I went to a gig on thursday night. Not your usual gig, this was a theatre gig for “people who don’t really ‘do’ theatre”. It featured two ‘acts’. The first one, Sylvia Rimat, turned out the lights, asked me how I thought I got here and asked me to sit somewhere I wouldn’t normally sit. After a curious walk aorund the stage, a letter to a psychotherapist and some chalk board writing her ‘set’ ended with me and the rest of the audience standing on stage necking rum!
We were then asked to clear away the chairs so we could enjoy the next act – who were an amazing band. When we came down to the performance area, Sam Halmarack was waiting for us and his band. Slowly and with a joyous subtlety, what happened next was an incredible journey that brought audience and performer together as one in a way that I (and everyone else there) will never, ever forget.
This isn’t the first Performance in the Pub show I’ve been to. I’ve been to nearly all of them. They are always something different. They are always thought provoking, engaging, fresh and entertaining. To carry the the idea of ‘the gig’ a bit further, it operates on a ‘pay what you can’ basis (a la Bandcamp) – an idea that is not only mind blowlingly simple and honest but also really brave. For this night, Hannah Nicklin ( Performance in the Pub creator and organiser ) actually printed up for the costs for putting it all on – when was the last time your favourite DIY act did that for their new record?
But it’s not just the art that I enjoy about these nights. Through these events I have met new people and new ideas. I’ve bumped into fellow attendees at other events in the city and have struck up conversations about what we’ve watched here. When the acts are finished there’s no polite banter over the merch stall – you can actually sit and talk to the artist about what you saw and felt. In fact it’s that in itself, the thinking about it all, that goes on for days after, that I really enjoy about these shows.
You should totally come along to one and be amazed too.