Posts Tagged ‘Thrasher’


What is ANNOYING me this week?

Slow Technology

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Poetry in the Music


Morrison Hotel – The Doors.



As the first Staffordshire Poet Laureate, I am finding my way to best give my service to poetry and the communities of this great creative county.

As part of the role I have to undertake at least four commissions, two of which I have to bring to the role.

My first commission was one that I found, “The Colin Grazier Enigma” poetry play which I was commissioned to write by Tamworth Borough Council Arts and Fired Up Theatre. The performance was an outdoor promenade play with a new musical soundscape and took part on 30th October 2012 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the events it described.

The play received great reviews and photo coverage in the local press, including a piece on BBC television Midlands Today.

My second commission came from Staffordshire Libraries and Arts to write an uplifting poem to promote the county, the poem Thinking Staffordshire was first presented to the Staff Conference in November. The poem considers all the creative facets of the county through the mottos of some of the leading organisations whose home is in the county. I will include the poem as part of my laureate readings in the coming months.

So barely a month into my laureateship and half of my commissions had been completed, which was a good job really as the events unfolded with my health, which I am glad to say is something that is now under control and I can focus on enjoying my time as Laureate and new commissions and events.

My third commission is well underway with my contribution to the new working of Quadrophenia being staged at the Tamworth Assembly Rooms on 24th and 25th May. The script which has been developed and written by Simon Quinn, has scenes that Simon left open for me to develop poetry to fit with the themes of mental health, fashion and identity, inter-generational friction, gender, drugs and anti-social behaviour in the 1960’s counterculture.

My poems have developed as sequences taking on the different personalities of the helpless dancer, the romantic, the lunatic and the hypocrite.

The scene under the pier will see these personalities acted out through the poetry. There will also be poems as projections.

My role in the production in addition to writing, sees me co-directing alongside Simon, which at the time of writing sees us in a heavy rehearsal season to bring the piece to fruition.

Plans are also in place for further commissions based around events at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford, which I will talk about in further posts on this blog.

Laureate Saturdays.
These events will take place on Saturdays in libraries around the county – these will include readings, an exploration of my All around the Shire poem and some 15 minute workshops. Below are the dates of the planned Saturdays more will be added as and when they are agreed.

Lichfield Library – 20th April 2013 – 10:30 to 12:30.
Tamworth Library – 8th June 2013 – Times to be advised.

Other Activities.

John Donne Day.

Last Tuesday was the 400th Anniversary of John Donne writing his poem Good Friday 1613, Riding Westward. Donne had left Polesworth on the morning and was heading to Monmouth, but his thoughts were tormented by his business in the west taking him away from contemplating the events at Calgary in the east.

The event at Polesworth saw the discussion on the poem, its themes and meanings. The afternoons events were reviewed by Gary Longden on Garyswordz. – http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/john-donne-day-polesworth-abbey-2013-400th-anniversary-celebration/

The evening saw the reading on four commissioned responses to the poem, from Gregory Leadbetter, Jacqui Rowe, Jane Commane and myself for which I wrote Good Friday 2013, Writing Westward, taking as my theme the commercialisation of Easter and all that takes our thoughts away from the real meanings of the events on the hill at Calgary almost 2000 years ago.

Following the success we hope to make this an annual event. The event was publicised in the Times Litarary Supplement, http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1236615.ece

My thanks go to Jonathan Davidson of Writing West Midlands, Dr Gregory Leadbetter, Dr Anthony Mellors, Dr Anthony Howe and Dr Derrick Littlewood from City of Birmingham University. Jane Commane and Jacqui Rowe for their contributions and Fr Philip Wells.

Other Doings of Interest.

Conor McKee is a Manchester based playwright whose play Thrasher is playing The Brewhouse in Burton Upon Trent on 25th and 26th April.

A gripping story laced with genuine warmth and vicious comedy. Six people spiral towards destruction over one night in the city. Once lost, can faith, friendship and love ever be recovered?

Conor has invited the Runaway Writers to create around 7 minutes of script to be work-shopped on the first night of the production in Burton.

More information can be found at http://www.conormckee.com/  – Tickets are available from the Box Office at the Brew House in Burton.


Up and Coming Readings.

13th April – St Giles Charity Event – Poleworth Abbey, Polesworth
Organised by Steph Knipe.
20th April – Laureate Saturday – Lichfield.
26th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton On Trent.
7th May – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.

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