Back in December – on 14th to be precise – it was 100 years to the day since women first voted, and I was back at Croome Court to see the new exhibitions. Having been involved in several projects there as poet and performer, I am proud to be one of the 100 Women of Croome whose portraits are projected in succession alongside Amy Jayne Hughes’ Garniture.
Arriving early, I took the opportunity to wander round the grounds and take a few photos. It’s such a beautiful place and there is always pop-up art inside the building. One of my previous projects was Plumlines, a series of poetry-writing workshops with schools, writers’ groups, history groups and Croome volunteers. Click here to read more about the work and the exhibition of paper poetry saplings.
If you fancy experiencing Croome from your armchair, then do listen to this podcast which I was commissioned to create 3 years ago, featuring some of Worcestershire’s finest poets. And if you would like to read my poems about Croome, you will find them in Don’t Oil The Hinges, published by Black Pear Press.
Here are details of 2 poetry workshops I’m running, in Bewdley and Kidderminster, and 2 performances with open mic opportunities, in Bewdley and Ledbury.
FREE POETRY WORKSHOPS
Thursday 16th June 10.30-12.30
Poetry Workshop – Women of WW1
St George’s Hall, Load Street, Bewdley DY12 2EQ
To mark 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Institute, this workshop is part of an outreach project to create poems for a new art installation at Croome Court from November. Of the poems written by members of 16 different and diverse groups across Worcestershire, 100 will be chosen to be included in the installation, and poets are asked, if possible, to write about the experiences of a female relative. Free to attend but advance booking required.
Wednesday 6th July 10.30-12.30 or 1.00-3.00
A Taste of Words poetry workshop
Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster
The workshops are suitable for all abilities and will draw inspiration from Kidderminster’s wonderful heritage, including current research from the Weavers Cottages project. At the end of the sessions, participants will be encouraged to work on a piece for inclusion in the final Weavers Cottages open day and celebration events later in the year.
POETRY OPEN MIC
Saturday 18th June 1.00-7.00
Hopfest Music Festival
‘Airlock’ family poetry/storytelling tent including poetry open mic
Hopley’s Family Camping, Cleobury Road, Bewdley, Worcs DY12 2QL
Email email@example.com for details of open mic
Saturday 2nd July
Outdoor performances with Jiggery Spokery at Ledbury Poetry Festival
11.15-1.00 Walled Garden including open mic – sign up on day or email Spokery15@mail.com
Afternoon performances (no open mic): 2.30 Caffe No.21; 3.30 The Muse Cafe; 4.30 The Horseshoe Inn
To mark 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Institute, poetry workshops are taking place across Worcestershire. These are part of an outreach project to create poems for a new art installation at Croome Court from November. Of the poems written by members of 16 different and diverse groups, 100 will be chosen to be included in the installation, and poets are, where possible, writing about the experiences of a female relative during WW1. Participants are being asked to do a little research and bring in mementos, photographs, old family recipes etc about their chosen WW1 woman for inspiration. The workshops are facilitated by either myself or Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, Brenda Read-Brown.
Yesterday I ran one of these workshops for Worcester Writers’ Circle at The Hive in Worcester. I really enjoyed working with the 7 poets who attended and was very pleased with the quality of the poems which emerged during the day.
On the morning of Thursday 16th June I’ll be running a similar workshop in Bewdley as part of Worcestershire Literary Festival. If you’re interested in attending, look out for further information http://worcslitfest.co.uk/
Here’s the feedback from yesterday’s session:
“Excellent workshop Heather, it has given me a new view and incentive to my poetry.”
“Thank you, Heather, for helping to clarify my muddle lines of poetry and for running such a productive and enjoyable workshop.”
“Smashing workshop – good original activities to describe and to “do” focusing the mind on specifics. Great facilitation and encouragement throughout.”
“The combination of the facilitator and the participants seemed to produce some magic from everyone. Thank you, Heather.”
“Very good & enjoyable. A catalyst for thought & further poems.”
“Thoroughly enjoyable session. Good direction; friendly, pertinent advice. We all produced a piece of work.”
A few months ago I succeeded in getting one of twelve Apples and Snakes commissions to create an hour-long podcast linking poetry and heritage. Mine is about the poetry work I have been doing at Croome Park and has just been uploaded. It features the work of nine poets including myself. To find out more and listen to it, follow the link below. I recorded and produced the whole thing myself and am really pleased with the outcome. I hope you enjoy it!
Poets at Croome
Also, see below for details of a free competition for Worcestershire poets:
Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe National Poetry Day Competition http://worcslitfest.co.uk/2015/07/30/worcestershire-litfest-fringe-national-poetry-day-competition/
As well as writing poetry and songs which share oral history, I’m involved in a project at Croome Court in Worcestershire, devising and performing pieces which share history through site specific theatre. I am one of a group of 8 actors who have been developing new material and then performing it since January. Currently there are 2 plays being performed on Sundays: I play the part of the Cook in Minnie and the Jollop and my next performances are on Sunday July 27th at 11.15, 1.00, 2.00 & 3.00. Here’s the website for details of admission prices https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/
The Croome grounds are absolutely stunning, so if you fancy a day out with a difference, I recommend it. Our project is called Croome Encounters. Last Friday, we performed both plays to an invited audience of Croome volunteers and staff and had this wonderful feedback:
- I would like to thank you personally for providing the opportunity for us all to share in the brilliant ‘enactments’ this evening. They are a superb addition to the Croome experience.
- What an enjoyable time I had travelling back in time with the excellent actors bringing a little of Croome history to life whilst entertaining us in quite a humorous way.
- A big thank you for the special performance for volunteers on Friday evening. It was a hugely enjoyable occasion and I am very pleased so many of us were there. I thought the performers were excellent.
- I especially enjoyed the way the historical details were woven into the script and the shifting of the scenery, with the actors inviting the audience to follow them, kept things on the move and was a lot of fun.
- It is not surprising that our visitors are enjoying them – we certainly did.
- Enjoyed the “Encounters” enormously. Those volunteers who haven’t seen them don’t know what they are missing. I’m so glad we came. Congratulations to all involved.