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Ken Campbell: A tribute

One of the Liverpool branches in the late-n-great's life has organised a November festival to remember him by. Read on...

Published on November 13th 2008.


Ken Campbell: A tribute

A LIVE, improvised soap opera lasting more than 33 hours is to be played out this weekend as one of the highlights of a two-week commemoration of the life of the Ken Campbell.

The Metafex Festival, which runs until November 23, includes theatre, music, art, performance, and workshops. Although not exclusively about the work of Ken Campbell, Metafex says it will use “the same anarchic and sideways-looking approach for which the great man was famous”.

If that sounds a little self conscious, try suspending your disbelief, for Metafex will include work by Ken's many friends, collaborators and disciples in the city. And yes, there are plenty of youthful examples of those to be had around here, many of whom are based in Mellomello in Slater Street, HQ of The Arts Organisation and always a good place to go for tea and a tinkle - of the ivories or not.

Metafex, running now, looks back on Campbell's days at the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun in Mathew Street, The Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool, and his artistic directorship at the Everyman, as well as looking forward to his legacy and effect on artists and theatrical types today.

The Ilford-born director, actor and writer, who died suddenly at the end of August this year, once said: "They only call me a genius so they don't have to give me a job," but, says Metafex organiser Josh Darcy (that's him on the left in the picture), Campbell was one of the most important and seminal individuals in modern British theatre and the arts.

“Ken had been planning to come to Liverpool in November to work with The Art Organisation on a new show, to be called Metafex,” he revealed. “The Art Organisation has decided to instead run the same festival, but to his memory, and as an expression of his legacy.

“Campbell's is a life worth celebrating.”

To that end, in Meme (formerly Tito's restaurant in Slater Street) there is an exhibition of photographs, film and memorabilia illustrating Ken's time in the city. There will be a film night which will include footage of Ken Campbell's Roadshow at Kirkby, next Wednesday at the Kazimier. Peter O'Halligan, the founder of the School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun has already given a lecture, but yes, there's a lot more. The festival will end with a tribute show at the Everyman on Sunday 23rd November, the year-to-the-day anniversary of Ken's last performance in Liverpool - and a date well known for its magic properties if you are that way inclined.

Back to the soap marathon this weekend: Performed by Ken Campbell's School of Night and taking its cue from our Capital of Culture year, it is titled Oh! Wait (say it) and is 2008 minutes of drama aboard a 1934 liner called RMS Pedantic that will be "entirely improvised, entirely foolish". Ahem.

It will take place at the Kazimier Club (formerly the Continental) on Wolstenholme Square. There will also be a Campbell-inspired cabaret at the Kazimier on the evening of Saturday November 22.

All shows will be pay-what-you-can or by donation, except the improvised marathon (£4 for a 2 hour segment or £15 for the whole event) and the cabaret (£5). Tickets available at Mellomello Cafe, Slater Street.

For more details and a full timetable please go to metafex.blogspot.com

*Metafex Festival 2008. Liverpool Until November 23rd 2008.

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