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Respect Festival - 9th July 2022

WonderZoo Top floor
Review by Chi Bennett


I had a wonderful time at The Respect Festival today. So many lovely memories.

The performances were really special. First we had Nomadic Funk Temple with Paeon (Paige AH ) on vocals, Goose (Will) on vocals and guitar and Albin on drums. They played some reggae style original songs and had a really great sound and meaningful lyrics, including ‘Petal to the Metal’, an anti-war song.

Next we had Friends of The Apocalypse performing our play, Romeo and Juliet meets Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile. It’s a play written by Slain that we’ve performed a couple of times before. This featured Chi Bennett Stefan Daniel Keith Pollard Delia Pring. It was very funny and got the crowd laughing at Slain’s mad performance style.

Josephine Furzey and Jim Bowrey performed some heart-warming traditional songs together. It was great to see them at WonderZoo again, and if you didn’t see them, they’ll be at our Adelaide Park event next Saturday 16th July, 2-5pm.

Delia Pring shared some gorgeous poetry about life as a traveller and a wonderful longer piece about all her different experiences with rain. Truly mesmeric and transporting.

Archane (AKA Aston Icely ) performed several of his original songs, which combined melodic vocals and rap, with his self-produced music in the background. As always, he went down well with the audience and his voice was pitch perfect and soulful.

Doaa Shayea performed a wonderful piece about prejudice, going into detail about the different forms of prejudice she’s received due to being a wheelchair user, including the lack of access to buildings she faces, or people’s ignorant attitudes towards her. It was great to understand in more depth what it feels like to live in an ableist world.

Robert Garnham came all the way from Paignton to share his comedic poems, with his usual panache and aplomb. The Professor of Whimsy never fails to delight and amuse the audience with his lighthearted aphorisms.

John Michael Spurling and Friends performed some great songs, including a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’, which is a great interpretation of a classic. Jonathan was our sound technician for the whole gig and did a fabulous job, making sure it all sounded as balanced as possible.

Our headliner, KAMDARA, came all the way from Torquay and put on a great show of original songs, wonderful vocals from Jazz Ann Thorn and Rik Christiansen on keyboard. It was so good to see these two perform in front of an audience again, after being in hiatus since December 2019. They’ve still got a wonderful stage presence and the audience really enjoyed their set.

Jackie Wacha finished the gig with a couple of powerful poems, including one about Nelson Mandela, which was really meaningful and brought at least one audience member to tears.

WonderZoo was on the top floor of the Guildhall, and as well as the performances we had artists running their own making tables, including Mary Toon doing hat decorations, Emma Sprawson doing drawing Heather Knight doing paintings, and Robert Turner doing water colour painting.

Stefan Daniel had an information table for the Warrior Within Project. We also had a delicious homemade cake and bread stall by Naomi Wisbey (Baking Wiseby’s), with teas and coffees run by Matt Powell. We had Tania Emmanuella Nana running our Celebrate Respect - History Project stall, showing photos and artefacts from the Respect Festival since 1998.

The brilliant and talented Robin Marshall was our roving interviewer for the day, collecting oral history stories from attendees of the Respect Festival, asking them about their experiences for our Celebrate Respect History Project. Over the course of 4 hours Robin did a sterling job of interviewing a plethora of people, which we much appreciated!

All in all we had a fun and meaningful time, and we can’t wait to do it all again next time.


Adelaide Park Fun Day - 16th July 2022

We had 16 selling stalls, live music and young spoken word artist from Nigeria called Bola alongside Geoff Blake-Lobb, Jonathan Spurling and friends and Josephine Furzey, plus water colours artist Robert Turner.

It was quieter than expected, but we had over 200 people come along throughout the afternoon. It was fun with loads of laughs and smiles and our super fab Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris Penberthy , kindly joined us for the day. It was sunny and hot and there was ice cream and a great community vibe. We'll do it all again on Saturday 13th August, so put the date in your diary!


Adelaide Park Fun Day Poster 2022 updated.png

Zine Making Workshop with Jenny Eden - 18th July 2022

WonderZoo workshop with Omnium Radio Zine making with Artist Jenny Eden went down a treat at the Plot on Union Street. The next one will be Monday 8th August at 3pm to 5pm


Memory Exchange History Group - 30th July at Oasis Project

By Chi Bennett

Today we had our first Memory Exchange event. It’s the last Saturday of each month, 10am-12pm at Oasis Project, Stonehouse.

This group has come out of the Celebrate Respect project, as the plan was to give talks about what we’re doing.

We had a brilliant talk from Dan Paolantonio, who runs IMPERFECT CINEMA with Allister Gall. Dan told us about the history of cinemas on Union Street, which was really fascinating.

I gave my first history talk with Tania Nana. I spoke about the Celebrate Respect History Project, what we’ve done so far and what’s come out of it.

I also talked about our potential second history project, looking at Plymouth’s hidden historical figures from marginalised backgrounds.

I felt really happy to be talking to such a wonderful room full of people, who are all interested in history. It’s so important to know about our own past and record our own stories for future generations to know about us.

Dr. Alan Butler gave a short talk about the Pride Archive, which Slain said inspired him to do the 100 Homes Project, which led him to think of archiving the Respect Festival. Slain said that performing for black history month in 2019, he tried to find information about Bill and Claude Miller, Plymouth’s first black elected councillor and his son, Plymouth’s first black Lord Mayor. Unfortunately not much information was available and it made Slain realise this needs to be changed and diverse history needs to be celebrated more in this city. This inspired the Hidden Historical Figures project. Slain said that Dan Paolantonio inspired him to do things with punk DIY ethics.

Anyone can come along to this monthly event. It’s free to attend, and you’re welcome to give talks about your own historical interests.

I look forward to the next one!


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