This year, the Langwith Provost, John Issit, and a group of enthusiastic students got together with a common goal: to further the regeneration of the college with a day devoted to arts.
Hardcore arts fans turned out early for a lecture by Karin Greenhead, an internationally-renowned specialist in Dalcroze Eurythmics. Greenhead covered a range of topics relating to ‘movement’, the theme for the day. Exploring links between motion and emotion, and using her own piano playing, poetry readings from Nicky Woolf and Venetia Rainey and slides from art and architecture, Greenhead set the tone for the day.
Fresh from the lecture, we were treated to a jazz warm-up from Quinquagesimal, followed by an energetic performance from Samba York, unstoppable despite a broken drum. ACS impressed the audience with attitude and innovation and the Dance Society also made several appearances, combining energetic futuristic routines with jazz and street. By lunchtime a holiday atmosphere prevailed. Strawberries and cream were handed out to all and sundry, and many ventured into the bar, where a tempting yet sickly chocolate fountain was on offer.
I took the opportunity to tour the Norman Rea Gallery, featuring an exhibition based around ‘movement’. Artists from St Johns, York College and the Mount School shone alongside the work of York students in a variety of mediums. Competition winners were Jim Ayres of York College and Hannah Welch, whilst the provost’s choice was Deirdre Ford.
Returning to the courtyard, Juggle Soc began a poi, juggling and staff spinning workshop which attracted many. The return of Samba York really began the audience participation as people were encouraged to grab an instrument and shake it with the drummers. Break dancers from Gravity Control then took to the stage, provoking whoops from spectators at their amazing balancing and acrobatics. They reappeared later with a courageous bunch of Langwithians who also attempted some spinning, with limited success but a lot of audience support.
To illustrate the variety of performances, we were then impressed by Footnotes, a barbershop quartet who combined classic songs such as ‘Yesterday’ with a shameless plug for Bad Taste magazine, which was handed round during the performance.
After a short spell on stage, magician Tom Weil entertained the crowds, shrieks of disbelief often drowning out the performances as he turned packs of cards into blocks of glass, and pulled people’s jewellery out of his shoes.
The afternoon was rounded off in style by Pant Soc and their gauntlet of madly attired characters. One plucky contestant completed the haphazard challenges, beating off a series of aggressors to win a coveted bottle of cherry Lambrini, and then beginning an impromptu cream pie fight, exacting her revenge on each member of the cast in turn.
Hopefully this will be the first of many arts festivals in Langwith, attracting an even wider variety of submissions and performances.