“Thank you. It was a real privilege to work with the range of talent you had gathered together. I particularly appreciate the risk you were willing to take committing to [new] performances.”Gordon Flemons, Artist
Developing Artists, Developing the Arts
The artists at festivals such as Streetdiversions were from all across the UK and different parts of Europe – with a few from further afield, such as Mexico or Australia.
However, it was important to me to ensure support for both established and emerging artists from the local area too.
For example, Streetdiversions Festival took place in Essex but supporting artists, especially in the local area, is a vital approach.
Wherever possible, I wanted to give artists the opportunity to develop new ideas and present them to the public for the first time. Together we would learn from the experience and find ways to improve things before ‘releasing’ something to the wider world.
For local artists based in the county, their appearance at the festival often displayed a special take on the Essex outlook on life. Their work was inevitably influenced by the county where they grew up and they often said when presenting elsewhere in the UK that their take could be traced back to their Essex roots. These artists were often found making mischief together; but all with their own particular skills and unique ideas.
“From the bottom of my heart thank you for all the work and [that you] went out on a limb to trust in me. New growth directions, scary unknown, but very exciting. You are a visionary.”Joanna Peacock
For example, it could be said that Joanna Peacock is the original Essex girl, a modern day Boudicca, with over twenty years of experience in incredible costume design and performing in circus and at arts festivals.
It’s an impressive personal history that can be traced back to the legendary French Archaos Circus and in more recent times, the Mutoid Waste Company. She has performed across the world, from Japan to Germany, and is often credited with inventing the now popular human angle-grinding act seen at many contemporary burlesque shows. Joanna frequently performed at streetdiversions festival in amazing costumes designed and made by her.
Jonny Buffalo (also known as Colonel Mosschop) is a self-styled international man of mystery – and nurtures additional talent and absurd ideas from his Buffalo Tank HQ. Jonny thinks of a pun, then builds a world around it.
One creation was the Tankton Slightly Odd Village Fete – a surreal world of sideshows, tomfoolery and English eccentricity – including the understated but brilliant Toast Office and also the Art Cannon with Colonel Mosschops aided and abetted by his faithful chum, Admiral Sidewicket – played by Dan Peppiatt.
“I’m delighted to have been involved in the festival, collaborating on some great projects [with Liam] over the years and forging incredible working relationships with other artists.”Dan Peppiatt, Mechanical Menagerie
Dan is another Essex-bred street performer and engineer of the absurd. Making fire and blowing things up for as long as he can remember, his Mechanical Menagerie of interactive, kinetic or mobile structures are created for street theatre.
Touring both in the UK and abroad with fire-breathing trees, robotic skeletons pulling Gypsy caravans and giant mechanical dragons, he likes to think of a story and then bring it to reality. His Elementree sculpture, originally commissioned by me, has appeared at numerous festivals in the UK.
Support For Other Creatives
Other individual creatives I’ve supported through all kinds of productions – this is just in Essex, as an example – include Elaine Tribley, Peter Clegg, Hetty Burton, Sarah Dosworth, Mike Dodsworth, Gordon Flemons (see below), Dave Danzig & Mandy Rose (see Smallest Theatre video below), David Mapp, Phil Oldershaw, Paka Johnson, Emily Green, Ashley French, Emma Odell, Andrew Pinkney, Nastassia Page, Vicki Weitz, Lee Richardson, Rob Godman and many others.
These artists were involved in events and festivals such as Jibber Jabber, The 3foot People Festival, Sensation, Sparks Will Fly and The Fling Festival – details of which can be found elsewhere on this website.
“The Fling Festival has been the most important cultural happening to take place locally for a generation. Not only does it provide a much needed platform for artists and talent from all backgrounds to gain experience but, it also opened up a new world of alternative entertainment.”Marc Miller, Culture Manager
21st Century Folly
Artist Gordon Flemons worked on a collaboration for The Fling & The 3foot People Festival and worked with scaffolding company Another Level to explore the cube and it’s limits.
“Drawing a cube delineates space, separating it out from infinity, giving it boundaries, but a tower with it’s height acts as a landmark manipulating the hinterland of space around it.”Gordon Flemons, Artist
Gordon and John Mann from Another Level challenged the stability of the cube by piling several of them haphazardly into a tower structure creating something visually unstable – a 21st Century Folly.
“Liam’s incredible commitment to local artists, his support, energy and encouragement have massively impacted and grown my art practice beyond what I thought possible.”Elaine Tribley, Artist
“Working with Liam creates opportunities for individuals and communities to work in new and innovative ways, connect with a wider network of arts and cultural groups and reach wider audiences.”Mike Dodsworth