Contrarian Librarians light up local libraries

In November 2013, Faversham based dance-theatre company Pestiferous, a grant recipient from Round 2, presented their show ‘The Librarians’ across Swale and Medway.

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The short dance and comedy performance popped out of the book shelves and surprised regular library goers, librarians and new visitors alike.

Four ‘librarians’ visited libraries in Sittingbourne, Queenborough, Sheerness, Faversham, Rochester and Chatham. There was book archiving, shelving and even flying with books. The audience went on a eccentric journey around the library spaces and saw exotic birds in the Wildlife section, found true love in the Romance section and got limbered up and ready to read with some ‘Booksercise’ in the Health and Fitness section. The pop-up nature of the show surprised many people visiting their local libraries. One audience member in Chatham said “It was very amusing and unexpected, and really brought the library alive! I would love to see more.”

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Pestiferous creates performances that are interactive, playful and gently subversive. They bring audiences and performers together – from all walks of life and in everyday spaces – for truly unique experiences that are uplifting, surreal, curious and joyful.

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Daren Kearl, Community Development Librarian for Canterbury & Swale, said: “The performances were fun, enjoyed by all age ranges and promoted reading and libraries in a positive and tongue in cheek format. We received overwhelming praise from audience members in subsequent feedback, thanking the library and the group for brightening their day. The interactive arts performance brought the local community together and provided a spectacle in smaller locations where people would not normally engage with the arts.”

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“A very stimulating and immensely funny event that had the clear aim of encouraging people to use their local library

Pestiferous’ artistic director Mary Eddowes, who is also an Ideas Test Community Catalyst, will soon bring a new festival of street theatre to Faversham town centre, also funded by Ideas Test. SOUP will happen on the 12th July 2014 in the Market Place and will present local professional artists and special guests for a day of circus, theatre, dance and fun.” See www.soupfestival.co.uk for more information.