Tag Archives: Performance

January in Review

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typewriter-1227357_1280 2017 started well with lots of diary dates, events and writing time. Of course it was also back to work after a fortnight (unpaid) break. Much needed. I made it back to Ludlow to support Claire Walker who was one of the Headline poets alongside Matt Black. A little like not realising two years had passed since I last watched Ash Dickinson perform, I cannot believe a year has passed since I last went to the Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room! This time warp has to do with working for 18 months on Fragile Houses I think. Months slip by fast and the first thing that has to go when you shackle yourself to the desk to write is faraway events.

Week 1:

Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room with Jean Atkin in Ludlow, it was lovely to see everybody again and I hope to make it back before 2018. Matt Black (who I first years ago at a special event we both performed at The Ort in Birmingham  (2014), more recently we shared the floor in Birmingham at Stirchley Speaks (my Headline, back in October). headline-stirchley-speaks-oct

He was entertaining and as we had all had a conversation about vegetarianism on the journey over, apt poems in his set made us giggle.

Claire Walker was amazing, I do not think I will ever tire of hearing her perform from The Girl Who Grew into a Crocodile. She also treated us to some new poems from her next pamphlet collection.sitting room

I completed a lot of research for current writing projects and groups. I also completed a collaborative project set up in December and worked hard on submitting poetry. I had fun writing about Leonard Cohen and am keeping my fingers crossed that the editors will enjoy the results.

I missed Buzzwords in Cheltenham.

Week 2:

In December I submitted to 7 places and the rejections rolled in from 3 of them this week. We all learn to handle this but one publication in particular was dealing with a subject close to my heart and it made me a little glum that they hadn’t taken my work. They did send feedback including details of the process that the poem they nearly took went through. I will not be perturbed. Another rejection cited that the pieces weren’t best fit this time but encouraged resubmission.

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Back in 2015 I had three poems accepted for an anthology by Shabda Press on Nuclear Impact. We all signed contracts in 2016 and it has been a real labour of love for Teresa Mei Chuc who has now got the project to final proof stages. All proof read and returned and I cannot wait to see the result. The readings are all taking place in the States but I am currently looking at the logistics of video performance.

The cover has been revealed featuring the Artwork of John Sokol. Cover Art: “On the Road to Perilous” nuclear-impact-front-cover-final-cover-art-on-the-road-to-perilous-by-john-sokol I could write more poems just from a glance. This book will hopefully be in our hands later this year.

I went to SpeakEasy – where Brenda Read-Brown was headlining and what a set she treated us to. New work, powerful work, emotive (I nearly cried twice), honest and filled with passion. I was really glad that I was able to make it and witness such a performance.

I shared some new poems and gave Fragile Houses a rest, most of Worcester have bought it already and as I headlined last month and read most of it and as the last poem in there was written in 2015, I fancied sharing something newer.

I went to Stanza although I was so tired I was not much use to others and the poem I had written half an hour before leaving didn’t quite work. I do not see the point of taking perfectly polished work to groups – unless perhaps it’s a poem that has been unsuccessfully submitted a few times, in which case new eyes are good. However, I need to give my writing a chance to sit and simmer for a bit so perhaps I should try this year to get a poem ready the week before. Give it some breathing space. It is hard when you feel so attached to something, too vulnerable.

WWM

Sadly at the weekend I said goodbye to Sally Grainger who has been my Assistant Writer for WWM Spark Writers group for the past 9 months. We had a full house for her final session and ran a great group on Scriptwriting. It was fun. I am sad to see her go.

I received exciting news about a new Literature Festival which I am currently organising a showcase/event for.

Week 3:

I spent my time mainly at work, in spare hours I was organising the festival event, missing deadlines, proof reading and writing comic poetry.

Last year I was invited to take part in a one off (now to be repeated as it was so successful) Baldy Poems presents Kings and Queens of Comedy in association with WLF (Worcester LitFest). I love the idea that WLF are fundraising via event charge at one off events throughout the year to help fund/pay for the summer festival. It is a great idea and I have loved the events that have popped up so far.

I was honoured to be one of the 6 performers (we had 8 on the night with Kieran Davis and a Special Surprise Guest joining us). I have only written about 5 funny poems and the two I had ready for this event have not seen the light of day since 2015, so I decided to emulate BaldyPoems style and kick out 6 new ones. That and I needed the material to cover a 10 minute set. More on this later.

I missed David Calcutt at Smokey Joes in Cheltenham – Poetry Refreshed and sadly I missed Clive Osman’s Waterstones book launch for his debut collection ‘Happy’. Both nights looked to be good. I had taken on extra work and with a gig Thursday night and Friday needed to sleep.

After almost 2 weeks of working full-time, I finally finished on Thursday at 5:30 and then headed over to Birmingham with Mr G and a friend, in birthday celebration mode. We went to see THE BLUE AEROPLANES at the Hare and Hounds (where UB40 played their first gig) and it was exceptional. I am so glad that I was filled with the charm of performance because it set me up for the following evening for Kings and Queens of Comedy.

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I was so nervous – worried that the audience wouldn’t find the dusted off material funny, But I forgot the universal appeal of my moustache poem, the magic of proto-type props and the delight of people who have never heard this one before. It was also funny because people who know me know that I am funny, I just do things that amuse people as I have no logical bone in my body and I have a quick, dry, wordy wit… in fact there was a turning point once upon a time between poet and comedian. The world breathes a sigh of relief.

Anyway because a lot of people now on the scene weren’t back in 2014 when I played the clown a little more, they didn’t see me as a funny poet and were quite shocked at the billing. There are now at least two people who will never take me seriously again!

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To read a full review of the evening click here

And then I had a well deserved weekend off to catch up with Mr G and writing.

Week 4:

Saw happy news and my first acceptance of 2017. That collaborative project I mentioned earlier was with Claire Walker. The result was a meeting about prompts, shared ideas, word lists and after writing editing together. After a few weeks we had a poem written by each of us from working with the other and a joint poem written line by line. The acceptance was a the poem Claire Walker wrote called ‘The Puzzle of an Ending’, a beautiful title and a hard hitting poem. It was the strongest of the collaboration.

It delights me that it exists because of an opportunity I found and a risk I took (asking another poet to partner me and risk rejection, that lack of self-belief/inner critic we all have to deal with). Fortunately, Claire was only too happy and we enjoyed this rather intense poetry pocket in our otherwise Christmassy/family orientated holidays. There will be more to come. And I am doing something here I first dreamed of in 2014. Happy.

I spent the night, along with many poetry friends at the Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham for Jacqui Rowe’s ‘Poetry Bites’. The featured poets were David Calcutt & Claire Walker (fellow V. Press poets) and Jacqui announced (which most of us already knew) that they are going to publish her first collection this year too. Her ‘Ransom Notes’ was the first pamphlet of the run in 2015 from the round I applied successfully for in 2014.

ransom Poetry Bites was a packed out night, it is so sad that this is Jacqui’s final year, but it is a phenomenal achievement to have hosted and supported such an abundant amount of poets over the years. The atmosphere was great and there were some top class floor spots as well as a V. Press collective, Kathy Gee was also reading from her collection Book of Bones.

I really enjoyed reconnecting with Brumside poets I had not seen in a while, as well as listening to some inspiring and thought provoking sets.

Maybe it was the double dose of Americano coffee, or the Kitchen Garden cake… I came away buzzing and refuelled with an extra layer of poet-y energy!

42

I wrote new poems for Burn’s Night, which was celebrated at 42, in Worcester on the 25th. I even made a badge – Lewis tartan, of course. I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about this 18th Century rascal. It was a great night, intimate and full of heart – but not lungs or liver (haggis pun)!

I missed a workshop with Ash Dickinson, that had I not been performing in the Quiet Compere/ Wolverhampton Literature Festival the following night, I may have tried to get to. It was just a little out of range geographically and no way I could have got myself there on time after work without the help of a helicopter and pilot… neither of which I have. Oh, to be a rich girl! So I just have to brush away the disappointment and hope for another opportunity in the future.

This brings us to the finale of the poeting week – the first literature festival to be held in Wolverhampton and a great line up of events across all genres. I was lucky enough to be one of the ten poets on the bill for Sarah Dixon’s Quiet Compere Event at the Art Gallery on Friday evening.

What an evening it was. Fabulous line-up, including two poets who are new to me (always a pleasure), Tom McColl & Gerry Potter. What a venue, the room was majestic and had one of the best backdrops to poetry I have ever seen. The setting was incredible. It was a wonderful night and I was still buzzing the next day. You can read the full review of the event and find out more about the performers here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/quiet-compere-wolverhampton-literature-festival/

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I got home to find emails about up and coming books and spent a while chatting to the other buzzing poets online. A fine night.

walsall-arboretum I finished my weekend at Open Poetry at Walsall Arboretum with David Calcutt and an amazing number of poets on Sunday. Despite the horrible rain, bad driving conditions and leaving a ton of work on the To Do List, I headed out for some poeting fun.

It was a great couple of hours, lots of moving and humorous work was shared. I met some new poets and saw John Mills, who had battled the unnavigable roads of Walsall to experience David’s event for the first time. walsall-arb © 2016 Walsall Arboretum

Then I spent a horrendous amount of time sorting out unread and unmanaged emails instead of completing applications which I now need to do tomorrow after work. There are lots of deadlines in the next 72 hours and I plan to hit them all.

Wolverhampton Literature Festival finished with a Poetry Slam that Nick Lovell won and Willis – a.k.a Rick Sanders came 2nd and Rob Francis, 3rd. Well done, boys! An all male sweep. I was sad not to be able to go to the festival this year. Other plans had already been made. Hopefully they will do another one next year.

The Extra Few (Writing) Days

Mainly spent Monday night at the computer pulling a 6 hour shift (after a day at work), writing new material, researching, organising events, writing applications and submitting. There are so many end of month submissions and I have been busy enjoying myself and thinking the end of the month was a while away yet and here we are. I am pleased that I have managed a few more submissions as I have not been keeping the resolution of weekly output, as advised by another poet.

Obviously there is a certain amount of selectivity both in terms of material, feel, attitude, time etc. My aim is for monthly submissions, which should be entirely achievable – as the months missed last year were to do with the final editing process of the pamphlet.

I will spend the final day of the month (in the evening, after work) getting productive with my next To Do List and making final submissions too.

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There are so many exciting things planned for February already, I can hardly believe we have reached the end of January!

I hope you had a good one, filled with spirit and joy …. oh and writing!

 

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Stirchley Speaks and my Kindle

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February Edition – 2/2/16

It was (as ever) a great night in Birmingham at the P Café. Jess Davies hosts a brilliant night ‘Stirchley Speaks’ – an open mic spoken word event hosting 3 feature acts. I was delighted to be asked to be one of the headliners this month, alongside Alisha Kadir who I’ve known on the circuit since 2014 and Mark Kilburn who I met through Stirchley Speaks a few months ago. His poetry is filled with wisdom, life, passion, pain, sometimes humour  and it was a joy to hear a full set of it. If you get a chance or see his name on the bill, GO!

Alisha Kadir

Alisha Kadir; guitarist, poet, activist, artivist… generally all round creative individual who is an active member of the Midlands arts scene. She’s performed at the NEC, TEDxBrum, Opus Club, in pubs, coffee shops and people’s kitchens. We look forward to sharing with you a combination of her music and poetry.

Mark Kilburn

Mark was born in Birmingham and lived in Denmark for a number of years before returning to the West Midlands in 2004. Between 1996-8 he was writer in residence at the City Open Theatre, Arhus, and in 2002 was a recipient of the Canongate prize for new fiction. Between 2004-5 Mark was on attachment at the Birmingham Rep and in 2012 his poem about the London riots, Milton Friedman Talks Disaster Capitalism in a Burning Hackney Diner, won the AbcTales.com poetry competition. Most recently, Ballad of a Claret and Blue Boy, a poem celebrating Aston Villa, was featured in the club’s compilation of fan memories prior to the 2015 FA Cup final. Mark’s novel, Hawk Island, is available from electronpress.com

Nina Lewis

Nina Lewis is a published poet, with a fresh and honest approach to her writing. Her writing focuses on honest recollections, retold with often beautiful imagery, as well as being able to touch on more lighthearted moments. She had previously stopped writing for fifteen years and now finds herself back on the literary scene – the journey of which can be followed on her blog awritersfountain.wordpress.com

© Copyright P Café

 

The Kindle Bit (rant)

It was great fun performing an entire set, as I used new material, I also took my Kindle out for its first bought-with-this-intention outing. I have fought against this particular tech since e-readers where invented. A pain in the heart for any bibliophile, and being gadgetry you can’t even safely spray it with old-book-scent. But then in 2015 I read an article in a writing magazine that assured us they were no longer thought to be replacing the book (I mean if Apple can stop making I-pods?!) … and I started to thaw a little. I took a plane to Poland and I was the only passenger with a paperback (and no, no-one had a hardback either) and finally on the circuit I have seen plenty of people using them. I occasionally use my mobile, but I have to enlarge it, which means a lot of scrolling. Also the fact they cost 50% less than they used to is another factor.

I know deep down I am still a little unsure as it was only released from the packaging this month (it was a Christmas present from Mr G). However, I LOVE IT! So much lighter than the laptop and more screen friendly than the phone, perfect at home. I still use the laptop for writing though but have the office packages to import documents onto it. I know the cloud and ever note and the rest of it all exists – but you’ll understand, if I don’t think about it – it’s not real!

Anyway, loved performing with it and it worked well to keep me on track although I did deliver a slightly different set to the one I had prepared.

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Lots of positive feedback and a definite emotional response to the more tear jerking poems. I love it when people come to talk to me afterwards, not for the ego boost or praise but to find out which words have lingered, what are the poll poems, what happens to the listener. More and more the feedback is detailed and I get what I need to hear as well as the compliments (which don’t get me wrong) are good for me to hear too. Knowing I am on the right track for my life is what really matters, the creative soul/spirit is in balance and I am a better, happier being for it.

The open mic-ers were amazing and included some real treasure and this evening Stirchley had music and dancing too. I know Jess started it with a spoken word concept and is willing to branch out and have performers open the night up with something different from time to time.

A fantastic night and a great way to start February!

 

Setting the Sights

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all sorts 09 10 022 Today is a celebration – 3 years of this blog, I spotted the WP Trophy icon on the site! I went for a wander around the data and was happy to see the growth in traffic, visitors and followers year on year. This wander down memory lane landed me in the New Year posts from 2015. After I read them and recalled how I felt this time last year in my writing skin, I decided to write this post.

Last year in this post Truth & Rainbows I wrote about goals/resolutions and I know I have said this year is all about my house (which it is), I still have a growing poetry/writing skin to fill. This blog was primarily started to keep tabs on my writing life. It has become so much more than that to me and hopefully to you, but from time to time I want to take it back to the original detail. This is me, starting a new life, I am a writer. (2013) writing

I have often said that what the world sees is the tip of the iceberg and actually they never see the part under the surface. We all know too well those internet lists of incredibly successful people who started with a series of failures, some lasting decades. I always wanted to mix the downs and ups, tell you about rejections and so on, equally I want to mark the successes.

So I have lifted this list from the review post Truth & Rainbows. It isn’t just about blowing my own trumpet, it’s to get you to think about yours and realise that if you keep on, you will get there.

Reviewing Resolutions 2015 – Reflecting on 2014

ARCHIVED NEW YEAR / GOAL SETTING LINKS

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/new-year-new-you-writing-resolutions/

It seems last year I did make resolutions, the best thing about this post  ^ is knowing the results 12 months later;

Here are my resolutions –

I am working towards a collection of poems for a pamphlet. I sent 2 manuscripts, both were rejected but one showed promise and I continue to make this my personal project of 2015. The process has opened up a whole new world. I had the wardrobe, now I have to find my way around Narnia!

I am starting work as an Assistant Writer with hope of having a position as a Lead Writer in 2015. I am coming up to 12 months as an Assistant Writer for WWM and have also been 1 of 3 writers picked as mentors for a term.

I am going to have a big presence on the Performance Circuit in the hope of being booked for guest spots by the end of the year. I managed 107 events, some were open mics, other were gallery openings, art projects, festivals, commissions, collaborations, everyone of them was a delight! I performed alongside many amazing people and have just had my 2nd Headline/ Main guest booking!

I will submit poetry for publication. I did! Some was published, others rejected, all were new writing fresh from my pen.

I will write some short stories for competitions. I did, I have shelved this as I was not particularly successful in this field although I corresponded with some incredible people and had a few close misses. However, posts I wrote back in 2013 about writing short stories are still top of the stats several years later.

2016 – Reflecting on 2015

I am working towards a collection of poems for a pamphlet. In August 2014 I submitted a manuscript and in January 2015 this was accepted for publication. It has been a long, hard year and somewhat disappointingly my work is not yet out in print. I am in the final editing stages and have learnt a lot from this process. I know that the final pamphlet will be stronger for the additional work that has gone into it and will mean so much when I finally get to hold a copy!

As I didn’t enter the poetry world until October 2013 I mark this acceptance almost within the first year of writing, 14 months after starting my poetry was accepted. Even if it will take a while longer to be read.

I am starting work as an Assistant Writer with hope of having a position as a Lead Writer in 2015. I was given the Lead Writer position in September 2015. I happily continue and have just planned our first session for 2016. There is also a new project I am hoping to be involved with for our groups this year.

I am going to have a big presence on the Performance Circuit in the hope of being booked for guest spots by the end of the year. In my first year I performed poetry at over 107 events, some were poetry festivals and commissioned events and collaborations. My biggest achievement was a poetry commission to write and perform at Birmingham Literature Festival 2014. In 2015 my headline slots started at the beginning of January and I was booked throughout the year at various venues. I hope to keep this up and of course having a book to sell will help!  

I think I performed at about 92 events in 2015 (not much of a back seat was taken), including book launches in London, Poetry Festivals (a wider net was cast), commissioned performances and a finalist in Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition (3rd Place), my first ever Poetry Brothel Experience with Caged Arts and 5 other selected poets, I was also part of the Quiet Compere Tour 2015, Worcester – Stop 6, which was booked way back in April 2014 and had to be kept a secret!

I also completed some Poetry on Loan training and organised the best INKSPILL yet, our annual online writing retreat, this year marked 3 INKSPILL retreats and next year plans are afoot for some expansion.

I will submit poetry for publication. I did! Some was published, others rejected, all were new writing fresh from my pen. I got into publications that were on my ‘dream list’ too.

We have to put up with so much rejection in this field that I think it is essential for some positive reflection.

So have a think about your own writing desires, how far have you come? How close are you? What will be your next step?

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

© Copyright 2011 Leo Norrie

Poetry Wrap 4

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Poetry Wrap 4 – is bursting! It covers 3 weeks instead of just one, settle down, get comfortable and have a read!

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WEEK 2

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In the 2nd week of May I had a gorgeous 3 day run of poetry events, starting with Mouth & Music on the 12th – the theme was Love in times of Revolution and I really struggled to write to this theme. One of the hardest challenges this year. In the end I managed to write 3 poems on the day all about Love and Revolution, I performed the final set of the evening and these poems performed back to back made for a moving set. I am beginning to explore form thanks to the University of Iowa and my current MOOC study; ‘How Writers Write Poetry’. It was a Pantoum for those of you who are interested.

Pantoum Structure

Written in four-line stanzas; and the second and fourth line of each stanza become the first and third of the succeeding stanza. In the last stanza, the second and fourth lines are the third and first of the first stanza; so that the opening and closing lines of the pantoum are identical. Each line is a repeton.

One expert insists that it should be both rhymed abab bcbc … zaza and that the lines be isosyllabic. This was more true of the Pantoum in French. English is a little more loosey-goosey as was the Malay version. The same expert says that there is a variation where the poem is ended with lines 1 and 3 used as repetons in reverse order as a couplet.

Copyright © 2001-2013 by Charles L. Weatherford – Source Poetrybase

The night was headlined by Roy MacFarlane – former Birmingham Poet Laureate, a favourite poet of mine and an incredibly lovely chap! It was great to catch up with him, as I hadn’t seen him since last summer. His set was moving, sexy and exciting! Music was provided by the wonderfully talented David Coughlin, who made me feel like I was away on my holidays being treated to a great gig.

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The following evening I headed to Kings Heath to join in with HOWL, an event that Leon Priestnall has been running for a while now, due to work commitments and energy levels I hadn’t been able to make it over before.

Another superb evening – INCREDIBLE talent from both performers and open mic-ers. WOW! Another lovely venue and great support from the staff too.

Leon has built up an incredible reputation for both himself and this event in a relatively short period of time. Topping the night off was a lady (audience) who actually HOWLED her appreciation all through the night!

HOWL

The following day I received some exciting news. I had been LONGLISTED for Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate Competition 2015-16, which I entered back in March, in secret! My interview went well and I have been shortlisted for the final (12th June) here’s a link to the full story COMING SOON

I went to SpeakEasy, where I didn’t perform but I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

speakeasy may Sarah James and Angela Topping have recently published a collaborative pamphlet called ‘Hearth’, they launched the book at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and will continue to promote it. If you get a chance go and see them and buy the book! SJ-AT-Hearth-front-cover-scaledRRP is £5, available from the poets directly or from mothersmilkbooks

Lots of talent from all the performers and the evening was finished off by the energetic performance poet Jeff Cottrill, who is from Canada. International Guest Slots going on now.

WEEK 3

Then I took a week off from performing, concentrated on working, Hay House Summit and my MOOC course with the University of Iowa. I also received some great news, another poem published in a print anthology, another book launch. LINK COMING SOON

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Stanza was the last thing I did before half term.

WEEK 4

I missed Poetry Bites (sadly) as I had a 4 day run and I decided that with MOTs for the car, optician appointments and visiting relatives, I wouldn’t have an abundant amount of energy left. Maybe the meditation from last week has helped, I seemed to have sailed through.

My first performance was at Drummonds 42 where the theme was Fairies, Pixies, Witches & Warlocks. Most of wrote about the Fae folk – who have plenty of shadowy, darker elements.

I took great pleasure in working on a poem about two ceramic pixies my Great Aunty used to let me play with as a child, another poem about an online ‘Which Fairy are You?’ quiz, one about Scottish fairies and finally with so much research left over I wrote a short piece of Flash Fiction, which seemed to go down well.

All of these pieces were written at 5 AM! I woke up really early on Wednesday and couldn’t sleep, I had originally factored in plans to do three things before the evening’s 42. I decided I may as well get my set ready and spent the best part of 3 hours creating it. I had planned on going back to bed, but this never happened.

The evening was brilliant and there were some top notch performances as well as some new faces. 42

The following morning, I was up early (I haven’t actually managed a late morning or lie in all week), to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a Poetry workshop with Angela France.

We were editing today and I was reminded to take a poem. The day before I had read an article/ conversation posted on social media. It was a conversation between Jonathan Edwards & Tishani Doshi as part of the Walking Cities project. I was immediately inspired to use it as base stimuli and emailed Jonathan for permission, which I am delighted to say he has honoured. So I made use of the early morning and penned a new poem to take to Stratford – and I am glad I did because it is now even stronger than the first few drafts. It has changed quite considerably. I will share it with Jonathan Edwards and then submit it for publication, I would love it to feature in my first collection too.

The workshop was great (as always) and it was lovely to see everyone again. The sun even came out in the afternoon for us to write in the garden. My notebook is full of references & poets to look up as well as two newly penned poems.

The next day Friday, I went to Word Up. I took the train in, which was great for my writing notebook which now has snippets of conversation. The evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Headlined by Jan Watts, Leon Priestnall & Heather Wastie. It was a great night of performance and poetry. It was nice to see Carys Jones, who is now back in the UK too, even better to hear her perform new material. She is currently working on a show to take to Edinburgh Fringe this year too.

Last night saw the last event of the month – Opus Club at The Dark Horse in Moseley. Both this night and Word Up are hosted by Jasmine Gardosi and are definitely worth going to. I decided to perform with the House Band and it was AWESOME. Initially I was worried because it was a whole band and I had expected just one or two musicians. I needn’t have worried, family genes are full of musicality (thanks Dad) and it was so good people thought it had been rehearsed that way. I managed to learn two poems off by heart – which was a minor miracle because I changed the set 3 or 4 times and spent most of Saturday with Mr G in a local Garden Centre!

Here’s some flavour of the night, it was certainly eclectic, Headlined by Hannah Silva.

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Photographs used with permission from the wonderful Rang-Zeb Rango Hussain. A second post about OPUS will be posted where you can see more photos.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/opus-club-the-dark-horse/

It was lovely to see people I hadn’t seen for ages and meet new ones. And that – as I used to say back in the days of showbiz, is a wrap!

The Tea Project MAC Tuesday 3rd June

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TTP

N Lewis © 2014

mac I had a fantastic time at the Tea Project, the greatest feat was the build up of mystery around this event, no matter where you searched online there was the sizzle and no sausage, I guessed it would be an immersive audience participation performance but beyond that really had no idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tea palette

Tara Buckley © 2014

I did see some photos of artists painting the palettes  and yet in my head I still envisaged us around tables in the MAC café, with a performance akin to speed dating with teapots, I am glad that TTP was so much more than this.

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Our invitation was equally tantalising;

Cannon Hill Café Announcement

Tiny Lion presents
The Tea Project
A playful exploration of the everyday ritual.

Dear human, you are invited to an intimate performance workshop, blending mindfulness with talking and tea-drinking. The Tea Project will host an event as part of the Cannon Hill Café series at mac birmingham Tuesday 3rd June 2014 | 7:30pm |

In a world of take away coffees, city living, and social disconnect: The Tea Project discovers the power of simply stopping to experience the momentIn life, we are always humans doing, we rarely get the opportunity to be a human being

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AND FREE TEA AND CAKE! It would be silly to refuse and Lorna Meehan was treating people to poetry in between the two shows in the foyer (where they had a free cupcake on entry)! Talk about sweet delights. They also had a guitarist playing Matthew Socci who sounded very good and managed to be heard over the general pre-performance buzz of artistic types gathering.

tara buckley behind tea project

Tara Buckley © 2014

During the show I hadn’t banked on getting as emotionally tied into this piece as I was. Entering late at night to drink caffeine after a long, stressful first day back at work after the break, I carried all the tensions of the day. I had no idea that the show included mindfulness techniques and it was partly due to these activities that the audience ended up feeling transported.

As I left for home I was so chilled out. Was it really only Jasmine tea? (Of course it was!) Plus the power of performance. I was so laid back, I took a turning too early and ended up having to detour across the city to get home!

I loved it – and I usually (as you know) drink coffee!

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© Tiny Lion The Tea Project 2014

Artwork by: Jason “Skitzhope” Bennett & Stephane “Madboy” Spiteri

The Tea Project is an active artistic experience using tea as a tool to connect communities and generate discussion. You are invited to share a moment with friends and strangers alike, playfully exploring the everyday ritual that breaks down barriers, encourages anecdotal storytelling and allows us to focus on the present. What do you think you could solve over a cup of tea? This immersive evening is a fantastic investigation into how an audience can create theatre, and was devised by creative practitioners Tiny Lion (Tara Buckley and Lyndsay Price) as part of mac’s Creative Space residency.

© mac birmingham 2014

tara buckley the tea project

Artists Background

Tara Buckley and Lyndsay Price met at University, while studying Community and Applied Theatre at Birmingham School of Acting, recent graduates they applied for a Creative Residency at the MAC, Lyndsay describes it as the ‘perfect bridge between studying and employment’. It offers them an important stage in their professional development and will, no doubt, lead to further opportunities in the future. Their residency ran from November 2013 to March 2014. Lyndsay Price1 Lyndsay Price Tara Buckley end Tara Buckley

“The Next Generation Creative Space Residency is produced by mac birmingham. It provides three emerging artists with the opportunity to develop their creative practice. The residency enables artists to research and develop an idea in a nurturing environment. It offers the recipient 12 weeks’ worth of access to the arts centre’s rehearsal space and facilities, £300 to spend on developing your creative business, £300 to spend on working with an artist, 3 days of creative business training, continuous mentoring and an opportunity for a public showing of work at the end of the residency.” Lyndsay Price (Director)

The Tea Project was one of many events in #NextGenBrum project organised by the mac.

tara buckley tea project

Tara Buckley © 2014

What I enjoyed the most was the flashback to my own graduate works, the collaborations and resulting shows and spectacles, very much in the light of TTP, if only we had had such funding and opportunity to support us back then (in the dark ages!), I love the fact that – ahem! Many years later, this kind of creativity still has its place and its stage!

I don’t want to describe the whole event as it may spoil what you experience in a Tiny Lion show in the future. Tara and Lyndsay are currently bidding for Arts Funding to do more with this project in the wider community. This event will have given them plenty of feedback and ideas on ways they could shape this project in the future. The Tea Project itself had a pilot show in one of the studio spaces in The MAC, prior to this event. During their development Tiny Lion showcased a number of trail performance workshops to a variety of audience members.

The best moments (other than tea and cake) were the mindfulness activities, and the subtle ways they made us let go throughout the performance. I loved what they had done to set the space in the café, the artistically covered palettes (c/o Visual artists working hard) and the matching tea sets. I liked the places it took me in my mind and the PAGE of poetry ideas TTP ideas I went home with, along with the gift every audience member was given before leaving.

 

If you get a chance Tiny Lion will not disappoint and any invite with free CAKE should ALWAYS be accepted!

 

It is clear that the artists are taking all the steps they need for great success… and like the perfect cup of tea, need time to steep, allow the fragrance to become strong. They will succeed, I have no doubt, I think they already have!

T1 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7

Now I need to go and boil the kettle.

RELATED LINKS
Tea Project Blog

Slanely Street

Spoken Word at The Ort – Friday 16th May

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Last week I was trying to limit the open mic events I attended – besides being exhausted after my 10 gigs in 11 days mini run, I have also had a chest infection and a hacking cough for a few weeks – I had practically lost my voice by Monday. On Friday is was a husky luscious sort of voice and worked well with ‘Hairy little secrets’ in our Moustache poem.

I missed Hit the Ode for the first time since February and also another Spoken word night in Birmingham. I would have really struggled to stay awake at any events before Friday night.

Friday I had a (now very rare) day off work – needed to get to the solicitors and sign paperwork for my flat. Hoping to exchange this Friday. After running a few errands I had the afternoon to compose myself (mentally) and rehearse the set poems. I was excited to have enough material for Tim and I to perform a medley of our work.

do415com open mic

Collaboration #4 – with Tim Scarborough

We arrived early enough to get a comfortable seat and enjoyed the acts unwinding on the stage, we had no idea of the set list – I think Tim liked not knowing, he sure knows how to pump adrenaline. Debbie told me we were opening the 2nd half – a great position to be in, especially as one of my friends had to leave early, I convinced her to stay for our set.

Our performance was good and I enjoyed it, we had fun and some great feedback.

We performed Rainwatch *the original poem that got us together, the first time I heard Tim perform on his mood drum, this was the poem I had in my mind, it was already written and I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment for the words. We performed our 2 co-written pub poems, Pull the Other One andSocial SATNAV along with the best of our Body Hair Set – The Hair that Wouldn’t Stop and Moustache Poem with Fact Bombs, which resulted in David Rees Jones (MC for the 2nd half), heckling most of the men with facial hair stylizers afterward.

Feedback – people liked Rainwatch with the Mood Drum, Social SATNAV and Moustache Poem with Fact Bombs the best, people were entertained and said we should have done a longer set (I think my voice just about managed to hold out)!

We then sat back to enjoy the rest of the acts.

It was a great night, thank you and well done Debbie Aldous, who organises and MC’s the Spoken Word event.

Z Andrea Smith Tim

© 2014 Andrea Smith

zuzana Klementova Miss Superlicious T © 2014 Zuzana Klementova  – Supercilious Ms T

 

Zuzana Klementova Ort Swing © 2014 Zuzana Klementova

Swingerella

 

There were many more acts and photographs than I have posted here,  just a little flavour of the event.

WLF&F logo concepts

Tim and I were prepared to work on a new set, with percussion for next month’s open mic but sadly it clashes with the opening of The Worcs LitFest – which is also the announcing of Poet Laureate, friends of mine are in the running and I had already chosen to support them. I also miss another festival evening due to a friend’s birthday party – but it’s Woodstock themed so it’s going to be great! We will still collaborate again, we just don’t know when.

Saints, Sinners & Fools – Pigeon Park Press

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Last Wednesday night I skipped my usual performance/ Spoken Word night at 42 for a one off event in Birmingham – I say one off – Pigeon Park Press organise about 4 of these evenings a year. Open Mic to share stories, poetry, music and even an extract from a play.

pigeon park press The event took place downstairs at 6/8 Kafe, I took a few shots (which I still need to upload) so I am using other people’s photos – with credit to give you a flavour of the event.

What was nice about this event was that there were some new to me writers to sit and listen too.

I missed the Winter Stories event so I was flattered when Heidi Goody invited me to this event.

pigeon park press1 I had a great night and some fabulous feedback!

Thanks everyone.

The Most Exciting Opportunity!

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motivation dreamsI have a fantastic opportunity this summer to be on stage with a poetry army – to be part of it myself – this appeals to both the actress/performer in me and the poet! I cannot wait!
More on this later in the year!
WHOAHOOO! The noise we make when our dreams are coming true!

Diverse Dancers: I

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I am performing (alongside many other local talents) tomorrow at the opening of this Gallery event – writing the poems at the moment… it will be my 2nd gallery opening and I am looking forward to it!

Photogiraffe Live Art

Najma Hush’s, Diverse Dancers is the title given to a  large and ever expanding compilation of photographs, primarily concerned with the multiplicity of varying dance traditions, unique to a variety of different cultures and subcultures.

This collection has been produced with a keen interest in the grace of dancer’s movements and seeks to reveal the eloquence of each pose, jump, spin and lift.  As this project expands and develops, Hush seeks to come closer to interpreting and presenting the exceptional language of bodies that never lie.

Diverse Dancers Part I:   An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music. Diverse Dancers Part I:
An Exhibition for Exhibitionists, with Art, Poetry and Music.

Presently, a small and miscellaneous selection from this collection is exhibiting at ORT Cafe, Birmingham, UK (19th Feb-5th Mar 2014).

Look out for the next post on Diverse Dancers, where you can view the photographs from the open exhibition night and get better acquainted with all the amazing performers who will come…

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Hungry Heart Storytelling

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Last night I missed Buzzwords in Cheltenham, after last month’s aqua-planing experience I decided not to risk the journey, ironically the weather was much better than before.

Then I had a surprise phone-call and was invited out. Over in a village that I used to live in, 11 of us met us to watch this performance of Hungry Heart, which was story-telling from Italy with a seductive edge by Europe’s leading performance story-teller and MC of Tell Me On A Sunday at the Ikon, Cat Weatherill. catweatherillcouk

It was a superb show and a great night. I was delighted to meet her after the show and talked to her about Tell Me On a Sunday. It is something I may try one day, watch this space!