Ely Writers Bard From The Pub

PUBLISHED: 16:19 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

A SMALL group of Ely writers has been threatened with a £5,000 if they continue to recite poetry in an Ely pub. Turning Point, a group of Ely writers and poets, was formed six months ago by playwright Paola Trimarco. The initiative was supported by Arts D

A SMALL group of Ely writers has been threatened with a £5,000 if they continue to recite poetry in an Ely pub.

Turning Point, a group of Ely writers and poets, was formed six months ago by playwright Paola Trimarco. The initiative was supported by Arts Development in Cambridgeshire, and offers a monthly showcase for new writers at the Royal Standard pub on Fore Hill and recently celebrated after being awarded a National Lottery Grant for £1,800.

Publicity for their performances, published in last week's edition of the Ely Standard alerted district council licensing officer Roland Wilson to the fact that Turning Point's venue did not have the relevant license.

The pub is allowed to host musical performances, but needs a spoken word license to be able to host free half-hour performances of short plays and dialogues on the last Tuesday of every month.

"The papers are useful for seeing if any unlicensed activity is going on in the district," said Liz Bailey, principal environmental health officer for ECDC, and in charge of licensing. "We have licenses for all sorts of reasons - fire and police need to check it is safe - it is not just us being petty," she told the Ely Standard. "There need to be certain checks in place."

She added that the Royal Standard had applied for the correct license in September - but then withdrawn its application. "I don't think you can blame the council in this case - it seems to have been a breakdown in communication between Greene King and the licensee."

At the time of going to press, Richard Armitage, manager of the Royal Standard, was unavailable for comment.

Ms Trimarco said: "Richard has been very supportive of our event. We brought in audiences of 20-25 on Tuesdays - normally a quiet night for pubs - and we got our grant partly because we were using alternative spaces for performance, with the Maltings and the Babylon Gallery closed, we were able to use a back room in the pub that has no bar, so people under 18 could come in through the separate entrance and enjoy performances too."

"There isn't a lot going on in Ely on week nights," she added. "Most of us go to Cambridge or even London for cultural events. We've had some success over the past eight months, with regular audiences and the grant coming in - but we are a little out of the ordinary. Do you want Ely to be another boring little market town? It seems the council say they want to support new events and aim not to create a dormitory town, then contradict themselves."

nCOULD you help Turning Point out by providing the location for their November performance? Contact Ms Trimarco on paolat8@yahoo.co.uk

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are ECDC stifling culture in Ely or being petty or do they have a point.

Write to: The Ely Standard (spoken word) 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs CB7 4LS or email: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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