SAY the name Hay-on-Wye and people will immediately think first of the Hay Festival of Literature. But now another name joins the festival’s with the arrival in the town of an exciting year-round venue for live events.
The Globe first opened its doors in its new incarnation for this year’s Hay Festival, offering festival goers somewhere a bit different – somewhere that wasn’t just a restaurant, bar or pub – and in the process, earned itself a reputation as Hay’s answer to The Groucho Club.
The Globe, managed by Mandy Houghton, is the brainchild of Hilary Lawson, who splits his time between London and Hay and is the founder of TVF Media, the UK’s leading distributor of documentaries.
“Hilary loves meeting people and going out,” says events manager, Clare Purcell, explaining how The Globe has evolved into Hay’s most exciting new venue.
“He thought that this was a lovely space and felt that Hay had a population that would support a place like this, and he firmly believes that dancing makes people happy.”
An eclectic, wide-ranging and ever-evolving programme of arts events, running seven days a week, aims to genuinely offer something for everyone, with workshops and events for children, music, dance, talks and comedy for the grown-ups and events for every age.
The Globe has already become a firm favourite with anyone who loves dancing, music, comedy, art or simply sitting over a cup of coffee or a delicious meal in great surroundings.
In recent weeks the venue has seen a speed demonstration by a chainsaw sculptor, a baby-friendly fireworks night, wine and champagne tasting and a DJ set from Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records, which launched Oasis.
Downstairs is dedicated to comedy nights on the third Friday of every month – tomorrow’s features Nat Lurtsemma and Josh Widdicombe and is headlined by Tom Craine, winner of best comedy and drama category in the 2006 national student awards.
Saturday sees the first monthly cabaret club evening – Mischief and Mayhem – with a range of cabaret acts, DJ and a live band.
From the outside, The Globe at Hay is a converted Methodist chapel, but eye-catching sculptures in the garden provide a clue to its present purpose. Inside, however, it reveals itself as a colourful fusion of antique furniture, a work-in-progress scaffolding balcony, a welcoming cafe bar and a door to The Secret Cellar Bar downstairs.
Joining Clare and Mandy on the Globe team is Paul Abbott, whose remit is to programme three weekend events each year, the first of which, Crunch.art, takes place over the weekend of November 28-30, and will look at the impact on the art world of a downturn in the economy.
Following their enthusiastically received performance at The Globe earlier this month, 2FaCeD Dance Company has plans to return to the venue weekly with dance workshops, and it is hoped that regular Saturday morning drama workshops will also be starting.
Clare herself comes to The Globe after nine years with Hay Festival, and is enjoying the return to grass roots entertainment.
“Identifying the requirements of a local audience has taken me back to my roots,” she says, before revealing plans for quiz nights.
Add in free film screenings and free wi-fi and it’s clear that the eclectic mix of the programme and its commitment to providing a unique arts resource make The Globe the place to be in Hay.