Speaking isn’t always easy, in fact it can be somewhat nerve-wracking to share your work as an emerging storyteller, poet or fictional writer. The Speakeasy event series at the Writer’s Block proves itself as a unique opportunity in Cornwall for sharing and discovery in an interesting, intimate and supportive space designed to promote creativity. After a warm greeting from KEAP’s Director Amanda and Support Assistant Betty, performers and audience members left the chilly drizzle mitigated by the convenience of free parking and literally stepped through the wardrobe to discover the event space and accompanying refreshments. While targeted at mid-teens through to adulthood, this Speakeasy had a decidedly grown-up feel to its audience and performers. However, the infectious delight with which the performers sought to expand imaginations, reconnect with the magic of myth and capture and share emotions brought a refreshing “growing back down again” to this storytelling and poetry party. Under the professional and supportive lead of compère Taran Spalding-Jenkin, this two-hour evening event brought together six writers of varying levels of experience with a small audience ready to listen and to be interested. Poetry, short stories and book extracts covered various themes including grief, loss and love, identity, homelessness and climate change with Cornwall’s wealth of creative stimulus ever present implicitly or explicitly. Maria Faulkner as the ‘Reluctant Eco-Warrior’ blended thoughtfulness and a call-to-act with a healthy dose of humour; the momentum she built through her ‘journey’ and performance mimicking the momentum towards ecological living she drives. Christiana Richardson’s short poem proved the emotive effectiveness of simpler styles in capturing the pride, love and support within the complexity of a father-daughter relationship. The other performances kept the audience rapt exploring critical themes of identity and senses of self liberally speckled throughout with humorous and deliciously apt observations. Ending with an uplifting poetic antidote which gently deposited us back on the shore of reality, the evening was enjoyable and creatively valuable for those with an interest in writing.

Written by Imogen Crarer

Assistant Curator Intern, Museum of Cornish Life.