On Wednesday November 14th I’ll be performing a one-off set with musician and storyteller Christine Cooper at First Floor Portobello in Notting Hill (see event details below). Come along if you can. There will poems new and old with a musical backing and I might even preview a song or two…
Tuesday was a slightly shorter day with just one engagement: a drama/playwriting workshop at Zayed University.
I had a great time leading this session as we spent the session creating a play from scratch starting with some improv, deciding on a location, deciding on the characters and so on. The play that emerged (a transgressive story concerning an unmarried Yemeni woman attempting to escape a controlling father) was a genuine surprise.
I am writing this from a hotel room in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The British Council invited me here to take part in an event at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island on Wednesday called Artscape of World Cultures. I snapped the pic above on the way to the arrivals gate at the airport where I was met by staff from The Beach Rotana hotel. On arrival I was struck by the scale of the place and the architectural flare at work in the buildings…and the heat. It is not yet summer here but that still means high 30s/low 40s and 50% humidity.
Since my last update the UK leg of Verbalized (the tour I went on earlier in the year w/British Council) has been and gone. Starting in early October we toured to audiences in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Bradford, Sheffield and Manchester. I’m pleased with how it went and am looking forward to what comes next.
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about the UK leg of the tour was that the show itself was more collaborative. Poetry events can get a little stuck in the poet follows poet follows poet way of doing things. In our show we were all on stage throughout and poems flowed into each other interspersed with song or movement. Since the tour I’ve been approaching all my readings with a clearer sense of my comfort zones and am hoping to push against them into new ground. More on that story later.
In other news, the winner of my personal poll as to the best accommodation we stayed in goes to the idiosyncratic Palace Hotel in Manchester in which the Lower Ground floor is higher than the Mezzanine and finding my room was always an adventure. The Campanile Bradford is a close second and Jury’s Inn Sheffield receives an honourable mention for the decor in its lifts.
For footage from the South Africa leg of the tour check out my videos section for the poem ‘Denouement’ (labelled as ‘I am afraid it will be too easy). I’ll post up tour footage from the UK leg when it surfaces.
In the meantime why not come along to one of my gigs? I have two left in 2010 one on the 25th of Nov at Tongue Fu, a night that runs at Rich Mix, London and one at the newly re-opened Swan Theatre in Stratford on December 3rd. Check out the events section for all relevant details.
I’ll leave you with this, a video of Jackie Kay at a recent event to celebrate the life and work of Edwin Morgan: