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acorn arts centre penzance

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it emerged that the Acorn Arts Centre building had been ‘saved’. The venue as we knew it has closed for now – it’s looking sorry for itself – but the trustees are currently in discussion about how to secure the Acorn’s future and, crucially, how to make it more financially viable. After the Poly’s rebirth in Falmouth, I feel more hopeful!

I was a regular at the Acorn before it closed – in the past few years I’ve seen the Portico Quartet twice, Brother & Bones, Hedluv & Passman at the cabaret, Mark Steel is in Town, Patrick Gale giving a talk, singer-songwriter Jenny Bishop, superb comedians Robin Ince and Dan Antopolski – so I feel quite alarmed at the thought of west Cornwall without this intimate cultural venue, the only dedicated arts centre in the far west.

Rightly, the trustees are keen to find a formula for the Acorn that makes it financially sustainable, and to that end they are seeking the opinions of their audience. My god, I couldn’t click on the link to the online survey quick enough!

“Question 2. The Acorn has presented a varied programme of professional theatre in the past five years but I would have preferred a more popularist/entertainment programme.” STRONGLY DISAGREE!

Please not another Hall for Cornwall-type programme of expensive, mainstream acts. I know it’s all very well me throwing my hands up in horror but they must of course find a way to make money – maybe the key is in making the atmospheric basement bar into a standalone arty bar-bistro? I’ve happily sustained a number of San Miguel hangovers after drinking in there.

Be sure to have your say by clicking here (it only takes a few minutes).

Some one-off performances are taking place and Miracle Theatre’s ‘Beauty and the Beast from Mars’ is playing the Acorn tonight, Wednesday 15 December, and Thursday 16 December at 7.30pm; call 01872 262466 or book online at http://www.miracletheatre.co.uk

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When the compere introduced the opening act at the Last Cabaret at the Acorn on Saturday as a rap outfit from west Cornwall, I couldn’t help but brace myself and check the exit leading to the bar was clear (well, come on, on paper it didn’t bode well). I needn’t have worried though because the duo in question clearly started honing their sense of irony in the womb.

“Casio rap duo” Hedluv & Passman deliver deadpan raps and rhymes from the urban underbelly of, er, Redruth. ‘Doin’ it Dreckly’, as fans will know, is their “anthem” – you can buy the T-shirt on their website. The chorus is catchy and it goes like this: Cos we’re doin’ it, yeah, we’re doin’ it dreckly… doin’ it, yeah, we’re doin’ it dreckly… Listen to it on their myspace.

Their act was over too soon for me – the belly laughing was just gathering momentum on my row – and I was left gasping for more of their humorous rhapsodies on life in ‘Druth. Fortunately I have now discovered Hedluv’s blog, The Online Pasty Guide, to sate my appetite – which is a stroke of pasty genius. Here’s the basic remit:

“Welcome to ‘the online pasty guide’ brought to you by hedluv and filled with hints and tips designed to help you avoid the unspeakable pain of having a bad pasty (photographed above). This particular pasty was purchased after 3pm – that was my first mistake, and leads me neatly to my first tip: 3pm is too late to be buying pasties.”

Look out for them.

headluv and passman (www.druth.co.uk).

Don’t forget to join the facebook group ‘Save the Acorn’ for the latest on how to help secure the future of the marvellous venue, which is sadly due to close shortly. Click here for my blog post on this.

brother and bones cornwall

I went to a great gig at the Acorn in Penzance last night – it was the launch of Brother & Bones’ new album, supported by up-and-comings Rokshan and Ryan Jones (of the Hitchcock Rules).

Brother & Bones were accompanied by a full string and brass section and the high-emotion, epic sound was – and I’m trying not to say this too lightly – quite reminiscent of Muse. Impressive stuff. Check out their myspace.

I tried to get some footage on my iPhone of their more high-octane songs but it distorted (far too much energy, it seems, for such a small mic) but this sweet acoustic lullaby came out sort of OK for the first half. Sorry must do better!

And here, by polar contrast, is a masterclass in how to make a VERY cool music video of the wilds of west Cornwall – the lead singer Rich of Brother & Bones doing a more slidey guitar thing:

With the fight to save the Poly in Falmouth just a few months ago (now reopened as the Falmouth Cinema) and the ongoing battle over the harbour, it came as a blow to find out yesterday about yet another struggle: to save the Acorn Arts Centre in Penzance. It will be closing its doors after the summer if it cannot find more funding to become economically viable.

I feel passionately about the Acorn – not only is it an incredibly atmospheric old building, with an unusual and intimate auditorium, but it’s also got some of the best arts programming in Cornwall. It was just the other week that I was raving about seeing the Portico Quartet there (twice) – it was a privilege to see this sort of serious act from just a few metres away, with a nice cold bottle of Corona in hand and twinkling tea lights all around.

It is testament to the importance of such a venue in west Cornwall that within hours of the news breaking, people had started signing petitions, and joining Facebook pages. Let’s hope it works – here are the links to support them (but buying tickets for shows this summer will also help):

Facebook:

http://tinyurl.com/39ofewf

Petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/theAcorn/

Acorn Arts Centre, Parade Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 4BU, http://www.acornartscentre.co.uk

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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