Firstsite Faves


We gave up writing those Firstsite preview pieces sometime around the same period when we visited the Golden Goose and decided not to write an honest view of why the space was so DEAD.

The fizzle had left Firstsite; it felt like a chore ploughing through the fancy programme and trying to polish up what was inside.

The Chronic is all about Colchester. We found little evidence of this within the schedule.

But then this week the Firstsite programme from June – September very kindly found its way through our letterbox.

Still buoyed by that magical evening at the start of the month, we gave it a quick flick through. This soon became a morning coffee break, and then a whole morning was ‘lost’ looking in on what is planned.

What is clear is that Colchester features.

For a contemporary art space in the centre of the town, this really shouldn’t sound so strange.

But those Firstsite lost months were characterised by struggling to find anything – ANYTHING – connecting the Golden Goose with Sunny Colch.

Anthony Roberts’ first season at Firstsite is defined by Colchester. It is a blatant approach to get local people connected with Firstsite once again. It is the perfect message and one that deserves to succeed.

And so eyes down, coffee at the ready – here’s The Chronic’s morning flick through of what to expect at Firstsite between now and the end of September…

The BIGGIE is of course John Virtue: The Sea. The North Norfolk coastal paintings aren’t quite Sunny Colch, but they are incredibly striking.

The black and white dramatic colours work well within the golden surrounds. John will be discussing his work in person at Firstsite on 12 September.

A retrospective of Natasha Carsberg’s Colchester work is certainly welcome. Natasha worked out of Cuckoo Farm Studio until she passed away in 2014. Providing space for Colchester artists should always have a home at Firstsite.

Meanwhile we LOVE the idea behind 15 Seconds, a social history art project that showcases the lives of Colchester folk.

Chris Dorley-Brown carried out a series of video interviews with Colchester school children born in the 1980s. He returned to the project in 1994, 2004 and then 2014.

This sounds like social art with a storytelling purpose.


And then as you flick through the schedule, the word Colchester just keeps on leaping out at you. Studio Shots showcases Essex artists who have been awarded bursaries.

Richard DeDomenici’s First Nine Holes has made the short trip from Castle Park to Lewis Gardens. Golf really shouldn’t work at a contemporary art gallery. But then Firstsite is not your average contemporary art space.

The Colchester-on-Sea theme continues as we approach the school holidays. Family films will be screened each Friday morning, plus seaside themed activities for the little ankle biters.

The Lightbulb Festival of the Arts also gets a mention in the new programme. This is very much a defiantly Colchester led arts festival taking place over the weekend of 17 – 19 July.

Plus don’t forget the Firstsite regular activities, y’know – the ones that the Golden Goose was never any good at shouting about, and somehow got lost in the whole Firstsite Art or Arse argument.

Free Family Saturdays, Dinky Disco, breaking and basketball skills – you didn’t hear these ever get a namecheck from the doom mongers writing in to the local newspaper.

YAP – Young Arty People, also has a strong presence. Plus there’s the random stuff such as Art in the Community, musicals being beamed in, parents with new babies screenings (good luck with that one…)

Yep – we’re just randomly flicking through now as our morning coffee starts to get cold.

Oh – and don’t forget the late night outdoor screening of Jaws on 15 August.

Flickety, flick, East Anglian Film archive, supporting LGBT events, Unseen Cinema.

Firstsite is becoming something of a Must See in Colchester over the summer months.

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