Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fromesbury groups

Frome Station is one of those timber buildings that look like they've come from a Hornby set. It was opened in 1850 and as one of the oldest stations still in operation it's now Grade 2 Listed. Frome is only a branch line, which if you remember your Tank Engine stories means it loops off the main line, and it's only single track now, but it has a literary claim to fame: In 1912 Leonard Woolf, who was staying in Great Elm, took the train to Paddington specifically to propose to Virginia Stephen.  He must have travelled hopefully, for according to the to-be bride's younger brother Adrian she had been visibly "a little forward" with him for some months: "Her method of wooing is to talk of fucking" he wrote to post-impressionist painter Duncan Grant, "and I dare say she will be successful."  She was, of course, or he was, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf continued as core members of the Bloomsbury set.  And now there's a move to put up a plaque on our little railway station identifying its role in shaping literary history. Not quite Adlestrop, but a small significance surely worth celebrating.
The Bloomsbury Group had much to commend it: members were anti militarism & bourgeois values and pro women's suffrage & pleasure in relationships, but its cliqueyness was criticised even at the time ~ which gives me a branch line loop back to Frome because one of the things I've always loved about living here is the way the creative groups consciously & deliberately avoid exclusivity. This is one of the reasons the Town Council was able to go politically independent, and it's reflected in the huge range of events in  Frome Arts Festival. Now a new group Frome Writers Collective has formed to bring more connectedness to the diversity of small groups working in different genres and literary forms.  Here they are on their launch day, with the Mayor in his capacity as author of Flatpack Democracy beside David Lassman who has taken over leadership of Frome Scripwriters. Rosie and I started this group in 2012 and have enjoyed working on some great productions but we're both focussing on personal work at the moment. We've stepped back not away, and at a good time, with our final Scriptwriters project War Zones in Frome Festival: six 10-minute scripts from Alison Clink, Brenda Bannister, Nikki Lloyd, Sian Williams, Rosie Finnegan and me.  If you've seen previous Nevertheless Production shows you'll be thrilled that dream team Olivia Dennis and Danann McAleer are coming back to perform these very different pieces. Only a fiver, so do book and come along to the Cornerhouse 8pm on Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th July.

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