The Setup

It's a rolling start.

The whole event isn't due to begin until 6pm, so I'm witnessing the gradual transformation of the Main Hall from a box office into a performance venue.

I have a table - a high, walnut desk, built for standing. For schoolmasters. And, apparently, for people who look like they can give directions around the Gallery. Or the time. 

After some commotion, there came an internet connection.

Now, I have a sign.


Writer in Residence


Become a literary patron for one night only. Our writer in residence, David Varela, will write in any form on any topic, ancient or modern. Give him a suggestion and see if inspiration strikes. You can watch every keystroke as it happens at

But you know that much.

Soon, there will be a projector, and these words will be blazed across the wall of the Gallery, though I suspect there will be some fun with cabling before that. 

Heavy trolleys are being wheeled past. Two tall tables - very much drinking tables, not schooldesks like mine - have been placed in the middle of the room. It's a bar without a bar. A school without a class. 

Subtly, there is a change in clientele. The tour parties are being replaced by curious students and couples, leaning against the tables, seeing the scaffolding going up, and wondering what is coming. 

It's far from clear. I'm eliciting commissions via commissioning forms - which I must now write by hand...

One moment.

And we're back. 

There is a battle for tables. The predicted cable fun has started. It's a painful transition, the Gallery straining and pulling back as it becomes the Venue. 

Now the bar is in place. A shiny black slick of bar-top in a very white space. People are crowding round it, expecting drinks and service, but the  bottles are still on their way. The framework. The scaffold. The shell of a bar.

Musicians tune up in the far corner. Strings, but not a violin. There are Elizabethan instruments on display, and what might be a party is instead promising to be revels.