Here are the lovely girls who welcomed City Voices to Hunt and Darton pop-up arts cafe, set up in conjunction with Appetite Stoke. We were delighted to have an hours slot in their busy timetable of performance artists, which we managed to secure a few days before Hunt and Darton moved on to Rotterdam! I am not sure whether H and D knew what to expect, but we didn't chase any customers away and many stayed to listen to the five CV members we could muster at short notice. On a personal note, it was great to be in such an eclectic environment and try out some new poetry. "Advice to my home city" seemed to go down well (they guessed it was not Stoke on Trent I was writing about) and I noticed that one couple enjoyed a rather sexy poem - so I am told - that I have never performed before. A great opportunity!
Hard to resist the lovely treats!
Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Hanley, is a redundant chapel on Albion Street in Hanley, Staffordshire, England. It has been designated as a Grade II* listed building since 1972, and is now in the ownership of the Historic Chapels Trust. The building has been known as the "Cathedral of the Potteries", and "it was one of the largest and most ornate Methodist town chapels surviving in the UK". (Wikipedia)
The local committee have started fundraising for the third and final phase of repairs. Phase III will comprise all remaining works to provide heating/lighting and other facilities inside the church. At one time the chapel held upto 2000 worshipers. Future use of the chapel may include concerts and weddings.
On 13th September, Bethesda held one of their open days to raise funds for the remaining works. City Voices were delighted to provide music (from friend of CV Richard Faulkner) and poetry for the visitors, and make a donation to the fund. We had a small but appreciative audience and news will follow of the total raised that day.
The only pity about our afternoon was that we could not perform outside in the sunshine. There was however a good audience at Trentham Welcome Cub who appreciated the mix of song, poetry and recollections. Joan Pavlak recited the tale of the Christmas Boggart which never fails to make me smile, and Derek Payne performed his poem "My Little Runaway" which is a serious and topical piece of work about the fate of children in care. Doreen Beardmore bravely shared a poem about her husband's illness and how she was comforted at that time. Life is about light and shade, and although the purpose of such afternoons such as yesterday is to entertain, writing is very personal and sharing is often a part of that. A really good day and many thanks to the ladies who run the club and made City Voices so welcome. Apologies to Paul who didn't get his cup of tea - all my fault!
After a suggestion by our chair Alan Barnett, I approached this pop-up performance cafe to see if they were interested in performance poetry by a local group. Time, space and opportunities were limited but I am delighted to say that Hunt and Darton were able to accommodate a small group of City Voices poets for a one hour slot (see Events page). Five poets who enjoy performance poetry will be taking part and we hope to provide an eclectic and entertaining experience for cafe customers. Thank you to Jenny from Hunt and Darton for making this possible. Watch this space.
City Voices were delighted to welcome Jayne Docksey to our meeting on 6th September. Jayne contacted me via the web-site and took away a membership form, so she must like us! Jayne tells me that she likes to "write film scripts, poetry, short stories, and am in the
process of writing my first novel which I began for my MA Creative Writing dissertation."
I look forward to meeting Jayne in person at the next meeting.
Alan Barnett has been asked by the Rotary Club of Stoke on Trent to be a guest speaker, no doubt after a meal of Bacchanalian proportions. Alan was delighted to be told that he won't have to wear a bow-tie, which is good because the "spinning with flashing lights" job that Alan owns probably won't go down too well. In all seriousness, this invitation is a real tribute to Alan's writing, which will be the subject of the "speech". I am sure Alan will keep the Rotarians entertained, and there will be many laughs and anecdotes to brighten the - let's face it - serious and at times solitary occupation of writing.
This is the beautiful Anglo-Catholic church of St Chads in Stafford, where the poets performed on 6th September for the Stafford Arts Festival. Despite the atmospheric setting of a working Christian church, there were few holds barred in terms of the poetry performed! It was a wonderful day but circumstances meant I could not stay for the afternoon session and sadly I have no photographic or video records. My own slot was 11.30am, and I had 10 minutes to make my mark! With a word play on the now-famous book and film "Eat, love, pray" by Elizabeth Gilbert (the film starred Julia Roberts) I decided to call my set "Food, death, sex." The food poems were fun and contained some poetic licence; City Voices members have heard the poem about death, "Too Late" , a tribute to my cousin who died of cancer last year. The poems about sex were written from prompts by the inspirational "52" Facebook Group run by the poet Jo Bell and have never been aired in public before. I like to think they are subtle but powerful. Once again, many thanks to Tom Wyre for this opportunity.
I am very pleased to have been given a slot to perform my poetry at the Staffordshire Arts Festival - Festival of Poetry at the historic St Chads Church in Stafford. The poetry festival runs from 9.30am - 3.30pm on 6th September 2014. My own slot will be at 11.30am. Many thanks to the Staffordshire Poet Laureate Tom Wyre for giving me this opportunity.