's been so warm and polite and the venue is lovely! Second half: More of the same. Really loved Savage Wolf, Freya and Alex's performances tonight!
Absolutely loved Savage Wolf. But who was that weird Canadian chick? A great night all round. Thank you!
Great event! Wonderful venue with astonishing acoustics. Diverse range of performers. Hope it continues!
Awesome evening. Loved the horror, comedy and Mabh the most.