Not sure how I missed earlier events including one called ‘A Living Forest’ linked to the Born Free Foundation. But I was glad to be invited to a story telling and poetry event tonight, which means that after problems with funding ONCA is up and running again.
Tonight Joanna Coleman and storyteller Abbie Palache did a double act for ‘A night of becoming an animal’ a celebration of shapeshifting. After creating the right atmosphere with an echo sound, lighting a candle, thanking the stories for their wisdom and setting a tiny cup of whisky on a stool they began. Taking it in turns with lyrical performance poetry from Joanna and skillfully dramatic storytelling, singing with the occasional accompaniment of a drum from Abbie.
Subject matter was based on traditional tales, both intriguing and sometimes macabre. It included among other topics a creepy variation of Goldilocks in poetry and a very well told ballad including singing about a girl stepping into the skin of and becoming a fox. Both performers were spellbinding.
The art work at Onca is always well worth a visit, today a wonderful ‘Ghost Tree’ in the basement, a beautiful installation under the stairs, some wooden/paper hedgehogs etc. I was a little disappointed there was less work on show than in the past but now they are open again no doubt more works of art will be at their disposal. Of course all these works of art are for sale.
After the workshop for the second part of the evening we were invited to find our own wild voices using the art work for inspiration. After 20 minutes the audience were invited to share their work, which many did My effort about a dearly departed Ashtree in London was inspired by the Ghost Tree but was not ready to read, but we were asked to email in our finished pieces if we wanted to.
Onca organises exhibitions, workshops and performances concerned with conservation and environmental issues. I have been to several events in the past, all of which have been facinating. I remember spending a happy birthday afternoon writing poetry at Onca about butterflies, this followed a talk about migrating birds and a visit to the Pavilion gardens. Another exhibition had some boots as an exhibit that told us of their journey. Brilliant!
Tonight the audience looked as interesting as some of the exhibits, a lot of knitted things, a bright red cotton dress with frills. a green skirt with painted birds and more than one flower in someone’s hair, so I felt at home. A flower in my hair is my thing these days.
More storytelling events to come and of course more art work in the near future. Worth checking out Brighton. The ONCA Gallery 14 St George’s Place Brighton BN1 4GB
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