THE artist we once knew as Thea Gilmore, for 19 albums no less, is changing her name to Afterlight, the title of her upcoming release too on October 1.
The Oxford singer-songwriter, 41, will showcase the new record on her first ever completely solo tour, complementing material from all stages of her career at a sold-out Pocklington Arts Centre on October 8 at 8pm.
In her official statement, she opens by saying: “Afterlight is doing it just like Chekhov said. She was always the loaded gun that appears in the first act. Now, as the third act unfolds, it’s time to put on your bulletproof vest.”
She continues: “After the stop comes the start. After the dark; the light. This is not a drill. Afterlight is a real account of one woman’s journey from impressionable 16-year-old bound into a toxic working and romantic relationship with a man 23 years her senior, to a brand-new artist and free woman finding her own beginning.
“Written, produced and performed by Afterlight, the eponymous debut spans the brutal truth of the opening track – an account of all the damage wrought upon one small life – through the slow, painful realisation that her entire world was built on control and lies, on to the emergence of a woman learning for the first time who she really is, making new connections and, finally, finding her own voice.
“Only now that she has freed herself of that life has Afterlight been able to complete a different kind of debut – not so much a new artist as an artist renewed.”
Postponed by 12 months due to the global pandemic, her tour now takes place under the new name but will still find the former Thea accompanying herself on guitar, keyboard and loop station.
Her October 8 audience is promised “a chance to hear some of her most special songs exactly the way they entered the world – raw, unadorned, delivered intimately by that long revered, hauntingly beautiful voice”.
Since first stepping out aged 18, she has released 19 albums, 6 EPs; been lauded by Bruce Springsteen; collaborated with roots royalty Billy Bragg, Joan Baez and The Waterboys; performed on BBC Radio 2 with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and contributed songs to the soundtrack of BAFTA-winning film Bait.
Always keen to explore new musical boundaries, now she stretches herself further on and as Afterlight. Look out for a second album, The Emancipation Of Eva Grey, arriving on October 1 too.
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre will reopen to the public on July 20 and film screenings will re-start on July 23, 491 days since the last performance.
Director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy have chosen this date to ensure the safety of customers and volunteers.
“Over the past few months, our main focus has been planning the safe reopening of the building, ensuring all staff are trained appropriately and making sure the venue has all its new systems, resources and processes in place and working well,” says Janet.
“We have sought feedback from staff, volunteers and customers and this will be vital to the success of this process. Our main aim is to ensure the visitor experience at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is safe, secure and enjoyable.”
In late-March 2020, the East Yorkshire venue launched a crowdfunding page, raising more than £18,000 in under a month, followed by successful funding applications to the Smile Foundation’s I Am Fund and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Janet says: “I would like to thank our customers, in addition to Pocklington Town Council, the Friends of PAC, the Smile Foundation, Arts Council England and the Music Venue Trust for their collective support over the past year.
“It has been a very difficult time for everyone, but their kind words, financial support and continued interest in all things PAC has meant a great deal and helped carry the venue through these extraordinary times.”
Staff have rescheduled forthcoming events for the autumn and winter, transferring more than 4,000 tickets and refunding customers for 20-plus cancelled events.
“Throughout the closure period, we have stated our determination to emerge from the situation more vibrant than ever and our autumn and winter programme is a testament to that,” says Janet.
“2021/22 will see a fantastic range of live events being staged here, alongside our trademark diverse mix of film screenings, live broadcasts, exhibitions, community events and private hires.”
In the diary are Grammy Award winner Loudon Wainwright III, September 24; Northumberland Theatre Company (NTC) in Oscar Wilde’s “trivial comedy for serious people”, The Importance Of Being Earnest, September 30; North Eastern gypsy folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers, October 16; Oxford singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore, October 7, and Irish jazz/blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan, October 19.
Bellowhead alumni and BBC Radio Folk Award winners Spiers & Boden are booked in for October 20; Red Ladder Theatre Company, from Leeds, in Nana-Kofi Kufuor’s My Voice Was Heard But Was Ignored, for November 25; television and radio broadcaster and author Jeremy Vine, November 26; Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph, December 2, and York drag diva deluxe Velma Celli, December 3.
Confirmed for 2022 are An Evening With Julian Norton, from Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet, January 18; singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson, January 22;Welsh guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and former Amen Corner cornerstone Andy Fairweather Low, February 11, and Eighties’ pop singer and actress ToyahWillcox, March 3.
PAC’s two open-air acoustic concerts in Primrose Wood, Pocklington, with Martin Simpson and Katie Spencer on July 1 and The Dunwells and Rachel Croft on July 8 will go ahead despite the Government’s Step 4 roadmap delay, but now under social-distancing restrictions. Both 7pm shows have sold out.
Janet says: “We always knew this was a possibility when the shows were first planned and there’s sufficient space for people to enjoy the event safely, while experiencing the atmospheric setting of Primrose Wood.”
PAC increased its online artistic output during the pandemic, staging 18 events to more than 9,000 audience members.
In addition, a series of outdoor exhibitions has been held by PAC across the region. York artists Sue Clayton and Karen Winship have shown work at All Saints’ Church, Pocklington, and Sue will be following Karen into Hull Waterside and Marina. Those attending the York Vaccination Centre at Askham Bar can see her Down Syndrome portraits in the Tent of Hope.
“We felt it was vitally important to have continued customer engagement throughout the prolonged closure period and the public response to these events and exhibitions has been very positive,” says Janet.
“We’re also very much aware there’s no substitute to watching a live performance, in person, and sharing this experience with fellow audience members.
“Everyone at PAC is now counting down the days until the doors can reopen and we can welcome customers back. It’s been a very long interval and we can’t wait for the second half to begin.”
For full event listings and ticket details, go to: pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
OXFORD singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore will play Pocklington Arts Centre on October 8 2021 on her first ever completely solo tour.
Held back by 12 months in response to the global pandemic, Thea, 40, now will be touring in September and October next year rather than this autumn.
In 2019, she released her fourth successive chart album, Small World Turning. Songs from all stages of a career stretching beyond two decades will make up her 2021 set, performed on guitar, keyboard and loop station
Since first stepping out aged 18, Gilmore has released18 albums and six EPs; collaborated with “roots royalty” Billy Bragg, Joan Baez and The Waterboys; performed on BBC Radio 2 with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and contributed songs to the soundtrack of the BAFTA-winning film Bait.
“Like so many other shows, sadly Thea’s 2020 performance at PAC has been postponed, but all original tickets have been transferred to the new date and customers are being contacted by PAC staff,” says venue manager James Duffy.
Meanwhile, Irish jazz and blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan is re-arranging her Pocklington gig for a second time. First, she switched from April 21 to September 23 2020; now she has put PAC in her diary for April 23 2021. Again, staff will be in touch with ticket holders.
Coughlan, 64, is sticking to a September release for her new autobiographical album, Life Stories, preceded by a single this month, Two Breaking Into One.