SPARK: Storytelling at the Blue Elephant

Hello! I haven’t posted before but I think this blog is great, hope this sort of thing is of interest.

Just went to this lovely event that is on all week at our local theatre The Blue Elephant.

Spark at The Blue Elephant TheatreAt spark events, storytellers, some amateur, some not, tell true stories from their lives. Tonight, the six stories were all connected to the theme ‘Animal magnetism’ and were woven together by Silver Lining – a duo that played floaty, folky tunes between anecdotes. The silver lining here was definitely the exception to the rule though, because there certainly wasn’t a cloud in sight in this intimate and funny evening.

A young girl told us about how she became an unlikely ‘sparkie’ in the film industry – from hauling huge lights around as a runner to driving a HGV full of lighting equipment to the rocky heights of Spain for a Bond film – when she was confronted by man who demanded she weigh up his elephant-sized bollocks.

We ventured (further?) into the dark side with a recount of someone’s conquest over the magnetism of cocaine and heard about love triangle between two teacher friends and their ‘baby giraff’ student. Messy it was.

As a total sucker for cat stories, I loved the one about Pablo the cat’s disappearance and the mad-capped plan to find him back which involved leafleting their mobile phone number to all of Brixton’s crazies.

Our animal instinct to tell a good story saw dumped bloke get revenge by hooking up with girlfriend of guy deemed ‘more man’ than he. And a drama graduate mourned the King. King — the ‘illegal immigrant’ penguin that is.

All in all, it was a great bag of goodies held together by some beautiful signing and music. In keeping with the local flavour of the night, as the audience dispersed, the band sang of ghosts in the Old Kent Road.

Check out one of the other nights this week if you can, every day has a different theme: guts, home, special delivery and close call. You can also get involved yourself and tell your own story on the open mike night on Friday.

The Blue ElephantIt’s only £5 for Southwark residents and if you really get into it and want to see more than one show, you get the rest of the nights half price once you’ve seen one.

More on the Blue Elephant Theatre site:

29 thoughts on “SPARK: Storytelling at the Blue Elephant”

  1. Bellamontie

    Blue Elephant

    A great venue…something for Camberwell to be proud about

    Are you also aware of the Camberwell Village Hall Campaign?

    We want to save the last remaining purpose-built cinema/theatre building left in Camberwell for arts/cinema/community use…

    It would also be a potential venue to show some superb Blue Elephant and Theatre Peckham works to a bigger audience 😉

    facebook page -
    Cinema for Camberwell Green

    Kind Regards

  2. Southwark Freegive Group: It’s at

    Lambeth Freegive Group: It’s at

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    “The goal of Southwark and Lambeth Freegive Group is to reduce waste by connecting individuals in the London Borough of Southwark and Lambeth who are throwing away goods with others who are seeking them. Whether you’re looking to discard or acquire an item, Southwark and Lambeth Freegive Group is the place to do it! Furniture, clothing, appliances, computers, and everything in between. One constraint: everything posted must be FREE.”

    Southwark Freegive Group: It’s at

    Lambeth Freegive Group: It’s at

  3. Camberwell College of Arts
    Graduate Degree Shows
    Foundation, Undergraduate and Conservation shows

    Monday 21 June 6–9pm — Private View

    Show continues Tuesday 22 — Saturday 26 June
    Tuesday — Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 11am-5pm

    Hope you can all come along!

  4. Anyone strayed into Peckham and tried The Victoria Inn on Bellenden Rd yet? Beautiful restoration, great selection of beers, lovely food.

    Only let down by the service; went there on Sunday night (for the 2nd time) and spent 15 minutes trying to flag down a waitress; food arrived with no cutlery, which I had to go inside and hunt down myself; then extra drinks we ordered at the start of the meal arrived at the end.

    If they can sort that out, it’ll be a winner.

  5. The Victoria — £2.50 for a small coke is a bit steep — also feel the 14 plastic B&Q lanterns and brassy sign lights that adorn the exterior, along with a questionable clashing colour choice of greens and blues and twee door to the private apartment show questionable taste. Inside its bookcases crammed with carefully placed dusty tomes and trophies remind me of Abercrombie & Fitch. For me its a corporate chain pub for corporate chain people — sorry.. (I like the lime green awnings though..)

  6. My reaction was more like NickW’s…

    But what do I know. It seems to be incredibly popular. A bit of Lordship Lane in Peckham.

    And they do have vegan beer! Vegan friends have got me there twice since it opened.

  7. They’ve kept the original Victorian bar, which looks beautiful, and the food is very nice. Didn’t really pay attention to the quality of the lamps.

  8. I had good bottle of Argentinian Malbec in the Montpellier last time it was taken-over and refurbed. It seemed like a wine-drinking kind of place back then.

    I like that the Victoriana has happened. Brings a bit of life to Bellenden Road in the evening. It’s a prime spot in theory.

  9. So what did you think of last night’s Peckham Finishing School for Girls? I couldn’t resist watching it… quite entertaining and silly, though it doesn’t exactly show our lovely area to its best advantage…

  10. Some of the characters are interesting.

    The actual program-making and format… Meh.

    I wouldn’t of watched it if it had been about a different area. But cos it’s local, I’ll watch it again.

  11. We watched it purely to try and ‘spot’ places in Peckham, so found it quite enjoyable. Don’t think I’ll watch the next 2 though.

    And a shame the editing didn’t show mention all the other rah home counties art students who live in the area, go to Bar Story etc.

    The editing of the prog got a bit downbeat. Made it look like hell. But I guess they have to do that to stand the story up. And in some places and some ways Peckham is nasty.

    We found the way the prog talked up a ‘growing row’ between the girls a bit odd. What was the source of the row? Some weird claims about bullying at schools, or just a general hate of ‘being stuck up’. Anyway, that got tedious. At no point did either party seem to have an involved or useful conversation with the other.

    It was classic when they went into the House of Praise church. Must admit it looks quite fun.

    The characters are interesting. The zoology grad looks quite thoughtful and the Peckham mammasan fixer was brilliant. The Peckham lasses were pretty cool but the wellard gangsta white one just got on my nerves.

  12. And did you see those giant snails? I know they’re an african delicacy but didn’t realise they sold em here.

    Get one on the barbie!

  13. Peckham Finishing, like Big Brother and presumably World War III following the end of the special relationship between the UK and US with that boring accountant bloke who runs America is somewhat occluded by the World Copa Mondiale.

    The prog is predictable. When the girls went shopping with their 30 quid, the SE15 should have gone with them to advise — that was a real miss, it would have been great.

    The Gulf is a cock-up like Bloody Sunday. That accountant bloke says let’s git oil offshore from down south then moans when there’s bin too much pressure to do it quick.

    The bin Laden must be cock-a-hoop. They must feel like prophets — they sure look like it now.

    Thank golly for Camberwell Arts Week. A bit of sanity in this crazy world.

    Victoria pub is great — Erdinger, Sharp’s from Cornwall, Adnams, fine staff, great atmosphere.

    Let’s stay here.

  14. The Victoria SHOULD be good. It has a lot of money behind it, it’s free of tie, it’s got loads of letting rooms to pay the mortgage, they can easily do whatever quirky things they want, including vegan beer. I’ve been demanding organic beer from S&N for fifteen years. They don’t supply it. If I sell it I am breaking the terms of my lease and can be taken to high court and fined, or forfeit the lease. I’m seriously thinking of stocking Freedom beers precisely just to wind the pubco up.

    Come to The Sun and Doves tonight for England Algeria, it will be FUN! We have three screens now. One in the beautiful garden and two indoors. 4 pint jugs of beer for football matches — 25p a pint cheaper than buying by the pint. Lurverly World Cup menu including salt beef bagels, super jalapenos chilli Nachos, cajun burger and hot dogs. Yum Yum.

  15. Well, frankly, that’s why I don’t find football particularly interesting.

    IT was fun, the occasion that is, apart from the rain, the noise and the gloomy faces, but the football was pants.

    How much money does that shower command between them? Disgraceful.

  16. Mark

    The World Cup (like the Olympics) has merely become an excercise in Keynesian economics (or worse still that c**t Ayn Rand) — ie: celebrating -

    Capitalist Excelence 1st
    Sporting Excelence 2nd

    Much like everything else in this life…which sucks but it’s where we’re at…

    As you know all too well dealing with pubco twats!


  17. Notwithstanding, they are going bananas in Copenhagen about tonight’s clash with Cameroon. There are more pigs than people in Denmark and many have made the journey from their rural piggeries to the sports bars of the capital. You may laugh, but many times I have seen your English lager louts on their stag weekends bleerily trying to chat up to one of our pretty young sows in her little pink dress sitting on a bar stool fluttering her long eyelashes over a 25cl Tuborg!

    Then, if their Engerland football team is on the big screens, they boo their performance, especially if they draw, and say they could do better. This is most unlike the Germans who, even if thy lose to Siberia, maintain their dignity and attract the admiration of our pretty porkettes.

  18. I used to watch England and after one match — I think it was England Turkey a few years back — after the neckache of 2 hours of sheer, unremitting tedium on a big pub screen — I realised that I had spent many hours doing this, and mustn’t do any more. England so rarely entertain.

    If England make the last 4 maybe I’ll start watching each match in full. Funnily, I thought that by skipping Algeria that I’d miss them thrash the N Africans 4–0 or something. Oh no. Not so. Who’d have thought it’d be that dull? Anyway I caught the last 20 mins as you do, and was glad I’d missed the rest.

    Frankly, Peckham Finishing School was so much more enjoyable, and they get paid a lot less than Roo and friends…

  19. @Melanie — great day / night last night. Good start to the festival. Kelly’s been doing a great job again!

    House Gallery was choc a bloc with lovely illustrations and their even more comely creators. Father Phil was in the House and Drew Law made a rather marvellous stand up intro to the arts Festival. Nice wine too…

    Afterwards The Crypt at St Giles buzzed with youthfulness and its perennially inchoate and laissez faire organisation, its interminable queues for the loos and lines for the wines, with the sound of breaking glass and gay laughter all around.

    Its romantically preserved in aspic like quality reminded me of another ArtsWeek opening night there in… 1998 I think it was, where a film crew was doing the rounds asking people what they think of Camberwell and where its potential lies. I’ve still got a box of vhs tapes with the edited result somewhere… nothing’s changed down there except the wine’s better now than it was. Oh and you can get a large measure now.

  20. Oh Mark. Sometimes I just want to give you a cuddle and say ‘it’ll be alright’!

    There was something of the ‘romantically preserved’ about last night. It brought back memories of student life and devil-may-care-ness. It was great.

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