Last night we took Yes We Cant back to Walsall, and held our first ever hybrid event at the wonderful Asgard Games in the town centre. It’s a perfect venue: large, airy, clean, comfortable, welcoming. And it has a bar. What’s not to like?
Our goal was to recreate the warmth, atmosphere, and enjoyment of Yes We Cant as it used to be at the Pretty Bricks, while also ensuring that we brought our Zoom audience with us – we’ve spent three years sharing our events with them, and they’ve taught us a lot about the importance of accessibility and how we need to facilitate it. We’d finally found a venue, now we just had to make it work.
We kept it simple. Booked a great headline poet, a compelling ‘Alf Ender, filled the open mic spots, and threw open the physical and virtual doors to anyone who wanted to come. And reader, they came. Dave MCed, Steve looked after the webcam, and Emma chatted with the Zoom attendees. S Reeson (thank you!) rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in, too. Everything ran like a dream. The open mic poets? Brilliant. Our ‘Alf Ender, Tina Cole? Fantastic. Headliner Ben Davis? Hilarious.
And the feedback? It couldn’t be better.
“You did a brilliant job tonight. I’ve been to 3 previous hybrids and they were unsuccessful due to poor sound and a feeling of isolation in the zoom room. Yours was perfect.”
“Dear PPP, the first hybrid YWC was a triumph. Great sound and video quality, felt like I had a front row seat. All the performers knocked it out the park. Thank you all again for making your event genuinely inclusive. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next one.”
We’re over the moon, Brian. Over the chuffing moon.
So you may have noticed that the website has lost a lot of content. This is because of a major server crash somewhere in Norway. It also means the site needs rebuilding from scratch so bear with us. Things will start popping up and hopefully, by the end of the Summer we’ll be back to normal.
Last week we took our Fringe show – our award-winning Fringe show, no less (and yes, we will keep mentioning that because if we don’t, who will?) – up to Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. A lovely venue, with helpful techs and management. And over-zealous parking wardens patrolling the streets outside, but that’s another story.
We were up there as part of Leeds Lit Fest, and we had a great time. More importantly, so did the audience, which shouldn’t be a surprise given how the show’s been received when we’ve done it before, but somehow still is. What we hadn’t expected, when we woke bleary-eyed next morning after a late-night drive home negotiating motorway junction closures and speed restrictions, was a glowing review of our performance already up on the Yorkshire Bylines website. Wow. We’re still blushing, and punching the air, and feeling just a little bit seen.
So here we are. Three poets from an unfashionable city in an unfashionable part of the country. You’d expect us to tell you our show’s good, but so far it’s been awarded ‘best in Fringe’ at Morecambe, gone down an absolute storm when we brought it back to Wolverhampton, and now had a belter of a review in Yorkshire Bylines. Why wouldn’t you want us to bring this to where you live so you can enjoy it too?
Get in touch and we’ll try and make it happen, because that’s what we do.