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Councillors Interview Open Studios Talent Match Wonderworks Ben and Max Haringey Literature Live Green Rooms Karamel Promoters Far From the Western Front
Welcome to the 8th edition of the Quarter. A special edition focusing on the Wood Green Cultural Quarter. With all the regeneration and development currently being discussed for the area, it is an opportune moment to look at the successes, new and exciting developments, hear from our ward councillors about Wood Green and what is being planned. The 20th Open Studios will take place in November 2016 where visitors will be invited to discover what is new in the Wood Green Cultural Quarter: Chocolate Factory 3, the Green Rooms, in addition to Chocolate Factory 1, Chocolate Factory 2 and Karamel. We hope you will join in and celebrate 20 years of Open Studios. Please send your comments about this issue, the Open Studios, what you liked, and what you think should be in the Wood Green Cultural Quarter to email@example.com. Editorial Team Manoj Ambasna Preeti Dasgupta
Design and Illustrations Rosie Chomet
Contributors George Jackson Eleanor Harding Kate Pemberton Chris Sheehan N22openstudios
For any comments or enquiries, or to suggest an article: firstname.lastname@example.org
Created and distributed by Collage Arts
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
COUNCILLORS INTERVIEW Interview by George Jackson
Stephen Mann and Alan Strickland are councillors for the Noel Park Ward in Haringey Council, an area that covers both sides of the Wood Green High Road including the Chocolate Factory. There are few people with more influence on the future of the area than these two men, and we sat down with them to discuss what the next few decades might have in store...
here and how to approach it. Some of these people do it because it is their hobby but for lots of people it is their living as well so it very important to get that wider audience and take the Chocolate Factory out into Wood Green and North London.
Could I begin by asking you about your relationship with Collage Arts and the Chocolate Factory?
One of the things we do as councillors is knock on doors a lot, and I remember last September SM: I’m Councillor Stephen Mann, a councillor for Noel Park Ward with my colleague going along Alexandra Road which is very here Alan. That covers all of the area around the Wood Green High Road: both sides. close to here. Someone asked us, ‘what are you When I became a councillor last year I was asked to sit on outside bodies, and Collage doing for the creative arts?’ She said that she Arts had a vacancy. I knew quite a bit about what was happening at the Chocolate was an actor and was interested. I mentioned Factory: the fantastic artists and creative people who have been attracted here, and the Chocolate Factory and she knew nothing I jumped at the chance of being on the board. I’ve been in that role since September about it. I mentioned the theatre school and she and in that time I’ve met some wonderful people, and seen some of the terrific knew nothing about it. So literally there seems to be a divide between the buildings here. difficulties that some of the people are having here in terms of their concerns about People need to know that they can get through to the facilities here. I want people to see the future of their studio given the uncertainty over what is going to happen with the vast array of work that goes on here, from painting and sculpture to making ballet the building because the landlord potentially putting up rents. So the work that shoes, and see that Wood Green is the cultural centre of North London. Manoj and the board have done to secure reasonable rents for a large part of the Chocolate Factory has given a far more positive future for people, and those who AS: I agree with all of that and only thing I’d add is that it is very important in the creative have had to move out have been found space just across the road. sector to make it accessible. What you see in Wood Green and in Tottenham also where there is lots of similar studio space is that you don’t necessarily find that local residents That’s a building newly passed over from the council? have studios there, and you don’t necessarily find that young people feel that it is realistic to be a sculptor or a painter or an actor or a digital designer or whatever it might be. SM: Yes. For example, Collective 306, who are a charity helping people with mental What I’d like to see, and I hope the new Mayor with his Deputy Mayor for Culture picks health issues through their creativity: making jewellery, making pottery, making this up as well, is looking at ways to make arts jobs more accessible to local people and fabrics, that is really a good example of the work I’ve seen in the Chocolate Factory local schools. Too often young people don’t see it as an accessible sector. It can be seen that is supported by Collage Arts, and it is the sort of work as a councillor that I want as a sector where you need money to get in. Breaking down some of those barriers is very to see not only protected but expand and reaching more people. in. important. AS: I’m Alan Strickland and I’m also a councillor for Noel Park. I’ve lived in Wood Green since 2007, when I moved from the North East to work in London. I haven’t been as involved in Collage Arts as Steve but my involvement has been partly as a local resident going to the Open Studios weekend, and buying slightly too many things. I’ve been keen to get local people engaged with the Chocolate Factory because too often you meet local residents who didn’t know it was here or are unsure what it is. In my role leading on planning and regeneration we are doing the big planning work for the future of Wood Green. We are keen that as part of that, of course we want some new housing, but we want to keep jobs and work space in Wood Green. We want to ensure Wood Green keeps some of its character: because here and also in Hornsey there has been this rich cultural history. We’ve had artists, piano factories and music studios and of course Hornsey College of Art was nearby. The Chocolate Factory is the last main outpost of that in this area and I think that is really worth protecting. Doing that isn’t a sentimental thing: people here are part of businesses, it is creative industry and that is really important. There are jobs here, and for that reason we want to grow it. What we are finding is that creative businesses are knocking on the door of the council, of course Hackney has had a creative revolution over the last ten years but the prices there have been rising and businesses are keen to move into Tottenham and Wood Green. There is an opportunity to grow the Creative Quarter around here and that is something we are really passionate about.
So it is about awareness? AS: In the future it’d be nice to have cultural scholarships that say to kids you don’t need to be a wealthy person with five degrees to be an artist, you don’t need amazing contacts to be a sculptor. If you have got the talent then there is a space for you in the Chocolate Factory and there is a scholarship to support you: practical steps that make young people say ‘I want to do that.’
“I want people to see to see the vast array of work that goes on here, from painting and sculpture to making ballet shoes, and see that Wood Green is the cultural centre of north London.”
What is your relationship with the creative sector in this area? It has grown a lot Through the schools possibly? in the last twenty years, and where do you see it going in the next twenty? AS: Partly yes, but it is also to do with aspiration. Do advisors and teachers feel SM: Alan mentioned the Open weekend that happened in the Chocolate Factory last comfortable if they have someone talented saying ‘you should be an artist.’ If they are really good at drawing or design do they say ‘you should be an architect.’ My worry is in year. For a lot of people, including myself, who thought they knew a lot about what goes on here, as we went through the maze of studios the vast range of creative this borough all too often they probably don’t. people here became apparent: the painters, the sculptors, the people making toys, such an incredibly wide range. What I want to see is more people knowing what goes
Collage Arts | Chocolate Factory Artists | Issue 8 | Quarter
Around a third of the GDP in the area is contributed by the creative sector. How do you as councillors grow that and exploit that and use it to drive the economy of the area? AS: Firstly, I think that it is important to stress that we as a council support the sector and are keen to have it in the borough. The second thing is to ensure that workspace is available. There is a big challenge across London that workspace has disappeared because residential property is so attractive financially that everyone wants to invest in housing. Very few people want to invest in office space or warehouse and studio space. We’ve made it clear that we want to protect the Chocolate Factory as a work space but equally we want to grow work space in the area. What we will do is make sure that some of that is available as affordable workspace. What you are seeing in London now, and I was at a meeting with other regeneration people a few weeks ago, in a debate about affordable housing was an acknowledgement that there is a similar problem with affordable workspace. When new workspace is built it is often big shiny offices which costs an absolute fortune and wouldn’t be suitable for artists and creatives anyway. You don’t want the creative sector to be pushed further and further out of London.
Where do you see the creative sector and the Chocolate Factory going in the long term? AS: We want the Chocolate Factory to be at the centre of a much bigger creative cluster with all sorts of jobs and creative industries here. That would give Wood Green town centre a greater buzz and it wouldn’t just be about retail. There would be other jobs as well. What is so important is that across the UK high streets are struggling because people are shopping online and all the supermarkets deliver so when you look at high streets across the country that continue to thrive they have different sorts of jobs, or they have a theatre – they are more of a leisure destination. If we can get people in Wood Green in the studios making things, and then also selling them as well. So then you get the jobs and the retail but you also get the results of all this amazing stuff being produced. Then I think Wood Green would become not just another high street which is struggling just like everywhere else but it becomes an interesting place where you can buy all these quirky things. Also, if you have loads of artists here you have a nice vibe, a nice atmosphere. If you want to come for dinner or coffee it is a nice place to hang out. Across Europe, in Berlin and other places, you find that when you have a cluster of creative industries and people it contributes to making an interesting and exciting place and not just an identikit, boring high street. When the economy begins to serve those creative communities you start getting interesting nightlife and cool cafes which then has a knock-on benefit for wider residents.
SM: I was talking to someone who was in Hackney up until recently where they were in a project to help creative artists but also to help start-ups – they’ve got these wonderful ideas about design and all the rest but the studios that they were in are priced so high that in the end people had to move out. Luckily they made it to Haringey. I think what we need in Haringey is that the creative people are given opportunities by the people that are supporting them to not just be artists but to be given a market to sell their goods in. That’s very important. I think that, to get back to your question, will help drive the local economy and also give opportunities to people who are unemployed and can’t find a job: it helps them build up their skills. A challenge is that the government has enormously cut our budget here in Haringey by £170 million in the last couple of years. Money is tight. There are lots of things that we’d SM: We had an event in July called ‘Shop Wood Green. Love Wood Green’ or like to spend money on but can’t. ‘Independent’s Day’ celebrating independent shops. People who work in the Chocolate Factory set up stalls in Wood Green for the day, including Talent Match and 306. They did The creative arts are very important. If I could go back to the Studio 306 Collective. a good trade and lots of people were stopping, but usually to find them you’d have to I like visiting them and talking to them and meeting the people that they employ go online or go through a series of ringing bells getting through reception here. When there. They employ people who have had mental health issues. They are people who have been isolated from society who through making pottery, garments, jewellery are you find it the quality is wonderful! The thing is getting it in front of the public because given a focus in life since at the end of it they can sell their products. The products they when the public see it they absolutely love it. A lot of it has a Wood Green brand on it: pictures of Ally Pally, ‘love Wood Green’ or ‘made in Wood Green’ and that brand, if it sell are mint condition. They have professionals helping them do this. When you visit them you understand what the creative arts can do for people to bring them back into is something that we can get marketed, could be a very positive thing that increases people’s sales and makes the place a lot better known. society. It is about more than the economy.
“We want the Chocolate Factory to be at the centre of a much bigger creative cluster with all sorts of jobs and creative industries here.”
Wood Green has the second highest footfall in the country, but a very low spend. There is a lot of new social housing that is going to be built just over the road from the Chocolate Factory, and you’ve mentioned the Team Noel Park project. What What are the socio-economic factors that have brought this about? projects are you running to build and foster the community in Wood Green? SM: One of the problems with Wood Green over the years is that it went from the AS: There are a lot of things going on. It is important to say that a lot of the community position of being somewhere where people went to shop – like how people go and stuff is quite separate from the regeneration side of things. There is Team Noel Park but spend some money at Brent Cross or Oxford Street these days – to not. I remember, going back to the seventies, where Wood Green had that kind of feeling about it. One also there are some very active resident associations in the area. There are community gardens: some wasteland was taken over with the support of the council and turned of the problems, over the years, is that Wood Green has dived a little bit because the into a garden with olive trees instead of dumped fridges. There’s been work in the shops that it provided started going downhill. We lost Marks and Spencers. We lost alleyways as Steve mentions to make sure people feel safe: gardens and murals working British Home Stores. In Wood Green we’ve attracted quite a lot of pound shops and cheap clothes shops. Primark, surprisingly, has been quite successful because it brings with local schools. The most important thing with community is that the council is doing things like Team Noel Park which join things together but also it is not the council’s in a lot of people who spend a lot of money here. Even before Marks and Spencers went they downgraded it to a store where you could only buy seconds, so you couldn’t job to generate community and thankfully we have a lot of community leaders who go there and buy high range Marks and Spencers goods. This is all because there isn’t do their own thing and organise all sorts of sports groups, play groups and that sort of thing. There is already a very strong sense of community here and the important thing so much money in the local economy: people in Wood Green don’t have so much when new projects are built is helping the new residents link into the wider community. money. The median wage is something like £23,000. Across Haringey it is something like £33,000 so it is quite a poor area. Positively, there is still a lot of social housing here We don’t want the new homes to be a hidden background site where people feel completely disconnected from Wood Green. That’s where it does link to regeneration but that does mean that there is not a lot of money in Wood Green. and one thing we have been looking at is seeing if we can create more routes into Wood So I think what I have seen in the last four or five years, despite losing those big name Green from the new housing to ensure that it feels like part of the area. This way the people there would naturally shop in Wood Green because it is the easiest place to get stores, is things are picking up. There are more places now. There is a café culture. Restaurants are starting to come back to Wood Green. I think there are things that we your stuff. can do to make things better. One is the parking restrictions: you can’t actually park The other aspect of the planning is trying to create a green route from the high street your car here unless you are a resident by which time everything is closed. So that is one thing to look at. Also, cheering up the area: between the high road and here (the down Coburg Road (in front of the Chocolate Factory) in a sort of boulevard through an improved tunnel into Ally Pally park. The railway line really cuts the borough in two Chocolate Factory) the only access are these dingy little lanes that people go down and we want to link communities here new and old to the west of the borough. Also and see people drinking and stuff and people get put off. We are working on a lot of schemes here in Noel Park with the local residents’ associations to make these places a that would mean that if you lived in Hornsey or Crouch End you could get into the lot more accessible. We’re working with the police to cut down on anti-social behaviour creative quarter and Wood Green High Street much more quickly. The only way the creative quarter is going to be successful in the future is if it has more support and more that drives people away. I’m always disappointed that the shopping mall closes so early. On Oxford Street places are open until late but Wood Green tends to close down people taking an interest. A key part of that is making sure that not only people here are using the creative quarter but also people with disposable incomes in the west of the around five o’clock and that is something we really need to look at to attract people borough. here and spend more money. There are plenty of positive things happening in the short term.
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
SM: The Team Noel Park project came out of the idea that the thing that drives people mad is rubbish in the streets. We wanted to find a way to work together - councillors, the council, the contractors that pick up the rubbish, the local community – to do something about that. Since the beginning we have added things like anti-social behaviour. It is now supporting litter picks in the park and in alleyways and the estates. It has started off being council-led but we are looking at it being community-led. All the people on it are from the various residents’ associations. We collectively produce a newsletter that goes through the door of every single resident in Wood Green. We’re starting to showcase the things we do: up on the Sandlings there is a community centre with dance classes, gardening classes, all sorts of activities. We’re looking at building on that.
boroughs Haringey is intentionally putting its flag in the ground to say that our creative quarter is something that we want to grow and we prepared to work hard to make sure that we get more affordable work space. We think Wood Green once again, as it had been in the past, should be a natural home for people with creative skills and creative jobs, and we want our local residents and young people to be more involved with that.
SM: I think that the Chocolate Factory is the jewel in the crown of Haringey. What we need to do is make sure that more people are aware of it. My message, like Alan, to the creative people of London is do come to Wood Green. It is a fantastic place with a great tradition and an even brighter future. Our role as councillors is to always bang the drums for the Chocolate Factory: wherever we go and whoever we speak to. This is something we value. It is something that we support and will go on supporting. We want it to grow. One thing I have seen over the last six months is all these residents’ associations, which We want people to recognise that this is the cultural centre of London, because if you were in their own little pockets, are now talking and engaging with each other on how go through that warren of studios up there you’ll see that there is so much talent and to build a community. We’ve got some big activities coming up: we’ve got photos of energy and so many fantastic people. We need to make sure everyone has heard of it. key residents in high-vis looking at rubbish saying we’re not standing for this and the posters are going on every lamppost and tree in Wood Green. The residents are doing something for themselves for their community. Finally, what would your message be to the artists and creatives of Wood Green, and indeed London? AS: Come to Wood Green! We are going to have improved workspace, expanded workspace and the chance to be part of a growing community of creatives. The council and the local community are behind it. While creatives are being priced out of other
Collage Arts | Chocolate Factory Artists | Issue 8 | Quarter
N22 OPEN STUDIOS Over 120 artists open their doors!
SAT 12/SUN 13 NOVEMBER 12-6pm FREE ENTRY Chocolate Factory 1 5 Clarendon Rd Wood Green N22 6XJ
Chocolate Factory 2 4 Coburg Rd Wood Green N22 6UJ
Chocolate Factory 3 40 Cumberland Rd Wood Green N22 7SG
The Green Rooms 13-27 Station Rd Wood Green N22 6UW
For directions and to preview the artists’ work visit www.n22openstudios.com
Chocolate Factory N22 Open Studios, celebrating 20 years, is quite a milestone when you reflect back on how it all started in 1996. A derelict building on Clarendon Road N22, empty since 1990 and just crying out for artists who with Haringey Arts Council (the previous name of Collage Arts) having failed to persuade the owners to make a unit available for studios, decided to squat the building and finally convinced the owners to make a unit available. That first unit was taken within two hours of being offered and the artists with Collage Arts built the studios, and so started the life of Chocolate Factory. The first Open Studios was promoted under a banner of “Imagine”....... and the public were invited to visit what was then an empty building and to imagine multi artform studios, performance spaces, gallery and lots more. Over 20 years we have achieved almost what was imagined in 1996, we have the performance, dance, photography and film spaces, over 100 artists’ studios, a venue for music and theatre, and a restaurant. We have Chocolate Factory 1, Chocolate Factory 2, Karamel and now Chocolate Factory 3. The N22 Open Studios in 2016 will for the first time promote the Wood Green Cultural Quarter. The signs have been up for years but it has never been acknowledged or given the prominence deserved. This year, Collage Arts, in partnership with Haringey Council and the Green Rooms will promote the Wood Green Cultural Quarter starting with the N22 Open Studios. A map has been produced to accompany the N22 Open Studios leading all visitors to the event through what is the current Wood Green Cultural Quarter and featuring all the highlights of the cultural quarter. It will start from the Green Rooms, a brand new addition to the Wood Green landscape, and the UK’s first art hotel. The Green Rooms will be hosting a reception for all visitors to the Private View of the N22 Open Studios and will also feature the work of artists from the Chocolate Factories in the ground floor gallery; then why not discover the new Chocolate Factory space on the fourth floor of Chocolate Factory 3. This year we will also feature many of the successful musicians and music producers with performances throughout the event in both Chocolate Factory 1 and Chocolate Factory 2. So enjoy the new and existing delights in the N22 Open Studios and let’s celebrate 20 years of the event and more importantly, the acceptance of the Wood Green Cultural Quarter, after all it has only taken 20 years of campaigning for it be finally recognised. Here’s to the Cultural Quarter becoming the key asset of Wood Green, which we creatives always knew it was....
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
TALENT MATCH In London, youth unemployment is significantly higher than the national average. Talent Match, a national programme funded by the Big Lottery, has a branch in a studio at the Chocolate Factory, and has developed a unique ‘youthled’ method for combating this. The key factor that 18-24 year old Londoners lack compared to their counterparts across the country, according to Talent Match London’s Project Manager Toby Fernandes, is a reliable ‘network that allows them access to the sort of work that they want to do.’ Contact with professional people builds confidence, develops communication skills and leads to work experience. Talent Match fosters relationships between local businesses and young people who don’t know where to start. Sarah Buller, for example, became involved with the organisation after her sister studied for a Digital Media Apprenticeship with Collage Arts in the same building last year. She is an artist who struggled to use these skills in her work. ‘There are loads of artists based in the Chocolate Factory,’ she says, ‘and since that is my area of interest I thought that I could build up good connections by getting involved.’ After impressing on a series of projects, she ended up leading a group of peers from Enfield who had no experience of art through a massive set design project for an immersive theatrical experience, similar to Secret Cinema. ‘I went from only being slightly involved to leading on things,’ she says. Her peers gained crucial work experience, and Sarah now works for Talent Match. Her story illustrates the ‘youth-led’ nature of the organisation. Their youth board, of eight 18-24 year olds, decide what is best for the young people coming on and, as board member Dowa Ojarikre tells me, ‘ensure that the organisation has the right projects in place to help them.’ The board runs one-to-one meetings with their peers, as well as longer projects such as Sarah’s. ‘Toby is really easy to talk to,’ she explains, ‘but sometimes you want to talk to someone who isn’t going to judge you, because they’ve been in the same position.’
Hungary: A Talent Match Trip What is the project called? Toby Fernandes: We are involved in several projects. They are pan European, and we work with different partners in different countries. One of them is called ‘Break in the Desk’ and was about thinking creatively about business problems: getting artists and business people to work together to figure out solutions. Sarah Buller: We were given a problem. For example, there was a guy who had a café and wanted to get more people coming in. So we had a day of brainstorming and came up with some events that he could hold there. So this business man was trying to use the creative mindset of young people to help find a new angle to look at his problems. TF: It was a week long programme of exercises. Everyone followed a set framework for thinking about problems and developing solutions. We wanted to get our youngsters to look at things differently. The framework will be up on creative commons for everyone to use. It is like a business plan but not written in a business plan sort of way. What did you get out of it Sarah? SB: It was great talking to other artists and musicians across Europe, and see how they approach problems. This happened in Hungary, but you were meeting people from all over Europe? TF: Eight different nationalities. TalentMatch led the British contingent? TF: Yes. So young people from this part of London gained business experience through exposure to these businesses? TF: Exactly yes, from being on the course. We’re going to do another one in Nantes soon and one in Spain also. So there is going to be a continuation of the project for these people. If they have business ideas or entrepreneurial aspirations, then they can flex their muscles and really get some practise in.
The reasons that young people are unemployed are complex and various, and so the method for dealing with the situation have to be too. When you lack confidence that you can cope in a professional environment then it is very easy to become demotivated, especially when there is no established route into many careers. So often people just don’t apply for jobs, and the lack of work out there leads to near constant rejection when they do. It is a minefield. In short: young people often feel that the world of work is an impenetrable world in which they don’t belong and through their youth-led programme Talent Match demonstrate to them that this is not the case. Their strategy appears to be working: sixty-five percent of those who come through Talent Match go on to get jobs or courses. Perhaps because it is housed within the artistic cornucopia of the Chocolate Factory the organisation has had particular success helping people into roles in the media. A particular success story is a young alumnus who is being promoted up the ranks at ITV. The work is satisfying to Toby. ‘People come in and say that they do have aspirations but right now they just want a job,’ he says, ‘and we look at those aspirations and find them something closer to their dream than they thought was possible... I like those stories.’
What skills have you gained from the trip to Hungary? SB: Leadership was the main one. Everyone was speaking English, but it was most people’s second language apart from us so it gave us the space to take a lead, even over people who were much older. That was great for our confidence. It was an EU project? TF: Yes, it’s a shame. But following the referendum we’ve been told that it should continue since there are other partners involved who are nothing to do with the EU. There is another project that I went to Croatia with, and another one in Barcelona. That project is called TalentMatching. Its purpose is to validate the people, like Sarah, who have worked on these sort of things for a while, almost a year, and give them some sort of official accreditation. Scottish Qualifications Authority are going to validate it for us. We want a system where we know what skills a youth worker needs so we can develop a system of competencies to say, she has done this for us, she has done that for us, and can evidence it. It’s helping youth workers, including me (and I can qualify at level seven, Sarah at level five), who might not have a degree to say that they are qualified. Would you consider a project over here? TF: We’re doing a week long training course for Europe based youth workers here in London. I want some of our young people to do some of the mentoring and delivery. Hopefully we can use the new artists hotel that has opened in Wood Green, as well as here in the Chocolate Factory. We also have an office in Shoreditch. Would you involve Wood Green businesses? TF: What I want is to demonstrate how we do it, because I think our style is very different from Europe. What works here, and the only thing that has worked here, are projects connected to local businesses. They can see the transferrable skills in that young person. We did an immersive theatre project, which Sarah led and got a job out of because a professional that was working with us. We want to give them experience, showcase work and create a network for them, leading to further opportunities.
WONDERWORKS Interview by George Jackson
There’s always a buzz at the Chocolate Factories in Wood Green with over drummers drum is a constant reminder for us that what we design has to be used by a 200 artists and companies working creatively every day. Take a peek inside band. If we had been in a big corporate office somewhere we would have missed that. the world of Wonder as we speak to Piers Sheppard, founder and director You have a core staff and then you work with artists and contractors, technical of Wonder Works Ltd. people, and you’re based in this very artistic space, to what extent then is collaboration important to your business?
We have a very small full time staff of four of us and then we will scale up, for the Olympics for example, to about 700-800 people. For the Secret Cinema Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back last summer we went from 4 to 12 to 150 for the summer.
“Our business is half technical but half creative, we’re coming up with very technical solutions to creative problems”
When did you move to Wood Green as a business? And what has being based here allowed you to achieve? We came Winter 2009/10. The Chocolate Factory gave me an environment where I could expand the business and not have to pay huge rents while worrying about electricity bills and business rates, which really helped in the early days when it was just me. We’ve slowly grown the business over the last five years to the point now where we have got too big, which is good. The Chocolate Factory helped me make the transition from working in my bedroom to the point where I could take it more seriously.
So collaboration is absolutely at the core of what we do, including often reaching out to meet new people. We are looking at new technologies or new people. We are looking at new technologies or new groups of people who do something in a show that we’ve not seen before because everyone wants something which is unique and spectacular. That could be spectacular because it is very aesthetically pleasing or because it is clearly very technically innovative. To what extent are you an artist, and to what extent are you a scientist?
I’ve always worked in the events industry doing technical coordination for large scale events so either design, or coordinating between designers and suppliers. It was more as a freelancer, and I think the move to the Chocolate Factory was the step from being a freelancer where I only had to get work for myself to saying, ‘this is going to be a business and we are going to employ more people and grow.’
Ultimately, my role is to support very creative people but also to deliver reality. So it’s fifty fifty. I have to work with people who are coming up with ideas that may be difficult to implement or hard to understand. It can be very easy to talk about a creative idea but it is our role to ground it, and deal with all the physical things that nature has, which sometimes creative people don’t have to address. So we have to deal with wind loading, or if you’re touring with a band then you have to deal with the fact that it has to pack into trucks and tour to the next city every 24 hours. I often, if I’m working with creative teams, will suggest ideas if I don’t think they’re pushing things hard enough. It can be like ‘this sounds lovely but we’ve all seen it before.’ Why don’t we go and do a workshop and test out an idea that may or may not work. I’m very keen on real world workshopping of things. It may go wrong. It may sound silly but some of the best effects that we have come with have come out of us playing with things and trying things out in fields and seeing if it works.
The services at the Chocolate Factory helped you turn it from a freelance project into a business?
So your technical knowledge is useful creatively?
What was your job before you founded Wonder Works?
Yes: it was very important to me to have an office where clients could come, where I could have meetings, where I could have an address that clearly wasn’t my home address. It sends out a message that you are being more professional, and more business-like in your dealings with clients. There are many other artists based here, it is a set of studios, to what extent does that impact on your work? It did in two ways. Though not a huge amount in terms of working with existing artists and with people based here. However, we did some work with a photographer who has taken photos for our website who is based on the fourth floor and we’ve done some graphic design with an artist based here. It is more that you feel a solidarity with the artists that are here, you feel comfortable and that this is a supportive environment, which to me was very attractive. You are in a creative space. Our business is half technical but half creative, we’re coming up with very technical solutions to creative problems so hearing music is good, and we have a lot of music studios on our floor. There a lot of music events here, and hearing singers sing and guitarists play and
If you can’t deliver an event then you don’t have an event. On these very big projects the budgets are very tightly controlled. There’s a weird thing that happens if people spend a lot of money and expect something spectacular and unique, but in order to do something spectacular and unique you often have to risk something. You have to risk it not going well or you have to risk people not enjoying it. So that’s an interesting balance for me: trying to steer a production into something that is truly interesting and fantastic but guarantees that if you spend x amount of money then you will get a good result. So you have this balance. Smaller productions can take more risks because they have less to lose but very big productions going out on an international broadcast can’t be too avant-garde; you have to be quite conservative because there’s a lot at stake. I often get into weird political discussion where people are balancing the risk of doing something very cool and jaw dropping with something that is guaranteed to work. There are three facets to my job then actually: technical, creative and risk analysis. The third is very important to someone who might be spending a lot of money.
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
Could you give an example of something that you workshopped not knowing if it would work, but it did, and finally did so spectacularly? We did a lot of work on the Olympics with James Bond parachuting out of helicopters and that was very high risk because there was a chance that if it was windy the parachuters would get stuck on the flying lines that we had coming across the stadium. So we then moved to Oxfordshire and did a series of tests that proved we could control a parachute in a high wind if we used a smaller parachute. If you have a smaller stunt parachute it falls a lot quicker but allows you much more control of your movement. The only way we found that out for sure was testing in a disused airfield: we kept dropping these guys out of helicopters until we could guarantee that on the day the parachuters would miss the stadium and land safely and we would still get a spectacular thing. Did the idea for the famous James Bond helicopter stunt come from Wonder Works? No – that was the creative team led by Danny Boyle. There was the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, Production Designer Mark Thompson and Film Producer Tracey Seawood. They came up with ideas and presented them as a storyboard to us and I’d sit with them in meetings and work out how we could do it. The original idea was that it wouldn’t be the Queen but just one of the Princes. But when we presented the ideas to Buckingham Palace she said ‘no no it should be me who jumps out of the helicopter.’ Those creative ideas are often random ‘wouldn’t it be funny if’ discussions before we look at it and think ‘why not.’ The hardest thing on that was not necessarily the physical parachuting, in the end, but keeping the aeroplanes that come in over London to Heathrow out of the way. We did a weird thing where for about half an hour we diverted planes slightly away from Heathrow during the sequence. If you were unlucky enough to be landing during the half hour where we were doing that effect you would have found it take several minutes longer to land. We had to do a lot of work with not only the CAA who look after the commercial flights but also the military planners – the RAF and everyone else – because they were balancing what we were doing with the risk of a terrorist attack so they had to leave a corridor for jets to come through over the stadium so we had this really weird coordination going on… the Queen, the CAA, the RAF… all involved in the creative process It was quite fun. Originally we went to the RAF to do the parachute jump but they’re not allowed to parachute over London because they’ve had too many accidents. We spoke to all sorts of people there and they said that they hadn’t got a helicopter that is licensed to fly over London that you can parachute out of. It was very odd. They can parachute in a warzone but not over a peace keeping country. We then had to go to the film world and stunt men to do it which was much easier.
“When we presented the ideas to Buckingham Palace she said ‘no no it should be me who jumps out of the helicopter’ ”
This was in testing before the show started? Yes, and when we first opened. Also, that was happening at lots of different levels. We had things where we arrested people and put them into prison where they could then hang out with various other members of the cast. But of course they didn’t like getting arrested because they thought they were missing out on the show not knowing that eventually Han Solo and Chewbacca would rescue them but that they had to wait ten minutes. There were a few instances of people getting annoyed that they were missing the show when actually they were in one of the most exciting parts of it. That show was one of the very few when I’ve seen grown people weep. In the finale scene an x-wing flies over and there are little puffs of CO2 as it lands and then Luke gets out to rapturous applause. Grown adults were like ‘oh my god I can’t believe this is happening in front of me.’ It is very odd, obviously they might have been drinking, but they had completely been brought into it, partly because it isn’t on a screen and it is actually happening in front of them. They can actually pat Luke on the back as he comes out of the x-wing. That level of reality meant that it was a satisfying show to do. You’re moving onto a bigger studio. What big projects are in your future? We’re having fun. We’re continuing to do a lot of ceremonies. I am going back and forth a lot to Asia to Pyeongchang where the next Winter Olympics is being held in 2018. I am thoroughly enjoying working with the South Koreans on that: their hospitality, their culture, their food, is wonderful! Also I’ve been going to Tokyo because they have the next Olympics after Rio in 2020 so we’re just starting to help them. These are our long distance projects. We have two projects that are live at the moment. Firstly, the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku which happens next May. That has been very busy and we are almost ready to move into the fabrication phase. So, the design is underway and pretty much signed off, it has been budgeted and contracted, and we’re now pressing the button to actually build it. The other director of Wonder Works Jeremy Lloyd is doing another ceremony in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – another very oil rich country – and that’s the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games. It’s a big budget and a country looking to stage an Olympics and so are putting on a smaller games to prove that they can handle it – as well as learning how to deliver a major sporting event. He’s also working on Desert Trip which is an offshoot of the Coachella festival in California. They have Bob Dylan and Roger Waters, the Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and the Who. It is the super festival, which is a new challenge for us. We’ve worked with all these bands doing technical stuff but now we’re actually designing the stage, which is great fun for Jeremy dealing with all the politics of getting that agreed.
You mentioned working with Secret Cinema on their production of Star Wars. How was your experience of working with them? Creatively Secret Cinema are very interesting because they’re pushing the boundaries of what they do with their audience. They are keen that every single member of the audience interacts on a one to one level with the production. So rather than being presented to you the production is fully immersive. It is a very big buzzword ‘immersive’ but to actually do it is very complicated because you can no longer fob off 500 audience members with the same effect you actually have to get the actors to interact with each person, and each person will react differently. So for us it was a bit of a departure: we had to set up a framework that allowed the action to unfold. What we do well is very high quality scenery – we did some good flying moments with x-wings, and pyrotechnics and distributed audio which meant the background environment was of a far higher quality than people had been used to, which something that we really enjoyed doing. We had to relax on how the cast interactions happen, you have to let that build up and see what works. It is a tough process because, correctly, they react to how an audience experiences the show. Often it is very unexpected. We had issues early on. Secret Cinema set up a discreet, micro website as part of their marketing which encouraged people to rebel and rise up against the empire. What we then found was that people would drink quite heavily prior to coming to the show. They would then see a Stormtrooper and punch them. Or they would have some kind of weapon with them, which had been encouraged as part of their costume, and then they’d hit a Stormtrooper straight across the head. Of course, however menacing these Stormtroopers look they are just actors. So they had this weird thing where they were thinking ‘we encouraged the audience to rise up and introduced them to Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers in quite a menacing way and guess what they do rise up and fight back because they are fully immersed in the experience.’ So it was quite hard to find the right level of excitement.
Collage Arts | Chocolate Factory Artists | Issue 8 | Quarter
What are your parting words for the Chocolate Factory? We are immensely grateful that a place like the Chocolate Factory exists because it allowed us, in our early years, when we were a bit unsure to establish ourselves. Financially, knowing that we weren’t locked into a long term rent contract when it is the first time that you have paid for an office and you don’t know if it is going to work out is very important. So this place has been very important to us practically, but also in terms of its environment: working in a creative space with like minded people who don’t expect you to wear a suit when you come to work is significant. There is atmosphere here in which you can relax and do good work. It has given us a great start for our business.
BEN AND MAX Interview by George Jackson
Ben and Max are the Olivier-nominated sound-designing brothers behind a multitude of West End hits including the Ladykillers, Piaf and Richard III. As part of our interview series with Chocolate Factory based artists, we spoke to Max Ringham about music, Moog’s and sound machine. What inspired you to move your business to the Chocolate Factory? We moved about 3 years ago. We’ve had a lot of different studios and were looking for something local to both of us in North London, but on a tube line so that we could get into town easily. We grew up near Wood Green so it was a natural fit. The space that we have here is excellent for what we need in terms of its acoustics, and it is very reasonably priced as well! Due to the nature of our work we spend about a third of our time in the studio and the rest of it in various other places such as the theatre, in rehearsals or in meetings. It is very important to us that we have that quiet space that we can go to for work.
Am I right in saying that you started out as purely musicians? In the mid to late nineties we started making drum-and-bass and garage records. We were signed to a label called React. We quite big in the dance scene though we were never that successful. Still, we released a lot of records through them. Then a sister of ours got involved with a collective of performance artists and they got us in to do the sound for their shows. That spiralled into a relationship with the National Theatre and so we’ve had this career in drama stuff. Along the way there have been other projects that have had moderate success: there was a pop band that we toured a lot with. Today though we have no time to do anything but the theatre! We’re just too busy.
We’re both well into our forties now and have had an array of studios but I can’t see us moving anywhere else anytime soon. Our previous studio in East London was quite badly managed and as the area went up in value the rent doubled very quickly. It was also a bit of a nightmare travel-wise. In the theatre, as sound designers, what work is yours? Pretty much everything that the actors aren’t saying is down to us. We create the entirety of the sound score, which at one point was very unique. There was a divide between composers and sound designers, they were seen as very clearly different professions, and it was novel to have people who could do both. It is much more common these days, but naturally there is a debate going on because there are more traditional sound designers who are uncomfortable with composers drifting into their arena. How would you define the difference between composition and sound design? The point at which a sound becomes music is when you have rhythm and melody. However, in many cases the divide can be quite an arbitrary thing. A lot of the work that we do is in the creating of sound environments and we do that from a musical point of view and also from a sound point of view. You’re creating these sounds in your studio in the Chocolate Factory. Do you have bands in? Do you play instruments yourself? Are you even, for example, creating snow sounds using corn starch scrunched in a glove like the sound designers in the movies? I’ve worked with my brother for twenty years now and we tend to double up on jobs. We’ll often be doing more than one production at the same time. This means that when there is a period of tech rehearsals there is only one of us in the theatre putting the sound score together. In terms of generating the content – the sound effects, the music, the atmos – those things we do together in the studio. Working in the Chocolate Factory enabled us to do that because it is a space that we can come together to work in. We have two studios: a small one that is essentially a desk with a computer on it, and a writing suite next door. They are separated by a glass door. There are always arguments about who gets to use the nice, big one!
The Chocolate Factory is full of other artists. To what extent has that impacted on your work? We’ve slowly been building relationships with people. David, for example, down the hall who has a music studio and does a great deal of work with young people. Occasionally we work out studio exchanges with him because he has a slightly better environment for recording drums. Also Paul who is a bit further down the hall. We often talk with him about equipment, and we bought a microphone after he recommended it. What are you working on in the Chocolate Factory at the moment? We’re about to do a show called The Dresser in the West End starring Ken Stott and Reece. That’s an interesting one because it is set in the forties and is about a theatre production. There is a lot of material about early Foley techniques such as wind machines and kettle drums so that’s something we’ll be having a lot of fun with in the studio no doubt. What sort of instruments and machines are you using in the studio to create these sounds? Predominantly it is digital but we have a large collection of vintage synths and we use those a lot: we have a few Black’s, a few old Moog’s and Roland’s. Guitars also; we have a lot of guitars. Where do you see Ben and Max going over the next few years? We’ll continue a lot with the theatre stuff but also we’ve been developing a lot of more unusual projects. One of them is a large scale musical that we’ve been working on with a big West End producer. Also, we have a big venture with the National Theatre studio. It is headphone-based project and you’ll be able to experience that next year.
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
HARINGEY LITERATURE LIVE JOIN ONE OF OUR CREATIVE WRITING COURSES! If you’ve always wondered if there’s a writer in you, or if you’re a developing poet, fiction writer, screen writer or life writer who relishes the opportunity to work with superb tutors in a friendly small group setting, then enrol for our writing course, Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays from 10.30pm to 1pm, with short fiction writer Giovanna Iozzi, poet Jehane Markham, novelist Sara Langham and script editor Jo Tracy. Email email@example.com to state which course/courses you’d like to attend and reserve your place.
FREE BOOK EXCHANGE!
WAYS INTO NOVEL WRITING (FRIDAYS) NOV 4,11,18,25, DEC 2,9 10.30AM-1PM
To celebrate World Book Day in March 2014 we launched a permanent book exchange at Karamel. On our shelves you can find novels, poetry, biography, nonfiction, books for children and teenagers, and more. Come along and swap a book you no longer want (provided it’s in fairly good condition!) for another one you do. That way you could potentially read hundreds of books, for free. Yes, it’s really that simple!
NEWS Haringey Literature Live Provides Writer in Residence for Heartlands! Haringey Literature Live (a Collage Arts initiative) is proud to announce that, having won the support of Arts Council England, we are able to provide Heartlands High School with a Writer in Residence for the school year 2016/2017! Local poet extraordinaire Paul Lyalls will be working with Year 7 and Year 8 students on the theme of cultural identity, with the aim to produce a book of poems written by the students called This Is Me. Paul says, “Heartlands is another fantastic Haringey School, I know quite a few kids who go there and they tell me what a great school it is. I have lived round these parts for over 20 years, so I am always excited and proud to be given the chance to share my skills with my local community. What stands out most for me is that the project is over an extended period of time, so the poetry and creative writing we explore can go further and the learning that comes from it will go deeper. The children I know at Heartlands really impress me and meeting their teachers for the first time impressed me as well. It’s fantastic that Collage Arts are still showing such great commitment to the young people on their doorstep, and having a recognised Arts partner involved raises the profile of the residency even more. Of course another great positive about working at Heartlands, is that I can walk to it, cutting through the reservoir and under the railway, it will feel just like being in an episode of Springwatch (kind of!)”
“It’s fantastic that Collage Arts are still showing such great commitment to the young people on their doorstep.”
KARAMEL KIDS Looking for family fun? Don’t miss out on Karamel Kids – free events every month for everyone to enjoy!
SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER 11AM
Kathryn Holt’s Story Tent is up and ready to tell you some spooky stories as well as a fun crafting activity!
Collage Arts | Chocolate Factory Artists | Issue 8 | Quarter
SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 11AM
Learn to hula hoop with Meelyhoops – lots of silly games to play and tricks to do!
GREEN ROOMS Interview by George Jackson
Nick Hartwright, ‘art-repreneur’ and founder of various studio complexes across London, opened the Green Rooms Hotel on Station Road in June this year. We sat down to talk with him about Wood Green, gentrification and regeneration. How do you ensure that people can afford a studio with you, or to stay here at the Green Rooms? NH: The Green Rooms is a purely residential accommodation: it’s a hotel. We have studios and other workspace here based elsewhere in Haringey. It’s a very cheap hotel, it is very affordable. We have dorm style beds for £18 a night if you are an artist or a local. We’ve got shared, small double rooms which are £45 + VAT and bigger shared double rooms with a bathroom that are £55 as well as big en suites which are £60 + VAT. Then apartments here also that are £90. Across all our sites we look at the benchmark prices that people can afford so they can do what they are doing. We try and make it so that those who are running small businesses or coming into London for work can generate money from what they are doing. That is the whole concept.
We want to talk about the position and future of the creative industries in Wood Green and your role in that. Could you begin by talking about how you came to be involved in the Green Rooms? I run an organization called Mill Co. Project which was founded in 2010 with a couple of friends. It is a space provider: we provide artist’s space, studios, theatres, bars. Everything from really low-fi artists’ studios to high end design and music studios, big metal sheds where people bang things together. We have lots of tenants: nine sites across London with big tenants such as Punchdrunk as well as one-man-bands so to speak.
Dyson use us for their travelling sales reps, but they obviously pay a corporate rate. The big businesses, the established businesses that are making lots of money, pay more than the guys coming through. What that does is create a very interesting flow where the bigger boys want the cool, young businesses to hang around with and be part of where they are because that is where the exciting ideas for development come from, and the guys that are starting out and doing something interesting or important, socially important, will be on reduced rates. We have people paying £2 a square foot in some of our buildings and some people paying £30 a square foot. So the bigger businesses subsidise the smaller ones. It’s blended rents, and it is what we are doing here. The event space is also a really cool shoot space and we’ve had some shoots in here that pay a higher commercial rate but then that subsidises the cool, local party or kids birthday or event that is not commercially viable but is socially very viable. We have a crew up there right now shooting interviews for Black History Month for free, because we felt that was important. Could you talk a little bit more about using the commercially viable to support the socially valuable? My background has always been working for myself after leaving school young. I have always been enterprise driven. I don’t have an arts background so I never found out about funding or anything. It was always ‘I want to do something and have to generate some revenue in order to do it.’ So that’s my mindset. What I really strongly believe in is that businesses and enterprises should make money but that money should be put back into the area that enables it to operate, because what that does is make the area better which is going to make your business better. It is common sense for me. If you employ local people on a wage that enables them to have a good life then the money is going to flow back in. Funding for the arts is drying up across the board for pretty much everything whether you are talking about local government or the Arts Council. There are massive cuts, and the last budget showed you that. So you have to be really clever about how to use the bits of funding that you do have to spark off the commercial side which is how something like this works. We got a small pot of funding in the grand scheme of things to get us up and running and we used it as leverage to bring investors to the table. You have to explain to investors that businesses that are socially mindful and have an idea about their social impact at heart actually will generate more revenue than something which will open up with a pure bottom line. It’s about the long term sustainability of things. It seems to work! Everything is company limited by guarantee so there are no shareholders. We are not for profit but profit is generated because if they didn’t then there would be no point in them existing in my opinion. It is how you use those profits. Do you use them to pay higher wages, or do you use them to reduce costs by renting studio spaces more cheaply, then it feeds back in.
I’ve been doing a lot of work in Haringey: since 2014 we’ve had a 10 000 square foot warehouse in Tottenham on a normal commercial lease, we’ve split it into 22 units. It’s got some really interesting artists but also some really interesting businesses in it. We, as a whole, are focused on both artists and enterprise. I was in the council offices over the road from here, on the sixth floor, signing the lease on another building that I have in Tottenham called STYX. The guy from the property team pointed out the window and said that it had been empty for years and might be sold off to a developer and turned into flats. I’d had this idea for an arts led hotel for about eight years. Eight years ago I worked for a theatre and I set up a pop up hotel for two theatre companies. The idea is that when you are living where you are creating work it knits in much better to the local area and to the people that live in that area. I’d been looking for a site to do something similar with for a long time and out of the window I saw this amazing, municipal thirties artdeco building sat there with nothing happening to it. It was council housing offices until 2009 and had stood empty since. We part funded it with a little GLA money who we work with a lot on a variety of different projects. They have put some money aside for regeneration along this strip down to the Ally Pally, £140 000 came into this project from there and then I match funded the rest of it through private investment and normal commercial loans and opened it up as a space for everyone to use. Obviously the hotel is focused towards the arts and creative industries but it is open to everyone. This space is open as a café during the day and a bar during the evening and there is an events and exhibition space upstairs. Part of the terms for you getting this space was that you’d focus on the local area and to local people? Yes absolutely. There is no point in parachuting a business in without trying to engage the people around it. Often it takes a long time. We run the Rose Lipman building in
Quarter | Issue 8 | Chocolate Factory Artists | Collage Arts
Hackney which is Hackney’s old library, a very interesting site that we have operated since 2012. It has been a slow burner in terms of integrating itself into the landscape, but now it has and is a wonderful example of how multiuse buildings, with different revenues streams, pay back to the community. The same kind of thing will happen here. There are free events and exhibitions for local people: we’re putting together a launch for arts platform Zealous and we have done a few things for the Chocolate Factory. There will be one public event a month, whether that be a gig, an exhibition, a screening. Also, reduced rates for people who want to bring commercial projects here. In discussions with people across Wood Green one theme has been the potential transformation in the local economy from a place that is heavily dependent onretail to somewhere that has a more night-time economy. Where does the Green Rooms fit into that? It is an interesting signpost, possibly, to what is coming. Currently Wood Green has a fantastic set of restaurants, Turkish mainly, but later in the evening it can be busy but a bit shady. There are a few big drinking pubs and people pile out of them loudly into the streets. That’s not in my opinion a great night-time economy. It can feel threatening and one dimensional. When you have somewhere like Green Rooms that has a different kind of event happening you are hopefully bringing a change to the culture. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with how Wood Green is now, don’t get me wrong, I think the Goose is a great pub for example. I just think that when you have a mix of things happening in an area then you bring more to it. Having somewhere like Green Rooms here, along with everything else coming down the lines in the next few years with new units, workspace and the Heartlands development – housing and commercial space – Wood Green will change as all London is changing. It is about whether you regenerate or gentrify areas. I personally want areas to be regenerated. I think gentrification is not what people want because it is not very inclusive. It is a fine line and very difficult. Haringey and Wood Green is a very interesting area. Culturally, there is a real mix. There are populations from all over the world who live here.
“When you have somewhere like Green Rooms that has a different kind of event happening you are hopefully bringing a change to the culture”
Wood Green has been slightly forgotten I think. It has the second highest footfall in the capital, it’s massive, and all the older people (40s, 50s like myself) say that they used to come here as youngsters on Saturdays and spend their money on records or clothes and I think the area has slightly lost that. Wood Green was a bit rough a few years ago. It had its own social and economic issues. But now it is turning a corner, and it is turning a corner in a very interesting way that isn’t about brushing the community aside and dumping down a development of really expensive flats that nobody can afford but hopefully it’s about looking about what is there already and what can be brought forward. What relationship have you had with the Chocolate Factory? When this project first started we did a lot of engagement work with local people, explaining what was going on and speaking to Manoj and Preeti at the Chocolate Factory. We visited a lot of the artists who work there and did a tour of the Chocolate Factory and invited them for a drinks do here. We’re looking at doing crossover events with those there. It takes a while for a project to bed in and for everyone to feel that they are part of something, on both sides. We’ve had a lot of good reaction from people based in the studios there saying that they like that they’ve been given this other option for lunch or after work, or to have meetings somewhere out of the studio. You’re offering some variety?
Another point that has come up a lot when talking to people in the area, is that Wood Green, and in particular the high road, gets a very high footfall but a low spend. As a local businessman how do you think that can be changed in a way that does not gentrify the area?
Exactly yes. It is a space that is lovely to be in, and there is a variety of different people in here: we’ve got artists setting up their exhibition, people from the council having a meeting, a group of older people having a coffee and cakes. It’s nice to have that open space.
It’s tricky. One thing to do is to look at the offer that an area has. There are several really cool, local, independent businesses here: the Big Green Bookshop for example. But then also along the high street you have the big pound shops and of course you’re not going to get the spend in there. We’ve had two big shops close also: M&S and BHS, two big employers where people bring money to.
One thing that the Chocolate Factory is constantly having to deal with, and I’m sure you are too, is the idea that Wood Green is not a destination in people’s minds. How do you think that you can market the area? I’m not sure marketing an area is the right sort of thing to do if I’m honest. I think areas evolve naturally, in a variety of different ways. I think by being in somewhere like Wood Green running a business like this you are immediately changing people’s perceptions of the area a little bit. I am always surprised by how few people know exactly where Wood Green is. There are amazing transport connections here and I don’t think that it is a big step for it to become a new and exciting vibrant London area which isn’t trying to be Hackney or a spinoff from Dalston or another Peckham. I like it, I think it’s great. I love enterprise. I think enterprise and giving people opportunities is what can change things. I’m not sure that being a creative hub is quite the right approach. And you seek to employ mainly local people here? We employ eight local people. It is completely vital, especially with something like this, a publically open building, to have people who know the area, love the area and have friends and family in the area. We are London living wage employers, which is really important. That is part of how we approach running a small business: giving opportunity to people from certain areas. What would your message be to the artists and young people of Wood Green? I’m not sure that it is my place to send a message. Come and see us and if we can help them to do stuff then that is what we are here for.
For the new season of music, we sat down for exactly One Minute and 22 seconds (honest!) with the different promoters for our venue, Karamel.
For the last five years Karamel has nurtured a reputation of high quality, eclectic programming. We’ve empowered promoters of all backgrounds to book acts, and our current crop are a bunch of music loving maestros. Each of them put everything they’ve got into making sure you see music you would never have thought possible in (Holly)Wood Green. If there’s a Jazz promoter anywhere with an address book (or groove) better than Stu Butterfield, we’ll eat our hats. Stu is a veteran of the Jazz scene, and along with Bill Henderson, has put Karamel on the map as the finest Jazz location in North London. At the other end of the spectrum, young hotshot Kimberly Dickson and her management company Prodigy are getting a great rep for uncovering the best new talent before they begin their industry journey - often coming back to play for her once they are more established. We’ve done a quick interview with each of them so you can learn more about what their nights are about, when they are, and who to expect over the coming months. From World, to Jazz to Pop - you’re always welcome in Karamel. We’re a creative community based around a family run venue, run by Frank, Louise, Alan, Jim and friends - and a Time Out Awards runner up to boot.
1 miN:22 secs with Mithila Sarma zerOclassikal Last Wednesday of Every Month
Who would you like to reach with your nights, that may not be aware of what you do at present? We would like to have more of people from the local community attend and listen to something they might not usually listen to.
How long have you been promoting music, and bringing nights to Karamel? The ZerOclassikal Basement Sessions has been programming nights at Karamel since Autumn 2014.
What was the highlight of last season for you? All our concerts were well received last season but in particular Abi Sampa’s concert in July was sold out and this certainly was a highlight!
What made you fire up your own nights? We realised there was a need for regular programming of British-trained South Asian Classicalt artists. The Basement Sessions showcases upcoming artists. What genres do you tend to focus on? Our main focus is on South Asian Classical music – covering Carnatic, Hindustani and other styles such as Qawwali and within this many of our artists like to draw in inspiration from other genres such as Western Classical and Jazz in their performances. Who are your audience? Friends and family of artists, and those who have a keen interest in South Asian
Who do you have performing at Karamel in the coming months? In September we have a double bill of Raaheel Husain on Sitar and Pavithra Logitharajah & Mayooran Kandhasamy performing a Veena duet. In October we’re featuring a Carnatic trio in one half – Kitha Nadarajah on Violin, Yad Selvakumar on Flute and Raam Jeganathan on Veena and in the other half, Asha McCarthy on Hindustani Cello. In November, a Carnatic flute player Aravindhan Baheerathan and finally Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla on Hindustani vocals and Santoor. What song should we go listen to right now that we may not have heard? Mysterious Duality by Jayanthi Kumaresh for a piece from the South Indian Classical tradition and Mora Saiyan Bulave by Rashid Khan for something from North Indian Classical music.
1 miN:22 secs with Unnati Dasgupta Indigo World
1st Wednesday of Every Month
How long have you been promoting music, and bringing nights to Karamel? I’m an Indian singer - songwriter and alongside this I have been curating and programming a monthly World Music night, Indigo World at Karamel since April 2015. This is on the first Wednesday of every month. I have a background in working on music events as I have also worked at Asian Music Circuit as a Tour Producer which involved promoting and managing tours of artists touring the UK from Asia. What made you fire up your own nights? I wanted to expose audiences at Karamel to more world music and build up a scene for World Music at the venue. What genres do you tend to focus on? World Music Who are your audience? Anyone interested in music from around the world for example, the Indian Subcontinent, Africa, Latin America etc. Who would you like to reach with your nights, that may not be aware of what you do at present? North London residents that are not even aware of Karamel’s existence. Anyone audiences around London that would be interested in our events.
What was the highlight of last season for you? A wonderful trio “NAAD” - a trio of bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) by Robin Christian, guitar by Siddharth Singh and Tabla and beatbox by Shri Gadhvi. Who do you have performing at Karamel in the coming months? On Wednesday 5th October we have Ali Ajel performing Arabic-Western Pollie pop and on Wednesday 2nd November we have Fiesta Flamenca. What song should we go listen to right now that we may not have heard? I would listen to an album “Heer by Abida Parveen’ it is incredibly soothing and it is one of my favourites.
Karamel, 4 Coburg Road, London N22 6UJ
1 miN:22 secs with Lorraine Solomans Success Express Third Wednesday of Every Month
Who would you like to reach with your nights, that may not be aware of what you do at present? I think we would like to engage some genuine supporters of indie music who would become a buying audience and be active in spreading support on the artists’ behalf.
How long have you been promoting music, and bringing nights to Karamel? I’ve been promoting for 6 years and have been bringing live music to Karamel since April 2016.
What was the highlight of last season for you? I’d hate to pick one to be honest - we had a great run of shows, with a real buzz growing towards the end of the season - really excited for the new season!
What made you fire up your own nights? I started my own live nights because I’ve a burning passion for artist development. Success Express exists to help new artists gain experience alongside current classy and more established artists. What genres do your nights tend to focus on? Mixed genres - anything not too way left of field though and always artists who are defined by great vocals, songwriting, musicianship and live engagement. Who are your audience? Very varied from 16 to 60 plus as our music tends to be wide - all age appeal. When you come to a night, there’s always something for everyone.
1 miN:22 secs with Stu Butterfield Jazz at Karamel Every Thursday How long have you been promoting music, and bringing nights to Karamel? I’ve been putting on Jazz gigs since 1996, starting off at The King’s Head Crouch End, and over 20 venues since. I’ve been putting on weekly Jazz Thursdays at Karamel for just over 2 years. Prior to that just over a year of monthly Wednesdays, moving to two a month, then weekly Wednesdays before shifting to Thursdays in June 2014. What made you fire up your own nights? My chief motivation has always been to create opportunities to play for myself and various bands I’ve been involved with. For instance, the “Great Wee Band” is a Quartet which I share with trumpeter Henry Lowther, guitarist Jim Mullen and bassist Dave Green, and we’ve been going since 1997, have made 3 albums, 2 of which were nominated for Jazz Record of the year. My most recent venture is a Quintet with alto and baritone saxes, guitar bass and drums, with an album coming out very soon and a tour in the offing next year. What genres do your nights tend to focus on? It’s Jazz, which can mean almost anything, but while the focus is on Hard Bop or PostBop (if that means anything) I try to provide a varied programme, having one Big Band per season and at least a couple of Latin, African or “World Music” ensembles. Also a couple of bands with a vocalist, and some newer ensembles with younger musicians. Who are your audience? Anyone who comes through the door and is prepared to pay the price of admission! Seriously, I’m conscious that in this country the Jazz audience tends to be middle aged to elderly, apart from younger people who tend to be musicians themselves. I’m encouraged recently by an increased proportion of younger people at Thursday gigs and I hope this is a trend which will continue and develop. Jazz is for all.
1 miN:22 secs with Kimberly Dickson Prodigy Management 2nd Wednesday of Every Month How long have you been promoting music, and bringing nights to Karamel? Prodigy has been promoting nights at Karamel for a year (under a different name) but in total 2 years. We’ve put on nights in various East and North London hotspots, but Karamel is at the heart of the creative quarter here where our artist hub is based.
Who do you have performing at Karamel in the coming months? Our September show sees Michael Baker coming to Karamel as part of his European tour. We tend to book our nights a little closer to the time because of the nature of getting hold of the best emerging talent when they’re free, so keep an eye on the Karamel socials and the Music Glue page. But I will say we also hope to have August and After and Anna Pancaldi, plus some cool local artists at the next few shows, so keep your eyes peeled! What song should we go listen to right now that we may not have heard? Just because it’s brilliant and in my head all the time right now, Soho Dogs Goldbirds.
Who would you like to reach with your nights, that may not be aware of what you do at present? I think most Jazz fans who regularly attend Jazz gigs in London will be aware of Karamel via regular box adverts in the now discontinued Jazz inLondon monthly booklet. We are registered with the web site which has replaced this (jazzinlondon. live). I think the emphasis now should be to alert everyone in Haringey as to what local gem Karamel is.
What was the highlight of last season for you? Many highlights for me, but perhaps I’d single out Stan Sulzmann’s 17-piece Big Band with the cream of British Jazz personnel and Stan’s wonderful composing and arranging. It blew the roof off! Who do you have performing at Karamel in the coming months? We’ve a full lineup all the way up to Christmas - the venue is incredibly popular with musicians. Check out the flyer - there’s too much to choose from here! How much is entry to your nights? £10 for the new season. What song should we go listen to right now that we may not have heard? The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan, Blue Note
Who are your audience? They tend to be 18 -30 year olds that are avid and fanatic fans of new music. All welcome! Who would you like to reach with your nights, that may not be aware of what you do? More fanatic fans and enthusiasts - it’s important the nights aren’t just about friends and family of the bands, thought it’s great when they support. What was the highlight of last season for you? Best of 2015 night that had a killer line-up. Malaika, He Is A Pegasus, NOME, Jordan Mackampa.
What made you fire up your own nights? To be able to give emerging talent a platform to get heard and be seen in a supportive environment.
Who do you have performing at Karamel in the coming months? Prodigy artists and associated acts - expect to see artists like critically acclaimed Maz O’Connor (4**** Q Magazine, The Guardian, The Observer and The Independent; 5***** Songlines) and He Is A Pegasus (PledgeMusic/Help Musicians UK Emerging Excellence Award winner)
What genres do your nights tend to focus on? Pop, alternative, soul and indie.
What song should we go listen to right now that we may not have heard? Jordan Mackampa - Midnight in Paris, and He Is A Pegasus - Talons.
FAR FROM THE WESTERN FRONT Exhibition at Karamel
15th November - 7th January at Karamel Far From the Western Front is a free exhibition exploring the untold stories of South Asians whose crucial contribution shaped the First World War. The exhibition follows the stories of eight people across the globe, using previously unseen images, digital media, and individualsâ€™ experiences uncovered from the archives. Their experiences remind us that there was more to the First World War than mud and trenches of Europe. In this exhibition, we discover the threat of lions on patrol in East Africa, thirst in the 50 degree heat of the Sinai desert, and starvation at the Siege of Kut. Far From the Western Front is created by volunteers from across London, including Indian, Pakistani and Nepali communities, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is a partnership between Collage Arts, the Council of Asian People, Gurkha Veterans Foundation, and the Pak Cultural Society. For more information: www.southasiansoldiers.org.uk
STUDIO 28 We have a versatile studio space that is ideal for a range of activites, from meeting space to dance rehearsal sessions.. Available for daily hire
For more details contact the team:
Collage Arts | Chocolate Factory Artists | Issue 8 | Quarter
Collage Arts publication with news about the artists and creative companies at the Chocolate Factories in Wood Green's Cultural Quarter #Lon...
Published on Sep 29, 2016
Collage Arts publication with news about the artists and creative companies at the Chocolate Factories in Wood Green's Cultural Quarter #Lon...