Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival 2014

02 Jul - 03 Aug 14

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This year's festival features the work of Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, poets of the First World War and so much more. With a local poetry evening, children's events, free poetry workshops and our Poet in Residence 2014, Jo Bell, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.

We're thrilled to welcome Dame Judi Dench to our grand finale event, when she will share some of her favourite poems and talk about her life in theatre.

See below for details of this year's line-up and book your tickets today! 

 

 

ShakespearePoetry Mass

Wednesday 2 July
6.00pm – 7.30pm
Guild Chapel

A celebration of Holy Communion with poems used to reflect the intentions of the liturgy. A service of thanksgiving for the way poetry enhances our lives with a special emphasis on Shakespeare in the 450th anniversary of his birth.

Free admission with limited places. To reserve a ticket please call 01789 201844

 

 

Stratford River Festival

Saturday 5 July: 11am - 5pm
Sunday 6 July: 11am - 4pm
Stratford Recreation Ground

Join the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at the ever-popular River Festival on Stratford Recreation Ground. Come and try your hand at writing with magnetic poetry and random word generation, or add a line to our ‘River of Words’ community poem. www.stratfordriverfestival.co.uk

Free Admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

The Pity of War

with Tread the Boards Theatre Company

Saturday 5 July
7.30pm – 9.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

To remember all those who fell in the Great War of 1914-1918, Tread the Boards return with not just a poetry reading but an insight into the soldiers, their families, the enemy and the world during those four brutal years. Hear real letters sent from the front line back home and be transported by the iconic war poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and many more.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Young People's Poetry

Wednesday 9 July
6.00pm – 8.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Each year we invite local school children to send poems to the festival. This year the themes are Rivers and Canals and Thankful Villages. Hear the final selection of poems read by David and Ali Troughton.

 

Tickets: £5

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Helen MortLandscape and I - A Celebration of Norman MacCaig

Presented by Jo Bell and Helen Mort

Friday 11 July
7.30pm – 9.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Scottish poet Norman MacCaig (1910 – 1996), wrote about his love of the Scottish landscapes. The poems seem simple, but from Gray Wagtail to A Man and A Boat, and in his anthemic poem Landscape and I, he makes a single incident stand for much more. Join Jo Bell and Helen Mort, whose collection, Division Street, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, to share their admiration for MacCaig with readings and discussion, plus some of their own poems.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Coffe CupPoetryokey at McKechnies

Saturday 12 & Saturday 19 July
2.00pm - 5.00pm
McKechnies Cafe, Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Two open sessions at McKenchnies, Stratford’s very own award-winning coffee house. A great opportunity for poets (16+) to perform their work over some of the best coffee in town!

Free Admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

Maura DooleyPoetry in Performance

with Maura Dooley and Jo Bell

Saturday 12 July
4.00pm – 5.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Jo Bell has a real talent for crafting poems that grasp the moment and this summer she has been writing about the Stratford Canal. She will be joined by Maura Dooley, whose most recent collection, Life Under Water, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Together they will read poems that celebrate the meaningfulness of our lives with wit and verve.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Seamus HeaneyFirst Things, Last Things,
a celebration of Seamus Heaney’s Poetry

Saturday 12 July
7.30pm – 8.30pm
Shakespeare Centre

When Seamus Heaney passed away last year, poetry lost one of its finest voices. From his first collection, Death of a Naturalist (1966), through to Human Chain (2010), his poetry has resonated across generations . Poet Maura Dooley and former Arts Council England Literature, Director Gary McKeone, share a deep affinity with Heaney’s work. Join them for an evening of readings (and music) to celebrate this distinguished Irish poet.

Adult: £12
Concession: £10
Friends: £9

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Under the Spelling Wall - The Poetry of Dylan ThomasUnder the Spelling Wall - The Poetry of Dylan Thomas

with Prof. John Goodby

Sunday 13 July
2.00pm – 3.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

2014 is the centenary of the birth of the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. John Goodby, Professor of Poetry at Swansea University, is an expert on Thomas and author of Under the Spelling Wall, a study of his work. In this talk he will illustrate his thoughts on Thomas as a post-modernist literary giant in a learned and entertaining fashion.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Prof john Goodby and David WoolleyPoetry in Performance

With Prof. John Goodby and David Woolley

Sunday 13 July
4.00pm – 5.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Cornish poet David Woolley is one of our most absorbing contemporary poets. His work has been described as “light of touch, full of humour and wisdom...as good in performance as on the page.” He will be joined by John Goodby for a recital of poetry that is both intriguing and powerful.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Dylan ThomasFern Hill and other Dylan Thomas

Sunday 13 July
7.30pm – 9.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Award-winning actor Guy Masterson is a wonderful performer of the work of Dylan Thomas, inspired by his great uncle, Richard Burton. Guy has performed both Under Milk Wood and Fern Hill internationally to enormous acclaim. Tonight he will live and breathe the words of the Welsh poet, telling the stories as if they were his own memories. Mesmerising!

Adult: £12
Concession: £10
Friends: £9

Book Tickets Online

 

 

A child writing poetryWrite Your Own Poetry

Workshop with Jo Bell

Wednesday 16 July
2.00pm – 4.30pm
Shakespeare Centre

Jo Bell describes her workshops as “enjoyable quick-fire exercises, designed to get you out of a writing rut and stretch your writing muscles regardless of your experience.” A delightful afternoon of friendly poetry writing, genuinely useful for all levels of experience. Please bring writing materials.

Adult: £15
Concession: £10
Friends: £10

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Local Poets' Evening

Wednesday 16 July
7.30pm – 9.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

This fun and unpredictable event features local poets reading their own work and others reading poems they admire. All are welcome to join in – or just come along to listen. Those who wish to read should arrive at 7pm and let the organisers know. Jo Bell will be there to share some of her new ‘Stratford’ poems.

Free Admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

Clapping spectatorsPeople's Poetry Sunday

Sunday 20 July
11.00am – 4.00pm
Across Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford comes alive with the sound of poetry – in its streets, gardens and on the river. Join us for a day of verse and music where there will be something for everyone!

Free admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

Georgina BiggsPerforming Poetry Workshop

with Georgina Biggs of Warwickshire Poetry Voices

Sunday 20 July
10.00am – 12.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Stretch your poetry and performance skills with Performer in Residence, Georgina Biggs. Explore ways of presenting poetry to an audience with confidence. Using a selection of poems Georgina will work with you to unpick the essence and translate it into a live performance. Open to all, from new to experienced performers, suitable for ages 15 and over.

Some participants will also have the opportunity to take part in the Warwickshire Poetry Voices Performance in the afternoon.

Adult: £6
Concession: £5
Friends: £4

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Young man reciting poetryWarwickshire Poetry Voices Performance

Sunday 20 July
2.00pm – 3.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Warwickshire Poetry Voices is a new participatory project developed by Warwickshire Libraries, designed to encourage local children, young people and adults to enjoy and perform poetry. This event will showcase solo and group performances, informal sharings of poems and Warwickshire's first poetry choir.

Free admission with limited places. To reserve a ticket please call 01789 201844

 

 

Jo Bell in performancePoetry from the 52 Project

Sunday 20 July
3.00pm – 4.30pm
Shakespeare Centre

Jo Bell created the online Project 52 with the slogan "Write a poem a week. Start now. Keep going" and her lively writing prompts have made 52 into a cult for poets. Thousands write each week and there are over 500 members of her online writing group. Today these writers - many of them established and published poets - will join Jo in a reading of the exciting material generated. 

Free admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

Siegfried Sassoon

A Poet’s War: Siegfried Sassoon and The Great War

Sunday 20 July
7.30pm – 9.30pm (including interval)
Shakespeare Centre

Devised by Roger Pringle, featuring Edward Bennett, Roxie Rogers and Benedict Hastings. No poet recorded the First World War more vividly, and with greater humanity, than Siegfried Sassoon. This programme draws on Sassoon’s poems, autobiographical writings, and diaries, interspersed with well-known songs sung at home and in the trenches, to create an unforgettable evening to mark the centenary of the start of the War.

Adult: £12
Concession: £10
Friends: £9

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Stratford PicturehouseReel to Reel: Poetry at Stratford Picturehouse

Monday 21 July
7.00pm 
Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse, Windsor Street

Join us for free open mic poetry performances to discover new talent and perhaps take the stage yourself. Plus a Reel Big Quiz! 

Free admission. No need to book, just come along!

 

 

Harvard HouseAll night writing workshop

Friday 25 / Saturday 26 July
10.00pm – 6.00am
Harvard House, High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

In the altered state between dawn and dusk you will be closeted away with Jo Bell and Zaffar Kunial (Faber New Poet and Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust). We will use this time of silence and secrecy to generate ideas about dreams, night time, light and dark - working together on lively and intensive exercises to coax new material out of poets at all levels.

Adult: £20
Concession: £18
Friends: £16

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Zaffar KunialShakespeare and Wordsworth

with Jo Bell and Zaffar Kunial

Saturday 26 July
7.30pm – 8.30pm
Shakespeare Centre

Zaffar Kunial will perform some of his poetry along with favourite works by William Wordsworth. Jo Bell returns the compliment with some choice verse by William Shakespeare and selections of her own poems. This will be a delicious evening of poetry from across four centuries.

Adult: £8
Concession: £7
Friends: £6

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Mike HardingMike Harding: Poet

Sunday 27th July
7.30pm – 9.00pm
Shakespeare Centre

Successful folk singer, TV presenter, comedian... Mike Harding has enjoyed a varied career and now focuses more on his work as a poet. His books include Crystal Set Dreams, Strange Lights Over Bexley Heath and his latest collection, Connemara Cantos. Join him for an evening of wonderfully engaging poetry from a wonderfully engaging performer.

Adult: £12
Concession: £10
Friends: £9

Book Tickets Online

 

 

Dame Judi DenchDesert Island Poems with Dame Judi Dench

Sunday 3 August
7.15pm – 9.00pm
StratfordArts House

Bringing this year’s festival to a glittering close is this very special evening in the company of Dame Judi Dench, who will be sharing her favourite poems. Prof. Stanley Wells will be in conversation with our guest, talking about her life in theatre and the reasons behind her selection and which one she would save from the incoming tide.

SOLD OUT

Please note: due to popular demand this event has relocated to allow an additional release of tickets. Please be advised that the new venue of Stratford ArtsHouse (formerly Stratford Civic Hall), 14 Rother Street, CV37 6LU