Silent Cinema at Millman Street Resource Centre

Every Friday from 1pm – 2.30pm, Millman Street Resouce Centre now hosts a ‘Silent Cinema’ workshop, in collaboration with Clod Ensemble.

Hosted by Iza, and assisted by Rose, the workshop consists of members being shown clips of old silent movies (Charlie Chaplin et al), and they are encouraged to improvise their own soundtracks using hand-clapping, foot-stomping and, for example, blowing down the inside of a large cardboard tube.  The latest workshop featured sounds from the jungle, donkeys and farmyard noises – “chickens in the jungle”, as Fred told this reporter.

He went on to recite a list of various sounds that members and the Clod Ensemble girls produced, including “whistling and birdsong.  It sounded like a farmyard at dawn.”


Charlie Chaplin

“The lady went around with a microphone to everybody, to pick up the different sounds they were making.  It was a good laugh,” he added.  “And they’re going to try something new next time.”

Snippets of music and songs are also used in the workshop.  Fred’s sister Olive knew quite a few of the songs and “sang along with bits and pieces” as the mood took her.  “It gives you a different balance of life,” said Fred.  “It was a very good afternoon,” he added.  “I’m looking forward to the next one!”

Mulegetta said, “I enjoyed it.  Not bad,” he added with characteristic understatement.  Although not a big Charlie Chaplin fan, Helena nevertheless joined in with the sound-making.  She particularly recalls making “Whooshing” sounds, the idea being to add the impression of howling wind to the soundtrack.  The aforementioned animal noises were also performed by members over the clips.

Ivy also enjoyed the experience, and said, “I thought it was good; we had a good laugh!”

The fun element of the workshop is augmented by a good-for-the-brain workout, mixing the familiarity of classic silent movies with the creativity inspired by the members themselves, via their participation in the sound-making process.

Holborn Community Association would like to thank Iza and Rose of Clod Ensemble for providing the Silent Cinema workshops at Millman Street Resource Centre.

Contact Clod Ensemble via:

Report by Notes Smudger

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