>It’s great to have a note in my diary that says May 8th is “Doomsday”. No I haven’t been privy to some new research into the Mayan calendar, but rather lucky enough to get one of the sought after tickets to the inaugural Bizarre Magick UK Doomsday Gathering in Whitby. The setting itself was rather bizarre; Sneaton Castle, part of St Hilda’s Priory and the Order of the Holy Paraclete, an Anglican religious community. The black garbed, pentacle wearing bizarrists raised a few eyebrows, and there was a sense that we were indeed the dark tricksters on site.

Sadly, I couldn’t get to the Friday’s shenanigans, but judging by Evie, Tristan and Lyndon’s demeanor coupled with rumours of pendulums, spirits and pot-noodle, a good night was had by all.
On Saturday Alain the Storyteller (Frank Allen) opened, and closed, the proceedings with a wonderful ceremony that demonstrated why he is one of the best bizarre performers in the UK today.
The day was MC-ed by Michael Diamond who introduced our first lecturer of the day; Roger Curzon. Roger’s lecture took us through some very workable material, and introduced new takes on some established effects. His performance was warm and humorous and a great start to the day.
We then had an extended lunchbreak to chat, browse the dealers and be told off by the nuns for sitting on the wrong side of the refectory!
Breaks were plentiful throughout the day and this added to the friendliness of the event. It felt like you had plenty of time to have a cup of coffee, socialise and eat holy ginger biscuits. I had great chats with Frank, Paul, Ashton, Dan, Roni, etc. etc. The sense of community was excellent.
The afternoon started with a lovely tongue-in-cheek performance by Brian Maxwell. This was followed, after the break, with a very interesting lecture by Robert Allen. I spoke to Robert at length about his approach to developing a bizarre/storytelling piece of theatre, his lecture helped illustrate his thoughts and he agreed to talk to me further about his approach (I feel a case study for my research coming on).
Steve Murray then took the stage for a performance set involving the cleansing of a witch and the divining of spirits. Steve’s act showed some strong creative thinking in subtly linking several effects into a whole concept.
The final act was Leslie Melville (William Warlock) who gave us excerpts from his new gothic storytelling show. I was entranced with the simple beauty of his spirit glass!
The day was simultaneously exciting and exhausting. I’ve learnt many new secrets (mostly involving Morrisons or Wilco) and have come away several ideas for future projects.
My diary has a new date, Doomsday II.