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Poetry Fest 2019

Shakespeare: a meeting-place for all poets

Join us for family friendly events, workshops, music and much more!

This year’s Poetry Fest is bursting at the seams with new writing from Raymond Antrobus, Julia Copus and Michael Rosen, as well as new music by Nancy Kerr and Will Pound. We are proud to welcome the Young Warwickshire Poet Laureate, Hannah Owens, into our midst, as well as our specially-commissioned poet-in-residence, Romalyn Ante. There are opportunities to learn more about the craft of writing and speaking poetry in our new weekday workshops.


Roy McFarlane
Roy McFarlane

POETRY FEST '19 PROGRAMME

Saturday 15 June

Roy McFarlane, 11am - 3pm

Roy McFarlane joins our acting company Shakespeare Aloud! for some poetry mischief and word wars, Shakespeare or not to Shakespeare?

Included in your entry ticket - Shakespeare's Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW


Sunday 16 June

Matt Windle
Matt Windle

International Poetry Picnic, 12pm - 4pm

Pull up a picnic blanket at this family friendly event set to inspire and delight, with a day full of fun activities and live performance, bringing together poetry lovers of all ages! Guest poet, Matt Windle, Birmingham poet laureate 2016-2018, will perform his work alongside poetry written by local and international primary school children. Have a go at writing or performing a poem at the ‘Shakespeare imagination station’ or simply relax and enjoy the performances!

FREE just turn up to Hall's Croft Garden (free entry to Hall's Croft garden only)

Roy McFarlane, 11am - 3pm

Roy McFarlane joins our acting company Shakespeare Aloud! for some poetry mischief and word wars, Shakespeare or not to Shakespeare?

Included in your entry ticket - Shakespeare's Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Will Pound
Will Pound
Michael Pennington
Michael Pennington

European Connections, 7pm - 9pm

An evening of poetry sharing the delights, drawbacks and dramas of travelling and living on the continent. Featuring work by a host of notable English poets including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, the Brownings, D.H. Lawrence, Auden, Elizabeth Jennings and Lawrence Durrell, read by Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Michael Pennington. Devised by Roger Pringle as a topical contribution to this year's festival, the event will also feature music from the traditions of Europe performed by ‘flat out genius harmonica player’ (Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2) Will Pound

Tickets: Adults £20 Concession £15 - The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - European Connections


Michael Corbidge
Michael Corbidge

Monday 17 June 

Voice workshop - Finding, Freeing and Owning Your Effective Voice, 11am & 2pm

Join Michael Corbidge Senior Voice and Text Associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company for some fun 'sound' play direct from the RSC's Rehearsal Room. This voice workshop will share with budding poets, writers and speakers how to get the best from their material. Building some of the essential skills and fundamental tool kit to explore the voice and its message actively.

A practical session to unlock a good, clear, natural, open and ‘owned’ voice.

  • How to discover your range and keep it flexible
  • Building awareness of vocal problems
  • Maintaining good vocal habits
  • Understanding the muscularity of thought and how meaning can be sent clearly and effectively to the listener.

No previous experience needed!

Tickets: Adults £20, Concessions £15 
Venue: Poets Arbour, Shakespeare's New Place, Chapel Street, CV37 6EP (go to the main entrance of New Place)

Book Now - Voice workshop

Roz Goddard
Roz Goddard
Casey Bailey
Casey Bailey

Poetry Open Mic Night, 7pm - 9pm

Come and join us for a relaxed open mic event. We welcome you to take part in reading some of your own poetry as well as hearing performances from Roz Goddard and Casey Bailey. Hosted by Wendy Freeman and Birmingham Poet Laureate 2019 Richard O’Brien. 

Please arrive by 7pm to register if you would like to read. The event starts at 7:30pm

FREE No ticket required, just turn up at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW


Romalyn Ante
Romalyn Ante

Tuesday 18 June

Creative writing workshop - Invoking the magic of place in your poetry, 11am & 2pm

How do we find magic in everyday situations and places? How does our poetry respond to a physical place? Join Romalyn Ante in this two hour workshop, where you'll look at practical ways of exploring how a specific locus corresponds to our identity. We will read and talk about poems on place. We will also create a unique poem about our own special/memorable place.

Tickets: Adults £20, Concessions £15
Venue: Poets Arbour, Shakespeare's New Place, Chapel Street, CV37 6EP (go to the main entrance of New Place)

Book Now - Creative writing workshop

Hannah Owens
Hannah Owens

Double bill: Romalyn Ante & Hannah Owens, 7pm - 8.30pm

Two award-winning poets come together to read from their work. Romalyn Ante, our poet in residence with The Hosking Houses Trust, is originally from the Philippines and writes powerfully about her cultural and personal encounters with people and place. She was the winner of the Poetry London Clore Prize (2018). She is joined by the 2019 Warwickshire's Young Poet Laureate, Hannah Owens, from Princethorpe College. Hannah was originally from Jersey and now lives in Warwickshire. She is starting to see how the landscape of canals, Shakespeare and larger cities has begun to influence her writing. 

Tickets: Adults £10 Concession £8
Venue: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - Romalyn Ante & Hannah Owens


Wednesday 19 June

Aoife Mannix
Aoife Mannix

Poetry Surgery with Aoife Mannix, 10am - 4pm (half hour slots)

Book a half hour slot with Aoife and discuss your writing with constructive feedback and advice for development.

Aoife Mannix has published four collections of poetry and a novel. She has previously been poet in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Portsmouth Museum and BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Please email two poems two weeks in advance to poetry.festival@shakespeare.org.uk for Aoife to review before you arrive for your booked session.

Tickets: Adults £20 Concessions £15
Venue: Poets Arbour, Shakespeare's New Place, Chapel Street, CV37 6EP (go to the main entrance of New Place)

Book Now - Poetry Surgery

A Stanza for Stratford, 6pm - 7pm

Join local Poetry Society members and hear them read from their new work. 

FREE No ticket required, just turn up at The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Poetry Mass, 7:30pm - 8:45pm

A gathering of culturally diverse, multi-ethnic poems from different faiths presented in the beautiful surroundings of the town's very own Guild Chapel.  This is an opportunity to express our shared sense of gratitude for the gift of poetry in our lives and in the context of a service of thanksgiving (Holy Communion). People of all faiths or none are welcome. Presented in partnership with the Stratford Town Trust. Led by Paul Edmondson

FREE - Guild Chapel, Chapel Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EP


Thursday 20 June

Raymond Antrobus
Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus reads from The Perseverance, 7pm - 8pm

The Perseverance is the remarkable debut of British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus winner of the 2019 Ted Hughes prize. Ranging across history and continents, it is a book of loss, contested language and praise, where elegies for the poet's father sit alongside meditation on the d/Deaf experience. This event will be BSL interpreted.

Tickets: Adults £10 Concession £8
Venue: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - Raymond Antrobus


Friday 21 June

Julia Copus
Julia Copus

Julia Copus: a poet in conversation, 7pm - 8:30pm

Join Multi-award-winning poet, Julia Copus as she talks to us about her new collection, Girlhood (Faber and Faber 2019) which explores 'transgressed boundaries and seductive veneers'. She's just produced a fascinating new anthology too: Life Support: 100 poems to reach for on dark nights (Harper Collins, 2019).

Tickets: Adults £10 Concession £8
Venue: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - Julia Copus


Saturday 22 June

Love Settle
The Love Settle

Sonnets performed just for you  - 10am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm

Perch upon 'The Love Settle' designed and created by Lee Lapthorne and enjoy the romantic surroundings as we share a Shakespearean sonnet performed just for you.

Included in your entry ticket - Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 9HH

Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen: Poems and Stories for kids, 11am & 2pm

Join one of the UK's best loved writers and performance poets for children and adults, Michael Rosen, for a special family event. Michael will perform some of his favourite poems and stories for children as featured on his popular YouTube channel, and also talk about what makes Shakespeare so special. 

Aimed at children aged 6+ and their families.

Tickets: All tickets £7
Venue: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - Michael Rosen

Shakespeare Aloud!
Shakespeare Aloud!

A Midsummer Celebration: Sobootka, songs and stories, 4pm - 7:30pm

Bringing together traditions from across Europe, we invite you to celebrate midsummer and share in the songs, dance and stories of old. Enjoy performances from our special guest poet and acting company Shakespeare Aloud! Curated with the Polish Cultural Institute, enjoy fun activities for all and gather around a beautiful bonfire for this family-friendly event with an exciting European flavour!

Tickets: All tickets £7 

Venue: Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 9HH

Book Now - Midsummer Celebration


Sunday 23 June

Love Settle
The Love Settle

Sonnets performed just for you  - 10am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm

Perch upon 'The Love Settle' designed and created by Lee Lapthorne and enjoy the romantic surroundings as we share a Shakespearean sonnet performed just for you.

Included in your entry ticket - Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 9HH

Nancy Kerr
Nancy Kerr

Citizen of Stratford: poetry, drama and songs inspired by the Shakespeare Jubilee, 7pm - 9pm

Two hundred and fifty years ago, the greatest actor of his age, David Garrick, led a major civic celebration, the Shakespeare Jubilee - full of songs and poems in praise of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwickshire. Our closing festival event will feature material from that great occasion, and new poetry inspired by Shakespeare written in more recent times. Marking the anniversary of the Jubilee, the event will also premiere specially commissioned songs by award-winning folk musician Nancy Kerr, ‘a songwriter steeped in tradition, but casting it anew.’ Songlines

Join David Garrick (played by David Ajao) actress Lucy Phelps and Nancy Kerr outside Shakespeare's Birthplace (on Henley Street) for some Jubilee songs, before we move inside the Shakespeare Centre for the rest of the evening's event.

David Ajao
David Ajao

Join David Garrick (played by David Ajao) actress Lucy Phelps and Nancy Kerr outside Shakespeare's Birthplace (on Henley Street) for some Jubilee songs, before we move inside the Shakespeare Centre for the rest of the evening's event. Everyone is welcome to join in the singing, or just to listen. To learn the songs in advance, follow us Twitter or Facebook @shakespeareBT.

We will then move inside to the Shakespeare Centre to enjoy the rest of the event.

Tickets: Adults £20, Concession £15
Venue: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6QW

Book Now - Citizen of Stratford

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