The Warren: hanging out with Keith Stewart

‘Cancelled: Jackie Kay and Zaffar Kunial.’ Their appearance at the Brighton Festival I assume – not them. I saw Jackie Kay a few years back at the Festival and thoroughly enjoyed her calm, sorted, humorous and informed story. I was looking forward to hearing from her again. But not this time. As a gesture of goodwill we were offered up to four complimentary tickets to Songs for the End of the World. A good customer relations move.  

My friend suggested we check out The Warren, a Brighton Fringe venue that sees a selection of performance spaces and bars placed sensitively next to St. Peter’s Church on the London Road. Alcohol, Brighton Fringe shows and salvation within yards of each other. I thought – why not? Let’s be young, free, wild and reckless. It was like being in a mini-festival, and because the area is walled off you don’t see the outside world. Or the traffic and taxis and buses that haunt the London Road at 7.30pm. The outdoor seats and benches are surrounded by an array of theatre and show venues of various sizes, a few burger stalls, and a few stalls selling bags. In addition, a couple of bars. The tables were all a splutter with what felt like reams of flyers, mainly about the same few shows; and a couple of times we were calmly accosted by jovial, happy people sharing more flyers about award-winning shows. It was a good environment to sit and chat and linger but might be manic on a Friday or Saturday night. Nevertheless, an enjoyable space. 

What happens to these endless extra flyers? I remember coming out of nightclubs in my youth and taking, ditching and walking over endless flyers about some event, somewhere at some time. Of course you kept the flyers that gave free entry next week. There was a talk – I think after a show – about refugees and the camp at Calais. I often wonder about these things. Is it the right place? It’s raising awareness I believe. On the other hand, does it just help to wrestle from me a few moments of concern and philanthropy for those less fortunate than me before I get my burger, beer, ticket and a show.

This is an extract from a blog by Keith Stewart. 
His website and blog can be found at 


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