Post-lockdown performance at Coxside Cafe Acoustica
After Lockdown Diary
In Coxside on Friday 28th August, at the amphitheatre by the edge of Teats Hill beach, several people congregated at a safe distance to enjoy an evening filled with poetry, dance, music and songs. Local artists performed in the space and it almost felt like the old normal.
The event, Coxside Cafe Acoustica was hosted by James Woodhams, Rebels Co Lead the Barbican Theatre. Everyone attending must fill out track-and-trace details so that if a coronavirus case came to light everyone within the vicinity at the event can be alerted. Safe seating arrangements were ensured with signs in the area asking people to ‘stay in their own bubble’ and at two metres apart from other ‘bubbles’ and individuals.
Safe seating in the new normal
For the first presentation, Singer-songwriter Jon Fazal performed alongside fiddler Hannah Sharp and flute and accordion player Francis Rowney. Traditional folk songs were played by the trio and also two songs from Jon’s recent EP ‘News from Nowhere’. One of the songs was accompanied by Daisy Harrison, bringing an interpretive dance to the scene.
From Left to right: Hannah Sharp, Jon Fazal and Francis Rowney
Dancer Daisy Harrison joins the first act
Spectators seemed relieved to be able to enjoy some live art outside again, sitting safely in the amphitheatre, framed by Plymouth Sound drifting out to the horizon and the Barbican in sight beyond the rocks. Behind the audience is the green-park recreational area of Coxside. There was sunshine and showers but it stayed fairly warm.
Heartfelt spoken-word poetry piece ‘Our Canvas’ was performed by Shaday Barrowes-bayewunmi and Kadus Simeon Smith.
Shaday and Kadus describe their performance: “The poem ‘Our Canvas’ is an intimate spoken-word piece exploring the complexities of being black in our modern society and what it means to be black for a male and female. The performance examines the topic of black identity, mental health, race and everything in between. Our canvas stands as a metaphor for change, the world resembling the canvas for the next generation of black creatives.”
Left: Shaday Barrowes-bayewunmi and right: Kadus Simeon Smith.
Singing in the rain: James Woodhams from The Barbican Theatre keeps singer-songwriter Jessie Mullen dry as the rain begins
Singer Daisy Wedgebrow performing at the amphitheatre in Coxside
Along with the other artists performing for Coxside Café Acoustica, I read two of my poems ‘Summer Sea’ and ‘Lockdown Days’ at the event. After many months of not being able to attend any spoken-word events due to lockdown it felt energising and emotional to be able to engage and share with an audience again.
Katie Oborn reading poetry at Coxside Cafe Acoustica
This off-beat evening is a chance for artists to share words, feelings and performances with a small group of onlookers in a safe space post-lockdown. It’s something for Coxside residents and visitors passing through the area to look forward to on the last Friday of each month ahead. It will take place even through the winter months, weather permitting and as long as there are not too many coronavirus outbreaks in Plymouth or local lockdowns in place.
‘A ray of sunshine on a crisp autumn morning and a walk in nature always restores good mental health and keeps my spirits up during difficult times.’
‘Something good to come out of the pandemic, a way to bring the community together safely’
‘I started writing these entries as we were adjusting to the empty streets, empty shelves in supermarkets, the empty days. ‘