Tag Archives: Maggie Doyle

Ash Dickinson Workshop & Licensed to Rhyme

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The perfect way to start any week is a Poetry Workshop and when that workshop is with Ash Dickinson, you know you have backed a winner!

I first met Ash back in April 2014 (I had to look that up), we were talking on Monday night about a particular gig in the Autumn of that year and I knew that was the 2nd time I caught his act but couldn’t remember when I actually first discovered his work. I have been a fan ever since of his surreal and sincere voice.

Having missed the opportunity to do a workshop in Burton last year I was delighted to discover that he was doing one before/for Licensed to Rhyme and because I had been at work all day, it was literally just down the road in the next village!

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So my poetry week started on a high! It was a fantastic workshop, a great group of poets (all of whom I knew) and what’s more – all of us managed to write poems, including Ash!

We worked from many lists of prompts (which leaves us with plenty to get stuck into post-workshop). Ash used various forms, including one new to all of us. I wrote my 2nd, 3rd and 4th ever Clerihew! I still feel wary of the poetry produced  but the genre falls into nonsensical as a technique so those question marks or perhaps exclamation marks appearing from my ears are allowed.

It was great to hear everyone’s responses to the prompts and some were even brave enough to share their raw work (including Ash) in their L2R sets later in the evening.

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Licensed to Rhyme, is always a great night, the brainchild of Maggie Doyle & Spoz. I haven’t been available to get to one for a while so I was looking forward to spending a sunny evening in Cafe Morso enjoying words.

Charley Barnes had the Guest Spot, Brenda Read-Brown tested new material, the workshop poets all had open mics and Ash Headlined.

ash

It was a fabulous evening of laughter and poetry and set me up for the week. If people could just pop round to my lounge every Monday and recreate this I could start every Tuesday on a high! (A new idea awakens.)

Thanks Ash, for poems that definitely wouldn’t now be existence if it wasn’t for your workshop.

Discover his world for yourself here.

https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/slinky-espadrilles-by-ash-dickinson

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https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/strange-keys

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RELATED LINKS:

http://ashdickinson.com/

https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/guest-blog-ash-dickinson-from-slinky-to-strange/

Poetry Events – September Spoken Word @ The Ort, Mouth & Music & SpeakEasy

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As I am so far behind with the blog, with over 3 weeks worth of activities to post about I have decided to bulk post about poetry events this month.

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous – Birmingham 4th

I was delighted to make it back to this event as the last few have clashed with other things. There was a pop up return of Naked Lungs in the city the same evening over in Digbeth and my original plan was to try to get to both. The days of dual gigs are behind me I think, especially at the end of a busy week. I was still recovering from John Hegley and my night in Shropshire.

It was a great evening packed with fabulous performances and new audience and open mic-ers too! Thoroughly enjoyed sharing poetry.

 

Mouth & Music – Heart, with Heather Wastie – Kidderminster 8th

Headlining this month were MM sepSarah James & Angela Topping, reading from their pamphlet Hearth and Elena Thomas with Dan Whitehouse.

MM elena dan

It was a lovely evening of words and music, some great open mic-ers, I especially enjoyed Jan performing with her husband, they were the opening act and got the night off to a great start. mm jan

I usually find that writing to theme takes place a few days before the event, this month though because of the KAF special – Slightly Circus M & M event there were only a few weeks between the events. This was fine as with a theme like ‘Heart’ I was able to find an abundant amount of poems I had already written. The tough part was choosing which made the cut for my set.

I am glad that Sarah and Angela were mindful that a small percentage of the audience had seen them in Worcester and they chose different poems to read. It was a smashing performance.

MM Angela and Sarah

Here’s what Heather Wastie had to say about the event;

September’s Mouth and Music was as pleasing to organise is it always is. Towards the end of the evening, Dave Sutherland sang a song he had composed using lyrics I wrote after hearing Elena Thomas (one of our features) sing her own songs at the launch of her art exhibition. Sorry for the slightly convoluted sentence but “Carrying the evening home”, the title of the song, refers to what we take away in our heads, and bodies, after an event. Last night, not only did I take away Elena’s beautiful songs and Dan Whitehouse’s gently intricate guitar accompaniment; I also took away the fact that someone from the pub, who I suspect wouldn’t normally go to an event like ours, came in and listened to Elena because she found it provocative that Elena was singing about “the life of a middle-aged woman”. I love Sarah James and Angela Topping’s pamphlet of poetry duets, Hearth, and their reading stirred my own memories of home and family.

The main thing I took away was a feeling of connectedness. I was delighted to see a harmonium on the stage when Jan, a regular and popular performer, was joined by her husband to enhance her poems with musical backing. I enjoyed being teased by Mike Alma’s poem in response to mine about the gherkin which I wrote after seeing one on Angela Topping’s plate! In complete contrast, Mouth and Music’s own Sarah Tamar made a powerful connection with the plight of refugees and Tim Cranmore covered both ends of the … er … spectrum with 2 poems which were uncomfortable to hear, for different reasons: “Inappropriate physical contact” was very thought-provoking, and his final poem ….. ask someone who was there if you want to know.

So many connections were made last night, thanks to featured artists, open mic performers, audience and the lovely staff at the Boars Head. Elena commented on Facebook today, “It’s a special place, Mouth and Music”. I take that as a huge compliment and look forward to seeing some of you on 13th October for some new connections!

Heather Wastie

MM PeteMM Sarah Tamar

Next month Birmingham Poet Leon Priestnall takes centre stage, this month he headlined Hit The Ode and stormed it!

mmoct The month after Swingerella takes the Headline spot.

Photographs Peter Williams © 2015

 

Speakeasy, with Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – Worcester 10th

I have not been able to go to SpeakEasy since the Lit Fest and I was delighted to be back and to be able to take a 6 minute slot too. It was great performing poetry back in the glorious comfort of the Rectifying House. Despite not winning the raffle, I appreciated the new lamp, allowing more light to the page and it was great seeing it busy and catching up with poets I hadn’t seen for ages.

Ruth Stacey was headlining, reading from her latest book, ‘Queen, Jewel, Mistress’. I love the passion she has for this historical collection and that love came across in her set, full of enthusiasm and feeling. A very strong performance indeed. queen book

speakeasy sepIt was a superb evening of poetry and pleasure. FUN!

RELATED LINKS:

http://worcesterspeakeasy.weebly.com/thursday-10th-september.html

 

 

 

 

I Never Expected Floor Covering – The World of Carpet NPD

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Some time ago (in secret) I was asked to take part in a performance for National Poetry Day. This year’s Poet Laureate for Worcestershire is Heather Wastie and as runner up poets, she invited both myself and Suz Winspear to take part. WLF say that there are opportunities even if you don’t win and I think this is ours. I was delighted to accept.

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Heather was the Poet in Residence at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (traditional trade in the town), an industry, like many that has left empty mills and legacy across the 21st century streets. Heather was also one of the three guest writers for last year’s INKSPILL (our very own online writing retreat).

Light and Shade is taking place in the carpet museum in conjunction with Worcester LITFEST.

light shade NPD

There was a poetry competition (closed 6th September), the 3 winners have been chosen and voting is open for a 4th poet. You can vote for free on a one click POLL here.

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/litfest-npd-competition-update-and-poll/

VOTING closes on the 1st October.

WLF Heather WPL

Saturday August 15th

In preparation for entering this competition there was a special open day at the Carpet Museum, which is an amazing place and so much more than I expected was discovered. It was a relaxing few hours walking around to the gentle hum of poet’s pens scribbling away.

I had a whole notebook of ideas.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Tuesday August 25th

A few weeks later Heather, Suz and I met to explore ideas for the writing and the performance space. I was able to use some of the audio resources to gather story. Heather also shared conversations she had had with weavers as part of her residency, these helped a lot with finding character.

Suz and I went away and wrote our poems.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Monday September 21st

We all met again to rehearse the project, it was great fun and I think it is a unique project to be part of. The event is free, the performance space has limited capacity so you will still need to book tickets.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

I love being busy on NPD (National Poetry Day) and I look forward to being involved in the world of carpet for this one.

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)

Book Launch – The Magnetic Diaries – By Sarah James

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I was delighted in February when Sarah James asked if I would read at the book launch of her 3rd collection, The Magnetic Diaries, published by KFS Knife Fork and Spoons Press.

I read alongside Maggie Doyle, Ruth Stacey, Jenny Hope, her daughter Lissy Hope and Fergus McGonigal (Worcester Poet Laureate), it was also a DAN (Arts Network) evening out. An enjoyable time was had by all at Park’s Café, Droitwich.

Park's cafe 3

It was interesting to see how a collective of poets interpreted the theme ‘timely poetry’ too.

I arrived after being in the city with WWM writers group and it was a great day in my poetry skin. I met most of the local poets at a Book Launch for ‘Be[yond]’ in September 2013 and have not looked back since, this launch felt like a full circle of some kind.

It was good to hear Sarah talk about the background of the book and read selected poems from the collection. I loved the way she chose to do this. Quotations written on  paper were selected by the audience (like a raffle) and then found in the book and read. It was a creative way and brave way to perform.

Here are some photographs of the evening.

Mag diary fergus Fergus McGonigal

mag diaries maggie Maggie Doyle

mag diaries jenny Jenny Hope

mag diary mag diary me Nina Lewis

and Sarah James

mag diary sarah

I realise this is not a very detailed review of the event, I have added related links – I urge you to check them out, local newspaper articles and Sarah’s own blog reveal more about the background of this new collection.

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Buy your copy of The Magnetic Diaries here:

http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/magneticdiaries.html

Magnetic diaries KFS

Sarah James – The Poet

Sarah James is extremely busy at the moment, she has a collaborative collection published with Angela Topping, ‘Hearth’ Published by Mother’s Milk Books. You can catch them at the Cheltenham Festival this weekend or SpeakEasy next month, 12th May where they are headlining.

‘Next on my event list now is not The Magnetic Diaries but the launch of Hearth, a collaborative pamphlet with Angela Topping, at Cheltenham Poetry Festival later this month.’ © Sarah James 2015

Sunday, April 26Hearth, the collaborative pamphlet between Sarah James and Angela Topping, will be launched at Cheltenham Poetry Festival in a Mother’s Milk Books reading and panel Q and A on collaboration on Sunday, April 26, from 11am-12pm in the Playhouse Theatre Lounge.

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Tickets are £6/4. Bookings through Cheltenham Town Hall in person, online at www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk or call 0844 576 2210 from mid-March.
Festival brochure (page 4) and Cheltenham Poetry Festival website.

RELATED LINKS;

http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/

Sarah’s review of the launch http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=5972

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/regional/12899918.Droitwich_author_brings_modern_day_Madame_Bovary_to_life/

 http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=5992

Book Launch – The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth By Fergus McGonigal

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fergus book launch © 2014 Gary Carr Fheather Fjohn Fmaggie Fneil Fclaire

ffergus

On Thursday night I went to Worcester to perform at Fergus’s book launch and to celebrate his success as a published poet. I was touched to be invited to perform at the Book Launch along with Neil Laurenson, Claire Walker, John Lawrence, Maggie Doyle and Heather Wastie. A great mix of poetry to entertain people for the first half and then the delight of Fergus sharing lots of poetry from this new collection.

I bought my copy of course, thank you Fergus for the lovely message, I shall cherish it along with the book and cannot wait to read it (your book is in a queue of ….. and will be read as soon as possible)! ffergus2

It was a cracking night and I am happy for Fergus. The venue was packed out with friends and family and people had travelled great distances to celebrate the next chapter of Fergus’s adventure.

Fergus McGonigal

Is the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate, co-curator and host of the Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe’s monthly spoken word event“SpeakEasy”, which runs on the second Thursday of every month at The Old Rectifying House, in the heart of Worcester City.
Last year, Fergus was chosen from 20 commissioned West Midlands poets to be one of 6 poets to represent the Arts Council’s Poetry on Loan “Postcard Poets” project. Their aim is to bring poetry to library-goers across the region: through performance poetry; poetry workshops; and events like “Poetry on Demand”, where you can commission a poet to write a poem for you on the spot.

From this autumn, Fergus will be working with Museums Worcester taking their First World War Remembrance Project to community centres, arts festivals and schools; and he will also be running several Remembrance Day events for MW. 

Fergus’s first collection, “The Failed Idealist’s Guide to the Tatty Truth”, will be published in November by Burning Eye Books.

“Fergus McGonigal: this young man is emerging, no I correct myself, taking over, as this season’s “must have poet”. He is everywhere! He has the voice and passion of a young Brian Blessed, a hangover that Oliver Reed would be proud to recognize, and a wry sense of humour which always makes him a hit with any audience.” 

http://www.fergusthepoet.com/index.html

Congratulations to Fergus & thanks for the invite!

 

Check it out and buy your copy here Fergus Tatty Truth

Spoken Word Events

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Last week I took part in two regular Spoken Word events I attend as often as I can, Mouth & Music and Worcester’s SpeakEasy.

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Tuesday 9th saw Ben Norris headlined Mouth & Music also headlining this month were Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar.

MMBenNorris

It was funny seeing Ben again – last Thursday I saw him perform at Cherry Reds as part of the Naked Lungs event, then again on Saturday in his one man show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family at the MAC and then just a few days after at the BHG. This happens often with artists who will be booked for events within the same month, however, Ben Norris may have had other reasons for this last blow out in and around Birmingham… he has since moved to Cardiff (tissues passed around the Midlands), he is gained by Wales. Off on his next exciting adventure.

I finally managed to buy Ben’s pamphlet book, I hope he gets more published in the future, it is a great little press which publishes 6 poems and has several BIG name performance poets on there list, such as: Elvis McGonagall (who I see next Wednesday at The Hive, organised by Worcester Lit Fest) and Martin Newall, who I performed with in Essex about 15 years ago!

MM Sept Ben

I usually write to theme, this month has been busy & I didn’t have time. Instead I found suitable age poems to perform. It was a great night with fantastic and touching performances some poetry about war, others about Dementia. Heather Wastie also bravely attempted group poems, three of them! They can be seen on the Mouth & Music Blog here.

It was a great night. We also had 2 poet laureates, Tom Wyre – Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate and Fergus McGonigal Worcester’s Poet Laureate. They both performed War Poetry.

Photographs © Peter Williams 2014

MMChrissy VelveteenChrissy Velveteen

MM me Nina Lewis

MM Hinge & Bracket Hinge & Bracket

 

On Thursday 11th I went to SpeakEasy in Worcester. Headlined this month by Peter Wyton.

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Peter Wyton is a ‘poet of page and performance’ who has published a number of books and who has appeared on BBC Radio. He is a widely published and prize-winning poet who has appeared at venues as diverse as Cheltenham Literature Festival, Glastonbury Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival.

It was a good night and I was delighted to be performing just before the headline act.

Brenda Read-Brown also treated us to a set, she won the WLF (Worcester LitFest) POETRY SLAM and collected her poetry trophy.

Performers included Kevin Brooke, who’s new book is being launched on the 26th September at The Hive, Charley Hammond, Maggie Doyle, John Lawrence and Mike Alma as well as open mic spots.

I always enjoy a night at SpeakEasy and this week was no exception – and next month they are celebrating the first year of the event, what a success it has been, delightful to have started when the re-launch of Worcester Lit Festival spoken word event, I even remember voting on what it should be called on the website.

 

SpeakEasy – 14th August – Homegrown Talent

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SpeakEasy this month was packed, much to the relief of Maggie Doyle who was hosting whilst Fergus McGonigal (current Worcester Poet Laureate) is away over the summer. It had never crossed my mind that Maggie would panic about attendance.

There were no open mic spots left, so I settled back to enjoy an evening of poetry. I went with Claire Walker who was performing, I love her work. There were many other talented poets as well as some first timers.

It is unusual for me not to take part, sometimes it is refreshing to just breathe and listen. The flipside is the adrenalin doesn’t kick in and you go straight to bed, when you get home.

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The headline act was Ben Parker, an Oxfordshire poet who comes from Worcester. Fantastic poetry and a refreshing set that was enjoyed by everybody.

Kidderminster Creatives Poetry Slam – UPDATED

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KC SLAM 3

Sunday night saw the May Bank Holiday Inaugural Poetry Slam hosted by Kidderminster Creatives at the Boars Head Gallery (BHG) – I was so pumped when I got home, this is why I want to be up to date with blog posts and write in real time! To be fair I was still excited when I woke up on Monday!

KC Poetry Slam 4th May

It was my 1st ever slam, Fergus asked me to take part. I am not real a slam poet, my material is not that click, beat variety…. After this experience I am tempted to follow the winners lead and write just 1 slam poem! The lovely thing about this slam was that everybody got a prize. 13 poets took part.

Those bowing out (like me) in the 1st round took a 2nd hand poetry book, the 2nd round, shiny new books & the winner a gold jelly man trophy, a book & £50! 3 poets in a round – apart from mine that had 4… There were 3 poet laureates and several slam champions for us Slam virgins to pitch against.

It was great fun & entertaining. I was happy with my 2nd hand copy of Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters and having the freedom to drink and be entertained as 5 (highest scoring runner up + winning poet from each group) became 2, Math Jones and Maggie Doyle went through… to entertain us with a brilliant final.

KC SLAM

It was a superb, hyper night!

 

Maggie Doyle WON!

KC SLAM 2 Congratulations Maggie, who can now be seeing taking Oscar to many events to be photographed! She was up against tough contestants and many who had won slams before. And has written a tongue in cheek beat poem since last weekend, influenced by some of the more ‘beat’ participants!

http://kidderminster-creatives.org.uk/

 

Grayson Perry, Lunch with Poets and Poetry For Lunch

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Poetry For Lunch is a great lunchtime event hosted by Jan Watts (former Birmingham Laureate) last week the Worcester Stanza Group took over for the whole session, thanks to Claire Walker for organising this event, which is usually 30 minutes but was 45 minutes for us.

© Twitter 2014

© Twitter 2014

We made a whole morning of it. The Grayson Perry tapestries are on show at the Museum & Art Gallery until the 11th May.

Grayson Perry Wikipedia

© Wikipedia 2014

 

We hit the gallery first, it was amazing, if you get a chance to see it, do. Hard hitting but also aspects we would all recognise from our lives – across a broad range of ages. I am in awe of the work that went into these tapestries. I also (being a writer) loved the use of text in them. The story they told. Photography is not allowed so we went to buy postcards from the gift shop. The colours were not as vivid as the real thing, and buying the whole collection was nearly £7 so after a little deliberation, I bought the catalogue for £14.99 – a treat!

© Artsthread 2014

© Artsthread 2014

It is really good, documents all the lead up to the work, I will be using it to write new material.

© Artfund 2014

© Artfund 2014

We had lunch at the gallery and then went onto the library to perform in the amphitheatre. It was great performing alongside fellow Stanza members and well worth taking a day off work. A pity it rained – but we carried on!

Towards the end of the session we met a wonderful young performance poet Damani TruStar Dennisur, who was Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate the same year as Jan Watts. (2012), he had the final slot – and boy, am I glad we didn’t have to follow him! Blew me out of the water. WOW! A name to look out for. He looks like he’s dancing towards Jan in these photos.

Bernard Davis photographs many of the events in Birmingham and kindly came and took fabulous shots of the Stanza group – which does include men and a few more members – obviously not everyone is free to perform in the middle of the day!

STANZA: – Kathy Gee, Ruth Stacey, Claire Walker, Maggie Doyle, Myfanwy Fox, Nina Lewis & Amanda Bonnick with Damani TruStar Dennisur & Jan Watts.

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