Live at the Palace

Posted by Ken Edwards on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 Under: Reality Street
Reality Street Live at the Electric Palace cinema, Hastings, ended on 23 April with a wonderful and rare reading by Denise Riley of new work, bookended by two remarkable ones by Richard Makin, aided by Miranda Gavin's images projected onto the screen behind him.

The series started in February with a visit to Hastings by Philip Terry, reading from his 1066-themed Reality Street novel tapestry, and also from his reworkings of Shakespeare and Dante. I read from Down With Beauty and with Elaine Edwards performed a musical version of part of Bardo.

We had almost a full house for that opening event, and a good crowd, supplemented by a contingent from Sussex University, for the final evening with Denise, Richard and Miranda. There was a disappointing turnout for the middle one, the "guest evening". I think I took my eye off the ball there, figuring that SF writer Christopher Priest and sax maestro Trevor Watts, both Hastings residents, would automatically bring in local support, but that didn't really happen and I could have done a bit more promo. So apologies to them both, and to Paul A Green, also on the bill reading from his new novel.

I haven't had any experience putting on readings outside of London before. It's very different. There, you can rely on a coterie of serial poetry-reading attenders, but on the other hand the events are ignored by the wider world. Here in Hastings, I was surprised how few of the people I would have expected to show up didn't, and how many of those who did were people I didn't know, and who didn't previously know the writers/poets/musicians performing. I asked a few how they heard about it, and more than once got the answer they "saw it in the paper". Yes, the two stories I managed to get into the Hastings Observer appear to have helped.

Yes, a few books were sold. Not many, but enough to bridge the deficit on costs and make it a break-even venture.

Will I do it again? Perhaps next year.

Many thanks for volunteer help on box office, projection and bar from Nicholas Johnson and from regular Electric Palace stalwarts Tim and Georgia (who also run the Stone Squid gallery across the road from the cinema). And to Rebecca Marshall, Electric Palace co-founder, for facilitating it.

I am not done with the Palace, for, wearing different headgear, I shall be helping to promote The Moors' EP launch with a live gig at the cinema on Sunday 15 June. Book now!

In : Reality Street 

Tags: "reality street live" 
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Ken Edwards This blog is written by Ken Edwards, co-founder and editor/publisher of Reality Street, and it's mainly about the press. Ken's personal blog can now be found at