From Berkhamsted To Dacorum Live

Living Magazines Leslie Tate reading at a Milton Keynes Foodbank Event, photo by Ashra Burnham

How does an event featuring local people from the arts, charities and small businesses turn into a live radio show? And who are the community-minded people who made it happen?

The story begins in Berkhamsted seven years ago when local author and poet, Leslie Tate (pictured), started ‘Berkhamsted Live‘. Right from the start, the show combined the arts with community activities in one surprising event, while supporting a local charity – Pepper Children’s Hospice at Home. Originally at Dar Papillon, Berkhamsted Live moved to the Greene Room upstairs at the Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, where local musicians, artists, craftspeople, shop and café owners, gardeners, comedians, photographers and film-makers have been showcased – and there have been a couple of Berkhamsted Lit evenings with local writers too.

A typical show begins with music followed by an artist or actor who leads the audience in something interactive, continuing with an interview or a film, ending with more live music. Variety is the name of the game. Supported by wife Sue Hampton, Leslie Tate has been an enthusiastic MC for every event, including the premiere of Theatre on Wax’s now award-winning short film of his memoir Heaven’s Rage.

When Matt Hatton from Community Action Dacorum came to a show he was so impressed by what he saw that he invited Leslie to translate the format into local internet radio. Matt runs Radio Dacorum where Leslie now interviews guests on ‘Dacorum Live’ every Wednesday from 7-9pm. On two occasions Berkhamsted Live has been broadcast live on Radio Dacorum from the Greene Room in the Kings Arms. It’s worth seeing how that’s done – involving mics and computers simulating the radio station, and a fifteen-second delay between the sound picked up in the room and its broadcast across the internet by Radio Dacorum!

The next Kings Arms show on 18 March features original music by Vaughan Rance, some wonderful puppets by Mark Crane and a deep, comic and revealing discussion with joint authors Cy Henty, Sue Hampton and Leslie Tate. The show that follows on 17 June showcases alternative magician Paul Regan, ceramic artist Sarah Core and bluegrass band Bathtub Ginn.

The Greene Room in the Kings Arms is a beautiful venue and there’s something intimate and very relaxed about each show, and audience members have used words like ‘fascinating’, ‘completely different from anything you’d find anywhere else’ and ‘inspiring’.