Colpitts Poetry at Gala Gallery
21 June 2021 – 29 August 2021
Colpitts Poetry, one of Britain’s longest-running poetry reading series, reached its 45th anniversary in 2020. The first reading took place in The Colpitts Hotel in 1975 when Irene Spencer, the landlady, gave founder Richard Caddell permission to hold readings in her small back room. Having succeeded there, with good, cheap ale and a friendly welcome, Colpitts moved on when the brewery decided the drinkers needed a snooker table. They kept the name and since then Colpitts has brought 439 poets to Durham City in local venues such as The Big Jug, The Bridge Hotel, Castle Chare Arts Centre, Durham Town Hall, Durham University, the Gala Theatre, and for the last twenty-five years, Alington House in North Bailey. They have ranged further afield to every part of the region, hosting the first spoken word event at The Sage, Gateshead.
The 45 photos in this exhibition are the work of the late David M James, who wonderfully captured the atmosphere of those diverse early venues from 1975 to 1989. They not only celebrate now nationally and internationally renowned poets, especially experimental poets and small publishing presses, but the local audiences who supported poetry and the arts in those often difficult times.