The Leicester Square 4 Update.

International Times Vol 4 issue 11. 1978.


FOUR more street performers - two from Rough Theatre and two from Demolition Decorators were busted as they performed to an audience of several hundreds on the paved precinct of Leicester Square at the end of last month. They were part of an ad hoc buskers cabaret protesting about the arrest of two fellow-performers (members of Ashes) who were lifted on previous occasions. Three police squad cars and two black marias answered the call for help from two Bill-on-the-beat who had met with unanimous opposition when they tried to arrest the buskers' MC and halt the entertainment. The other three were arrested in the fracas that followed (surprisingly well filmed by BBC2 News). About 150 people went to Bow Street nick where there was dancing, juggling, singing and storytelling in the street, all interspersed with constant chants demanding the release of the performers.

They were freed on bail charged with obstruction (three of the highway, one of an officer) and the fun continued until midnight when the police finally broke it up with no further arrests. The four appear at Bow Street al 2.00 p.m. of 5 September.

The previous week, when the Ashes' performers appeared at Bow Street, police were faced with a demonstration of street entertainers outside including clowns, musicians and unicyclists and capped by a member of the Demolition Decorators surreally lying in a bath of rotting fruit who, when questioned, said, "I'm just the ordinary man in the bath."

He was whisked away by friends before the police could discover a suitable offence.

Inside the court the Ashes case was remanded a further six weeks until 21 September due to lack of time.

Ashes, also charged with obstructing the free passage of the highway (the Leicester Square pedestrian precinct) were performing a story play for children when arrested and, like Rough Theatre and Demolition Decorators, would welcome your support at Bow Street and at the various guerrilla support gigs. Buskers are especially welcome. (Call BIT - 01-229 8219 any hour of the twenty-four for details.)

On 25 August Twelve Clowns, mobilised by Demolition Decorators were arrested in Leicester Square while walking along singing "We all live in a Free Society" to the tune of "Yellow Submarine". They continued to sing as they were obstructed by Agents of the Crown who hustled them away to the vans which had been lying in wait for some time. The police had been informed beforehand by the entertainers that there would be a performance and there was a verbal understanding that there would be no trouble (i.e., arrests) which just goes to show how few people you can trust nowadays. There are now a total of 18 entertainers being prosecuted. All are pleading not guilty. Donations for the Defence Fund welcome.

Demolition Decorators plan more guerilla theatre in the near future in their Campaign for Fun.

Auditions for the next productions are going on now. All welcome, anyone can be a member of this cast. They are based at 13-14 James Street, opposite Covent Garden Tube Station, London WC2. There is a very good stage in the basement with frequent performances, especially on Fridays.