Swanage gets a new Cultural Hub: a New lease of Life for The British Legion!
The Rock-A-Hula Club, the brainchild behind the incredibly successful Swanage Comedy Festival and resident Friday night DJs upstairs at the East Bar, are bringing a new lease of life to one of Swanage’s most unlikely venues, The Royal British Legion. Swanage residents Dave Taylor and Jack Daniels are breathing life into the region and the Legion, enticing acts from across the spectrum of the UK's cultural landscape from blues, Jazz, Folk, to one off comedy nights etc.
The venue is an interesting choice, but Dave says:
We were looking for a positive partnership with a venue, where we could develop ideas and explore what would work for visitors and the local community. We have had fantastic feed back from comedians that have appeared there during the Comedy Festivals, who have said how great the space is. We already have had some sell out shows there, and there are going to be plenty more in the coming year. The organisers are also incredibly positive. It reminds me of the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club in East London which manages to still be a successful Working Men's Club but has cutting edge entertainment.
Rock-A-Hula's aim is to book comedy, music, live theatre, kids shows, cabaret etc, as well as a rehearsal space that should introduce more original music to the area. Music classes are planned such as drum and Ukulele workshops, with plans for The school of Rock-A-Hula launching at Easter. The venue also began an indoor market, 'Bizarre Bazaar' just before Christmas with more events planned for in 2012.
This has taken some investment but Dave says:We have invested in a good PA and sound-desk and changing the lighting, we would like to get our name on the national gig circuit, and the only way to achieve this is, is to provide great facilities to entice touring acts. We aim to work with major agencies in the entertainment business. It will be a great benefit to the community and give something unique to our visitors.
Dave Elm, Entertainment Officer says:Over the past 2 years Swanage Royal British Legion has been making continual improvements and we see the partnership with Rock-A-Hula as positive step forward. We want the club to continue to grow and by dramatically improving our Live entertainment, we can increase membership and have a club the members can feel proud of.
The venue has 200 free tickets available at www.eventbrite.com for Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons on Feb 18th , with acts from the Blues Festival and the Comedy Festival following in March. The venue then officially opens with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band on 7th April. Geno will be performing his own material plus lots of soul classics, a co-promotion with the new Swanage 5050 Club.
Events for all up and coming shows can be booked at the Legions box office, that will be open from midday till 11pm. Tickets will also be available via the Swanage T.I.C plus online through ticketing agencies such as wegottickets.com & eventbrite.com. Shows are not prohibited to Legion members, however membership to the Swanage British Legion Club is £20 a year and will offer great incentives such as discounted gigs pre- event alerts etc. For full details check out www.rockahulaclub.co.uk