Daily Archives: August 1, 2015

Ten Letters

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Amazing Poetry Theatre created by the minds of Spoz (Giovanni Esposito) and Lorna Meehan. Fascinating, a should NOT be missed show. Which so far has been performed twice at the MAC and hopefully will continue to develop and grow.

The Concept

Ten Letters is a new piece of intergenerational poetry theatre about Birmingham starring the best in local poetry talent. Produced by Giovanni Spoz Esposito and Lorna Meehan and incorporating multi media and live music, Ten Letters celebrates, procrastinates and immortalises this city we live in through a group of unique voices aged sixteen to sixty.

10 letters1

A cross generational show from 16 to 60 bringing together poets who all know Birmingham in their lives. Poems about the great and grime of the place, of memories and hopes.

Incredibly powerful and moving – I did not expect to be reduced to tears or goose-bumps, but with every voice I felt connection, my own memories resurfaced of trips to the Science Museum, the life-size dinosaur, suburban streets, black and white photos taken by grandparents in front gardens. It was all there buried away inside.

Particular highlights was watching the audience reaction to Maggie Doyle’s letter to Birmingham, the generational memories and Mexican wave recognition going on amongst the middle seats of the auditorium.

Lorna Meehan who wants to stab at your emotion buttons with her letter recalling divorce and the role of the city in her dual living experience, cut deep with parallels and reduced me to teary eyes – thank goodness I was sitting amongst poets.

The passion of Spoz’s letter that was uncensored and raw.

 

On the Night

This is what I wrote when I got home;

Ten Letters… Has to be summed up in 17 letters…

Absolutely awesome!

A Birmingham for everyone! Great show/ media content and live music. Performances that have emotional bite, I ran the whole gauntlet – tears of parallel hurts, tears from laughter, goosebumps! Everything and some unexpected memories came flooding back. Birmingham you are amazing in the skins you have given our lives! Amazing – as were Spoz & Lorna in conceiving this project. Take it to the nation, Birmingham – because you’re bloody brilliant!

There were stunning performances from the entire cast and the whole show was an amazing feat for Birmingham, a love letter, letters of thanks, hidden praise until twisted recollections – a triumph for poetry theatre and the city.

I am SO GLAD I didn’t miss it.

There are plans to move further with it, it was a crowd funded project and incredibly well produced.

Photography by Nigal Goodship © 2015

Kraze Kasey Bailey Nigal Goodship

Maggie Doyle Nigal Goodship

Joe Cook Nigal Goodship

aliyah denton aliyah holder

lorna

jasmine

unhindered reign sipho eric dube luci hammans

spoz

carl

emma purshouse

callum and melissa bate prime poetry

Top to bottom Performers: Casey Bailey, Maggie Doyle, Joe Cook, Aliyah Denton & Aliyah Holder (A Squared), Lorna Meehan, Jasmine Gardosi, Luci Hammans & Sipho Eric Dube (Unhindered Reign), Spoz, Carl Sealeaf, Emma Purshouse, Callum & Melissa Bate (Prime Poetry)

Quiet Compere Tour 2015 – STOP 6 – Worcester

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The Quiet Compere Tour was a great success for Sarah Dixon in 2014 and what started as a tour of poets in the North of England spread as far as the Midlands. Following her success Sarah applied for a 2nd Arts Council Grant to continue the tour across the UK this year. We were booked prior to funding and kept our fingers crossed. It is my longest awaited gig and due to funding, poets were paid – something that doesn’t happen often enough and is always a pleasure!

I was incredibly excited and worked on what would be part of my set for some time. This tour stop was one in which I knew all my fellow performers and we knew a lot of each other’s work, so it felt a little different to my first exposure to the QC back in 2014, watching the 10 magnificent performers at the MAC.

QC

It was incredibly exciting to be part of the tour and I was delighted when fellow poets mentioned statistics from my interview with Sarah in introductions to their sets.

Ten minutes flies by when you are part of a collective set, most of my headline slots have been 15+ minutes and the pressure of those feels a lot longer than the extra 5 minutes.

My first spark of excitement came when I saw our names in The Hive programme.

QC HIVE

Before I knew it the day arrived – I knew it was a mistake to take work on the day, but needs must – so I spent the whole day run ragged by 4 year olds and arrived home in time to get ready and grab some food and GO! No time to feel the pressure, after my Poet Laureate experience, I decided this was for best.

Sarah is exceptionally professional, kind and always seems magnificently calm! On the day she had to deal with a change if line-up, sadly missed was Hayley Frances, I was particularly looking forward to her set because although I saw her a lot 2013/14 I have only seen her perform at the Poet Laureate final, Birmingham Literature Festival 2013. Clive Dee bravely stepped up to the mark… well once you have performed on the same night as John Hegley!

foyer

I arrived to find that the ‘Green Room’ was the Oasis Room, which was great as this is the new venue for Writing West Midlands, ground floor and very yellow! They are never green. Sarah Dixon and Steve Wilson (Arts Officer) who I met properly for the first time at the Worcestershire Poet Laureate finals in June greeted me and after some time in the Green Room, I wandered off to find the other poets were all having coffee and cake in the café of course, others were playing in the library, there are some great kids spaces in the walls, small nooks to read books, appreciated by the poets small enough to make use of the spaces.

ad Photographs – Sarah Dixon  © 2015

merch I bought a QC t-shirt, a forever memory from the merch table and before long it was time to get the show on the road.

sarah

Sarah Dixon, introducing and performing her own poetry too, including some great words about Frank and from Frank (her young son).

Catherine Crosswell

Always a pleasure to listen to, and since her return to theatre last year, someone who I don’t get to see perform as often as I would like, she performed at Ledbury Poetry Festival this year too. A perfect start to the evening!

Catherine Crosswell

www.catherinecrosswell.co.uk

Mike Alma

Mike has written about the war and shared his war poems since 2013, he and I talked of books in my early days and I am delighted he chose to self publish his collection ‘Fragments of a Great War’.

seats

He performed a set of some of his best poems, about butterflies, twin brothers and war. He performed Letters to a Soldier at the Front with the help of Moira and using two voices made it a powerful reading.

Mike Alma

Then it was my turn.

Nina Lewis

I performed some of my favourite poems and am here with my eyes closed because the lines;

‘ I watched your face as you played,

eyes closed,

breathing through that silver saxophone …’

always make me want to shut my eyes.

nina lewis

Jasmine Gardosi

Highly energetic – always whether hosting or performing, I love watching her perform. She treated us to a dark and thought provoking set. I especially liked her Night Club poem.  https://www.facebook.com/JasmineGardosiPoet and @jasminegardosi on twitter

Jasmine Gardosi

Neil Laurenson

Neil Laurenson Neil writes witty, short, satirical poetry. I first met him in 2014 at Speakeasy and he was at Wenlock Poetry Festival as part of a Silhouette Press event.

http://herecomeseveryone.me/hce-meets-neil-laurenson-wenlock-2014-poet/

Adrian Mealing  Adrian Mealing

Another strong force in the world of music and poetry, someone else who I don’t see nearly enough of. He shared as we hung on every word. A man who is a master of humour, wordplay and talking about allotment produce, whenever encouraged.
The Very Grimm Brothers https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Grimm-Brothers/193869703992330

Myfanwy Fox

Another performer I don’t see enough of, her subtle humour is delightful and her set was quietly spoken and well received. It is amazing what we learn about each from our poetry…

Myfanwy Fox like Myfanwy comes from a long line of ‘Windmills’. https://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com

Claire Walker

My dear poetry friend who has her first collection/pamphlet coming out this Autumn.

Claire Walker She read beautifully as always, understated – despite her poetry being constantly worth underlining. Her poetry is beautiful, gently strong and filled with love.

Claire’s pamphlet The girl who grew into a crocodile is available in Autumn 2015 here; http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/our-poets.html  

www.clairewalkerpoetry.com

Carl Sealeaf

Another favourite of mine, I met him back in early 2014 and had not seen him for ages until I went to Jasmine Gardosi’s OPUS CLUB night and we were reunited. He is an amazing bloke and a great ambassador for Poetry.

He shared some incredibly strong poetry, words we needed to here. Crisis and our part to play.

Carl Sealeaf

Clive Dee

clive dee

Poignant poetry – I used to love his Haikus but nowadays without the brevity of word count he can pack the same punch!

It was a fabulous night and we all left on a real high. Thanks Sarah for asking me to be involved.

RELATED LINKS

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/interview-the-quiet-compere-sarah-dixon/

https://thequietcomperemcr.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/a-shrinking-of-shrugs-mermaids-and-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-worcester-blog/

Keep track of Quiet Compere Tour here

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Quiet-Compere/523455994408580

https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/the-quiet-compere

or on twitter @quietcomperemcr

The Quiet Compere Tour is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.