Sunday, 6 April 2014

A Dynamite Book Launch

During the week I was very lucky to be invited to the book launch of the year! Debut author Jason Hewitt used his theatre background to create a unique event to celebrate the publication of The Dynamite Room in the eerie location of The Vaults in Waterloo.

The Vaults are a multi-disciplinary arts space located in the underground of Waterloo station. With dark tunnels to explore (one even has water dripping on your head!) and the rumble of trains overhead, it is a beautiful and atmospheric space. The walk there alone is a unique one, as we strolled through a graffitied tunnel to enter the 1940s world created by Jason. I spent the whole evening feeling as if I was in a film! There was even a programme which added to the feeling of a theatricals event!

The entrance to the venue

Many of the quests had taken the effort to arrive with hair styles and clothes inspired by the era and I was thrilled to meet another debut author, the very lovely Sophia Tobin in the queue! (I had just finished reading her novel The Silversmith's Wife, which added to my surreal evening!)

Once we were in The Vaults, we were free to wander around the dark tunnels and stop to watch scenes of the book re-enacted. The actors were fabulous and the tense and claustrophobic feeling of the book was recreated perfectly. In particular, the scene in the a concrete store in Norway in the 'long wet tunnel' was suitably edgy. We kept going back to this scene to see how it had progressed.

The Long Wet Tunnel
A toy lamb with wearing a gas mask reminds us of Lydia
 The use of the space was used in a really clever way, with one of the scenes taking place below us as we walked along a metal grilled walkway looking down on the action right beneath our feet. I wish I could have stayed longer to look, but it made me feel a bit dizzy as the whole floor was pretty much see through and I had to make a hasty exit.

The main party area was adorned with bunting and furnished with vintage leather sofas and street lights. We were treated to live music from The Stringbeans Quartet and singing trio The Scarlet Starlets who really got us In The Mood (sorry!) There were even SPAM sandwiches! It was just a shame that we could not hear readings from actor Will Thorp as it was just too noisy with the joviality of the guests.

The main party area

This was a fantastic evening and really showcased how immersive theatre can be very effective when in the right location. The morning after it was announced that The Dynamite Room has been longlisted for the Desmond Elliott award and I am sure that this novel will enjoy much success over the next twelve months.

You can read my review of The Dynamite Room here as well as my Q and A with Jason Hewitt here

Find out more information about The Vaults here

A huge thank you to Jason and Simon and Schuster for inviting me to this event!   

The programme

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