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Rose made for Martha
Ahead of her appearance at the Rose, Martha Tilston explains to Jon Sharman why the venue is so special to her.
Folk singer Martha Tilston has described her musical beginnings singing at a Kingston pub as she prepares to come back for a gig at the Rose Theatre.
She is now used to a different style of venue having played Glastonbury and garnered a best new act nomination in the BBC Radio Folk Awards.
Tilston is excited to return to Kingston, where her singing career began at open-mic nights. She will perform with musicians Beth Perry and Matt Kelly, plus long-time collaborators Nick Marshall and Matt Tweed.
She says: “It’s the first time we’ve played together in Kingston for 10 years. The Rose is special to me for lots of reasons really – I know people who helped set it up. It's nice to come as a person playing there, having been a child wishing there was a theatre there.
“I like the Rose because even though it's quite big it has a bit of a vibe to it. You can bring cushions so you get this relaxed vibe. Lots of really good stuff happens there.
“I was brought up around Surbiton. I lived for a few years in Kingston – that's where I first started singing, at the Grey Horse.”
Tilston says her songs ask questions about how society has come to depend on systems like banking and computer networks and were inspired by a TV documentary.
She adds: “I kept it quiet for a while because maybe they’re a bit political, but actually it’s a time of questioning and I feel like the songs aren’t left or right. Maybe it’s just having kids made me question that sort of stuff.”
l Martha Tilston; the Rose Theatre, High Street; Kingston; January 19; 7.30pm; £12-£16; for more information call 08444 821556 or visit rosetheatrekingston.org