Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Monday, 9 February 2015

(Another) We Love Youth Theatre poem

A poem I wrote for York Youth Theatre Fete on Sat 7th

I am the master of splat.  If you try and zip me, I’ll boing you back to base, shouting freeze is my catchphrase.  Role call for Play In A Week and Play In A Day.  Colourful clowning through to ensemble devising, scripting scenes and free writing.  The session starts on time, well, maybe we’re a little behind but within those ninety minutes we can take you to another world, another era, make your quake with fear or laugh you into tears

There’s a feeling in my guts and heart that never went away because it was planted by the desire to make something truly great with our ad hoc stage, ramshackle script with limitations we didn’t even see beyond our enthusiasm of age.  The next Laurence Olivier isn’t waiting in the wings, but already strutting across a stage, the next Shakespeare wrote her first scene at the age of 8.  About a dinosaur.

Like bruised knees on the workshop floor, these memories still feel raw. When I started Youth Theatre, as it happened we didn’t have apps, no workshop rooms 1 and 2, just a cold, creaky, unfurnished Ballroom.  Just us, and, as the Grey Lady is witness, the manifesto that if you think Youth Theatre isn’t high quality, you’re not watching it properly.
Because if the highest complement they can pay us is: “yeah they were pretty good for kids” then to put it bluntly:  They’re a bit thick.

The Studio is splashed with Kafka, Brecht, political farces, swarms of bees, slave-master clowns and bombs falling down.  The main stage is accused, watched, gets it’s sealegs, sings and breaks into another world.  But as time goes, we remaking stately homes, gardens, art galleries, museums, churches and car parks, each one the scene set for making great art. If all the world’s a stage, we’re on a mission of conquest through every line learnt, every accident report, every movement sequence nailed, every prop bought.

There are two ways to leave:  one’s not pretty it involves aiming for that wall at full force during a game of tig, missing, going too fast and smashing through glass.  The second is no less painful or monumental, it’s realizing it’s time to move on and carry that love burning bright like a spotlight.

From the De Grey Rooms to Palestine, changing the world one ticket sale at a time, make your voice louder than mine, shout it so the Arts Council can hear ya…who loves Youth Theatre?


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