April & May 2016

Hiya. I’ve had a really enjoyable couple of months welcoming spring in. I’ve been touring Melody in April and teaching a lot in May. Here goes…

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Entrance to the enchanting Alphabetti theatre

In April Melody visited Newcastle and the amazing, fairly new, Alphabetti Theatre. This is a hidden gem of a venue right in the middle of town. When you descend the stairs you find yourself in a shining and magical world, the decor is beautiful and their programming is exciting and varied.

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Post workshop spoons with the scratch club

While I was there, I really fell in love with Newcastle. Both the architecture and scenery are beautiful, the people are friendly and unpretentious and everything is very cheap (especially compared to our capital). The day after I performed Melody, I ran a creative writing workshop with the Scratch Club Tyne – they all came up with amazing poems that incorporated songs that are special to them.

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Jess Green on stage at the Handmade Festiva

I also visited Leicester twice. And I really like Leicester too! Unfortunately, I was there just before they won the Premier League so the atmosphere was tense rather than the wild celebration that followed the day after. I took Melody to the great theatre-pub Upstairs at the Western and the lovely and brilliant Jess Green (check her out) asked me to perform on the Find the Right Words stage at the Handmade Festival.

And Melody also showed at it’s birthplace Clapham Omnibus. This is a wonderful place that has supported us so much by giving us free rehearsal space whenever they can.

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Melody at Clapham Omnibus

Space is a scarce and expensive resource in London and we had no funding at all for Melody so the generosity from Clapham Omnibus has been hugely valuable. Our first full draft of Melody was presented at Clapham Omnibus in May 2015 so there was a nice sense of returning home.

Melody also visited the Welsh town of Llanelli and the Ffrwnes Theatre, I wish I could have spent longer there. I never consider the lack of friendliness in London at all and like to think it doesn’t exist but when you visit Llanelli and Newcastle, you really feel the difference.

Enough of Melody. I spent a lot of time teaching and delivering workshops in the last couple of months. I’ve found it really rewarding and enjoyable. I delivered two workshops at the London Metropolitan Archives as part of their amazing Lost & Found festival. Not that many people know about the archives, they have interesting exhibitions on all the time and anyone can go in, sign up for free and explore the history of the city in their huge collection. Do it!

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Workshop participants at the LMA

And I spent the last two weeks in May at Huddersfield university helping the first year Drama students develop and rehearse their end of year show along with the incredible IOU theatre. It was a bit of a baptism of fire, I suddenly found myself directing a 32 strong cast in an interactive, devised (and frankly bizarre) theatre piece. I’ve not worked so hard in a long time. At the beginning of week one, I delivered some poetry workshops there with Cecilia Knapp and it was really great to see how the students got so into it and how some of them developed their poems further to incorporate into the final piece.

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Entrance to the enchanting Alphabetti theatre

And finally, a few more fun gigs & interesting things…

I did One Track Minds at one of my favourite venues ever, Wilton’s Music Hall, I was honoured to stand on that stage. One Track Minds is a new idea from film producer Kristian Brodie. A hybrid of Desert Island Discs and TED talks, it asks creatives to tell a story about the track that changed their life. I chose the Spanky Wilson cover of Sunshine of Your Love and talked about my teeneagerhood in Hebden Bridge, fronting a band and discovering funk and soul music. They also chose me as their poster girl!

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The flyer for One Track Minds

I also performed at Chocolate Poetry Club, a really nice night at The Roebuck in Borough. It’s a lovely, friendly night and you get free chocolate! I’d highly recommend it if you’re in London, especially if you want to try out new material at the open mic. You can watch a video of me trying out a new poem at Chocolate Poetry Club here.

I did a shift at the Poetry Takeaway (a great organization) at the Roundhouse, writing bespoke poems for dinner guests.

I chatted with Lunar Poetry Podcasts and read a few bits for them, you can listen to the podcast here.

And I performed at the Free Word Centre at the finale event for the London Metropolitan Archives Lost and Found Festival.

I’ve also begun the practice of trying to write every single day, even if it’s just one line or an image. As everyone says about this practice, it is really good to flex your writing muscles to keep them in shape.

More news coming soon. Lots of love and writing. X