Why creativity matters Spaces for creativity The Louis Armstrong: Dover The Louis Armstrong is a well-established public house in Dover. It has been a music venue since most of its clientele can remember and a firm fixture on the Southeast music scene. It’s a very traditional pub that used to sit next to a large sorting office and was busy with postmen most lunchtimes. But times have changed, the sorting office closed and was demolished to make way for new flats. A few minutes’ walk from Dover town centre, the pub itself is on several bus routes and near to residential areas. The venue has a great garden, an elevated stage and a piano. There is always tea, coffee and hot chocolate available for the groups that meet earlier in the day, and the pub plays host to many creative groups that meet there. The pub hosts live music most weekends, from rock ‘n’ roll to Jazz and has been branching out to engage other creative activities and customers. Landlady, Jane Bowles explains: “I grew up in this pub. My parents took it on in 1962 and I was born in 1963 so it’s been a big part of my life. I went away to college and came back after that. My mum died three years ago, and then I took it over; which was less than a year before lockdown. "Covid changed everything, we don’t get the numbers like we used to, so we are always looking at ways to bring people in. Most of our customers are over 50 and some of them haven’t returned after the pandemic as they seem to be more worried about Covid than the under 30s. We still have hand sanitiser and disinfect the tables once people have gone. “Before Covid-19, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all music nights. It’s quieter now but we still do music one or two nights at the weekend. The music nights are great because they showcase many local talented musicians, as well as encouraging young talent to take up performing. "The pub has also hosted visiting bands from around England and occasionally from abroad. As for the audience, there is nothing quite like the experience of a live performance in the company of like-minded people. “My sister runs a comedy night. She does stand-up in London and organises stand-up comedy nights here every couple of weeks called Laughs at The Louis.” The Louis Armstrong also hosts a well-attended quiz night and every Wednesday they do a home cooked hot dinner for £7.50, which is a great chance for people to meet each other. Dover Tales, a creative group that ‘restores the proud heritage of the port of Dover through performance inspired by the lives of ordinary people living in the area’, meet up on a Monday night in the pub. “It’s a good evening for us as Monday is often a quiet night. The Dover Tales group read poetry, stories and sometimes play the accordion. They welcome anyone that would like to join,” says Jane. “Blackfish Academy for the Performing Arts and DBL Stitching Group, amongst others, have held their meetings here and we are always open to welcoming other groups to meet, particularly during our quieter times. We love getting the groups and meetings in as it is supporting the local community as well as providing us with welcome trade.