Last Friday was the final show of #TheIdleWomen Summer tour — another water-borne adventure! To see some highlights, do visit the Alarum Theatre Facebook page.
“Roll Up! Roll Up! Roll Down! Roll Down!” *
During the tour Kate Saffin and I were interviewed by Sony-award winning David Bramwell for Waterfront, a monthly podcast from the Canal & River Trust, dedicated to the stories, people and heritage around England and Wales’ historic waterways. Here’s the link to listen. It lasts 16 minutes and includes one of my poems and an extract from one of my songs.
* Our potential audience were above us on a slight hill.
Living Waterways Awards
We’re absolutely delighted that the Alarum Theatre 2017 tour The Idle Women: Recreating the Journey is one of the finalists in the Living Waterways Awards. The winners are announced on 20th September. Fingers crossed!
A photo I took when we were on the beautiful Chesterfield Canal
Kate took this one at the bottom of the spectacular Bingley Five Rise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Kate Saffin and I (Alarum Theatre) finished our Spring tour of Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways last Saturday in Calf Heath Marina, Wolverhampton. We’re now preparing for the Summer tour which starts at the beginning of June. The first show is in Stoke Bruerne, then we’ll be on the Chesterfield Canal in West Stockwith. Click here for the full schedule and to book:
Here are a couple of audience comments from the Spring tour to whet your appetite!
“Wonderful show – beautifully and compassionately performed.” – Sarah & Tony
“A wonderful performance – it brought the whole situation alive.” – Sue & Geoff
After six shows in Worcestershire, the Alarum Theatre Spring tour continues tomorrow, Tue 17 Apr, when Kate Saffin & I bring Idle Women of the Waterways to the magnificent Alcester Town Hall in Warwickshire. The show starts at 7.30pm.
Here are two audience comments after our show in Finstall last Saturday:
“Really excellent show. Learnt so much about the trainees.”
“Very enjoyable and inspiring. Simply great!”
We then travel into Birmingham for the next three dates:
Fri 20 7.30pm St Nicolas Place, 81 The Green B38 8RU
Sun 22 3.00pm Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane B30 2JT
Wed 25 7.30pm Two Towers Brewery, 29 Shadwell Street B4 6HB
Splashed across the Evening News
“Idle boats in need of crews”
so young girls, greenhorns
applied and went off for interviews ….
Come and find out how they came to be called ‘Idle’!
For all Spring tour dates and information about the show click here for the Eventbrite page.
Heather at Foxton, Photo by Andrew Carpenter
Heather Wastie, Kate Saffin nb Scorpio, Stourport. Photo by Paul T Smith.
I’m delighted to be featured in this wonderful new film by Erin Hopkins:
Tiller, Kettle, Windlass – A Narrowboat Film
100 year old windlass – backdrop, NB Tench, 2017
On Remembrance Sunday, I am very pleased to have been able to highlight the role the Women’s Training Scheme played in the war effort on the British canals. The work I have been doing with Alarum Theatre, telling the stories of these mainly middle class women, will feature on BBC Countryfile this evening at 6.20pm on BBC1. Also included will be Kathryn Dodington whose aunt Daphne March (Daffy) carried cargo throughout World War 2 on her family owned boat, Heather Bell. As Kathryn told me, Daffy’s motivation for doing this work was ‘service’. It is also important to remember the women of the working families who didn’t have the choice; this is what they were born to, and they just got on with it. Our show Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways gives an insight into the lives of all these women.
In remembrance of the working women today, I am sharing a few lines from my piece Hillmorton Locks. This section was written after speaking to Ron who told me the story of his birth:
Emma Humphreys, expecting twins,
a boat-load of coal, her labour begins,
the war is on, the shrapnel flies,
the cabin’s tiny, her youngest cries.
Two men to thank, Albert and Ron
make sure they’re safe till danger’s gone;
under a bridge, twin boys are born,
named after the men who saved their skin.
© Heather Wastie
from Hillmorton Locks
After our successful 50-show summer tour, Kate Saffin and I have put together a short run of performances of Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways in and around Oxford at the end of this month. See below for dates. Here’s a review to whet your appetite:
“Both women are exceptional storytellers, their performances brimming over with personality” London City Nights
OXFORD CANAL & THAMES October 21st-29th 2017 Tickets £10/£8
Sat 21 7.00pm Shipton-on-Cherwell Village Hall, Kidlington OX5 1JP
Tue 24 8.00pm St Margaret’s Institute, 30 Polstead Road OX2 6TN
Thu 26 7.30pm Rock of Gibraltar, Station Road, Enslow OX5 3AY
Fri 27 7.30pm Wolvercote Village Hall, 1 Wolvercote Green OX2 8AB
Sun 29 6.00pm Unicorn Theatre, Medieval Abbey Buildings, Checker Walk, Abingdon OX14 3JB
Advance booking via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/alarum-theatre-9882552992, email email@example.com, phone 01865 364095 or pay on the door. See also www.alarumtheatre.co.uk
On Saturday 13th February, I performed my piece Idle Women and Judies, commissioned by the Canal & River Trust, at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port. I included a song and 3 new poems in a 25-minute programme, repeated four times. As usual, I took a book so that people could write down feedback and those comments are reproduced in their entirety below. It’s difficult to get people to write down their thoughts, even when they have made complimentary remarks in person, but I was very pleased with what people did write, and even more pleased that photographer Terasa Newton took some shots of me in full flow. See below for these too.
Having already performed at the Gloucester and Stoke Bruerne Museums (see previous posts), it was good to collaborate with the Canal & River Trust again to share these women’s stories at Ellesmere Port. I’m grateful to them for supporting my work and to Terasa for sending her wonderful images without charge. Here’s a link to her website http://terasanewton.wix.com/tnphotography
“Wonderful, captivating performance – brought canals to life.” Liz & Idris
“Entertaining, informative, brilliant.” Ray & Alicia Harvey
“Wonderful performance, a must see.” Suzanne & Graham
“Wonderful performance full of knowledge and very entertaining.” Janet Williams