Home | SchNEWS Annual 1998 | Anarchist Teapot | Thespionage

Justice? Brighton's Campaign in Defiance of the Criminal Injustice Act

Anarchist Teapot

The Anarchist Teapot began a year ago in a radical little squat in Baker Street, Brighton - the idea being that the act of making tea free for loadsa people will do something to break down social relations imposed by the capitalist system as we hope squatting buildings will do too; plus providing people with a good cuppa and a place to chill.

Since then, moving from building to building (6 to date), a reading room/infoshop has been added and has expanded, events have been hosted and, best of all, more people have got involved. In the last year, the A-Teapot has experienced hauling all our possessions around in shopping trolleys, police harassment, pisshead and nutter harassment, plumbing problems (with vatfuls of shit), film showings, genuine members of the public none of us actually know wandering in spontaneously, to many dogs, not enough money, paranoia, feeding a direct action conference, sudden media attention we don't give a toss about, squatting an ex-mortuary, hordes of foreign language students, staging an Anarchist Week with an Anarchist local history tour, Christmas dinner in July, a Critical Mass and a food fight on the beach, as well as a few breaks due to exhaustion and lack of numbers. Oh, and the death of Princess Diana-!!!

Thinking back one of our consistent failings - and that of many other squatted centres, has been in our efforts to draw in larger numbers of 'normal' working class people. We don't want the buildings just to hang out with our friends and listen to punk music. Squat chic can be very alienating. Maybe part of the solution would be trying to look as welcoming and unthreatening as possible.

On our 1st birthday, we are in a HUGE building ex-Council offices - right in the heart of Brighton, opposite the Pavilion. We currently have an excess of autonomous space that could be used by sorts of groups ... (except for drinking 'cos we've got a no alcohol policy.) We're open 12-6 Mon -Sat, and in the evenings for events, such as a recent talk on the Zapatistas or film showings. If you're in the Brighton area, pop in sometime for a cuppa, a good read, perhaps an interesting chat and/or to get involved! If you're not local, why not go and set up a Teapot Yourself!!??**


(even though you might want to do it completely different & much better)
1. Get together with a few people.
2. Look for an empty, suitable building (Like with a shopfront) Get in and secure it and it's yours! (for a while)
3. Tat some tables, chairs, pots, cups, plates, a tea urn or a kettle, a CalorGas cooker etc; set up & make it look nice.
4. Advertise your place and bang a big sign or banner out at the front.
5. Make the rest up as you go along; Hey we did!

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"After an initial period of depression, the anarchist was cheering up" - Dario Fo



THESPIONAGE was born out of the play TATTING DOWN. Written by Paul Light and directed by Celine Griscom, it features a group of Brighton squatters under the constant threat of eviction and the CJA. It tries to humanise them by showing how squatters deal with every-day life in such extreme circumstances.

Staged in November '96 at Brighton's Nightingale Theatre, it was DIY Theatre from the start. The set used skipped materials and parts from tatted squats (including a window from Claremont Rd, M11.) Rehearsals took place either in borrowed co-op space or in squats. The cast were a mixture of full time actors, activists and new arrivals to Brighton. Everything needed was either blagged or borrowed.

Tatting Down' ran for four nights, selling out on each occasion. Brighton Theatre Events (a production outfit that put on their own excellent plays) saw it and transferred it to the Pavilion Theatre for their 'Mayhem' season the following May. With a revamped set, it once again did very well. This success led to the foundation of the collective.

Thespionage emerged from the need to bring hard information into popular entertainment and highlight issues that the mainstream media tend to ignore or distort. With regular meetings and members' subs we had enough money to fund another production, the idea being that each play pays for the next. We aim to provide a fully functioning vehicle for activist propaganda through entertaining plays.


The next play by THESPIONAGE is GRIEF ENCOUNTER, a tale of mistrust, benefit fraud and beer. Like Tatting Down, it revolves around a group of characters in extreme situations. It's a darker story than Tatting Down but still has the same spirit and another wicked copyright-waived soundtrack, with music from Citizen Fish, Violent Femmes, and the Specials amongst others.



SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

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