After a sold out run at Pope’s Grotto and Twickenham Library, Alexander Pope: A Search For Perfection is back! I will be performing the show at The Old Sorting Office in Barnes on 13th October – tickets are now on sale here.
Pope is a poet I avoided at Uni because his idea of poetry is so different to ours now – despite my father being a fan! Creating this show was intense and I’m so glad I did because he is truly inspirational. Imagine, a chronically and critically disabled man, an outsider to English society (he was Catholic) whose formal education stopped at 12 who nonetheless managed by sheer brilliance to make himself central to English cultural and intellectual life, a midget who remains a giant of English Literature?! It’s all true – come and hear his extraordinary story.
Here’s a little preview to get you in the mood…
1. Alexander Pope: A Search For Perfection clip - Giles Abbott
But if you can’t make 13th October I’ll be back with the show next year at the National Portrait Gallery on 18th May and at the Twickenham Festival in June. For ticket details and further dates keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter and of course, this blog (and if you’ve not subscribed there’s a handy box for that…).
Hope to see you there!
So, the first week of March and I travelled down to Bath to stay with my friend Harry. Next day, Wednesday, I worked in a school in Bristol, running Poetry workshops for KS2 children. Wonderful fun. I used a structure-based approach similar to the work I do with StoryMaking, and the staff were amazed at how the right level of limitation liberated the children’s imagination. After my first class there was a break and, as she entered the staff room, my class’s teacher smiled broadly at a colleague.
“If only all learning could be like that!” she said.
And I sincerely believe that more of it can. The children created complex poems in which an everyday object tells their own story. Some poems were riddles and you had to guess what the object was, and some were metaphorically very rich. Everyone wrote something and now the staff will take these beginnings on further. Proper job satisfaction for me.
On Thursday, Harry and I did our best to destroy the best that Bath had to offer in the matter of ales and pies (very good at The Griffin). I saw a moving play at Bristol Old Vic called Pink Mist. Actually, it was very storytellery as all the characters narrated the story straight to the audience. There was no set and minimal props and actors created scenes with movement and posture. I’ve got so much to learn there. I happened to be seated amongst a clump of 6th Formers, A Level drama students. Kid next to me was all scorn at the end of first act, so above it all, telling everyone how he’d worked out the impending twist in Act 2. He had and he hadn’t. As Act 2 progressed, I noticed him stop fidgeting, start leaning forward listening intently. At the end he spun to his friends;
“Excellent!!!” he said.
He’d dropped into the story. So much better than being above it.
On Friday I worked in a different Bristol school and, at day’s end, boarded a train not to home, but to Manchester. Word Of Mouth Storytelling Club was celebrating its 21st Birthday. I cut my teeth there 17 years ago. I wasn’t going to miss their birthday for the world…