What the Butler Saw Leicester Artists Community Response to Joe Ortons’ controversial Play What the Butler Saw at Curve Theatre 11th March 2017

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On Saturday March 11th a group of artists including myself, all of us based in Leicester shared our  performances on the Curve main stage set, as part of a presentation titled What the People Saw, as a response to Leicesters’ world famous playwright  Joe Orton’s  play What the Butler Saw  (WTBS)that was playing at Curve Theatre.  This was part of a celebration to honour Joe Orton’s work, lead by Julia Thomas the RYDT Director In Residence at Curve. Julia provided information resources and helped facilitate work, that was devised, over a couple of weeks and was finally presented, as script in hand performances to an invited audience.

As a group of artists, we  were able to attend technical rehearsals, final main house productions of WTBS ( I saw a storming fantastic show!), read the script and use rehearsal facilities and importantly perform our own work, on that lovely set for the main play. Creative group meetings were held to identify  an discuss the key issues within Orton’s play, to begin to shape our own personal and collective responses. This was a very positive supportive experience, as we bonded very quickly and worked well together.

The presentation included a collection, of short humorous satirical sketches, short dramatic plays, music, physical theatre and poetry. My own contribution featured political poetry, that incorporated key political slogans, from over several decades of public demonstrations, songs about not being a bounty coconut, a dark limerick about institutional sexual abuse and celebrification, a cross dressing love poem, and a poem about lesbian burlesque and seduction in a club.

In taking on this project, I saw it as an opportunity, to take a risk, come out of my comfort zone of writing drama, to do political satire i.e. more humorous work. As well as to work with other new exciting talented artists, I had not worked with before from Leicester. It was a welcome opportunity, to work with Curve Theatre itself.  We as a group of artists were all delighted that Nikolai Foster and Julia Thomas, along with the invited audience  expressed their delight and pleasure at our work. For myself it was most satisfying to see the positive response to my own work, it  made me more confident about exploring more satire and humour. Finally, it must be said it was a wonderful opportunity provided by Curve.  My appreciation  and knowledge of Orton’s play WTBS increased tenfold, and provided  us with ample material, to inspire our own creativity in heaps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol Leeming at Write On Leicesters Writer Showcase Central Library March 15th 2017

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I took part in  Write On, the Leicester Writers Showcase event, a new series of events lead by Matthew Vaughn Leicester Libraries, and the other members of the literary community in Leicester e.g. Emma Lee and Ambrose Musiywa.  the events are recorded Bia audio and photographs also,  Leicester can very much look forward to further dates this year, with next month author Marianne Whiting will take the floor with her Viking Shield Maiden books.

On this evening I began by reading, to a good sized mixed audience, a number of poems from my debut poetry collection The Declamations of Cool Eye. Thereafter followed a short interval with refreshments and a lively audience Q& A. Whereby I was asked about my writing process, how I get inspiration for poems and in particular, how this collection came together. I disclosed that the collection was made up of my shorter  poems. As I have been been known previously to write long form prose poetry for stage as choreopoems. I also highlighted how a silver sequined North African hat, provided an creative impetus, for the narrative persona of Cool Eye (a childhood nick name of mine).

This all lead to the making of the film poem Enchanter and to the completion of a collection of poems for the book. There were also questions about my editing processes, along with the value of independent editor, and rigorous editing of your own work, as had been advised to me by other poets e.g. Jean Binta Breeze. I explained a number of the poems in the book had been read by literary professionals,  who gave their helpful comments and feedback. Others poems feature in important anthologies. I am delighted to report  at the end of the evening, I sold a number of books and signed them, and received very positive feedback from peers and audience members. Well worth doing and an important even for local writers to help develop an audience for their work.

Enchanter Carol Leeming Upstairs At The Western Theatre March 3rd 2017

On offer was a  song and percussion by /carol Leeming in Enchanter persona, followed by a screening of the ‘mesmerising’ Enchanter film poem. With audience Q & A with Carol Leeming of Dare to Diva and Rob Gurney on hand. The second half featured spirited  readings from Carol as the Enchanter, in full costume dress complete with large silver sequined hat. With book sales and signings at the end of the night.

There was a lively discussion around the style of the film poem, the African roots and the notion of people’s journeys in the introductory section, reflected in the style and musical presentation.With some audiences members explaining how they identified with the sentiments that were expressed.

There was further questions and discussion fro the audience, about the love song Habibi and the love poem  Drawing in the film poem. How these two things contrasted, with the look of the film poem, which is in black and white an was very much  influenced by German Expressionism.

See a review here: