We simply can’t get enough of Shakespeare here at The Reader Organisation, and after the marvellous Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare’s Globe a couple of months ago we’re thrilled to have another fabulous company join us at Calderstones Mansion House Garden to give us their version of one of the Bard’s other classic comedies.
PurpleCoat Productions is a film and theatre group based in the North West of England, creating innovative, exciting and exhilarating work to local and national audiences. With support coming from Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen and working alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company, PurpleCoat are definitely certified to tackle the Bard’s plays, with previous performances including Titus Andronicus and Romeo and Juliet, and we’re very pleased that they’ll be bringing Twelfth Night (or What You Will) in their first touring production to Calderstones on Friday 5th September. If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the recent Everyman version then it’s the perfect opportunity to see the play performed by a talented local cast in beautfiul surrounding perfect for Shakespeare.
Twelfth Night on Tour will be whistle-stop, performing in 6 different cities over 6 nights, so it’s bound to be an energetic and thrilling ride. The show is already underway as casting decisions have been made and rehearsals are going ahead. You can stay up to date with all of the behind-the-scenes action as it happens from PurpleCoat on the Twelfth Night on Tour blog, with lots of fascinating insights already up…: http://twelfthnightontour.wordpress.com/
And to whet your appetite even more, check out the fabulous trailer below:
Twelfth Night on Tour plays at Calderstones Mansion House Garden on Friday 5th September. Tickets cost £10 (£8 concessions) and are available to buy at Calderstones Mansion House or via The Reader Organisation website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events/purplecoat-productions-presents-twelfth-night
Please note: there is a £1.20 booking fee for online bookings.
The performance will be held outdoors, so please bring along suitable waterproof clothing and a chair or blanket to enjoy the performance to its full potential.
Continuing to think about the literature that emerged from the First World War, this week’s Featured Poem comes from Wilfred Owen, who is often the first name to come to mind when we think of war poetry.
Owen has strong ties to Birkenhead, where he lived with his family after the death of his grandfather. Not too far away in Cheshire was where his poetic vocation was realised, with strong influence coming from the Romantic movement. This may come as a surprise considering he is most famed for his verse which holds no bars against conveying the bleak and violent nature of war. His poetry was influenced by fellow soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon, whom he met at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh receiving treatment for shellshock.
Though his poetry shows disillusionment and heavy criticism of the nature of ‘The Great War’, Owen returned to the Front in August 1918, and was awarded the Military Cross for his courage and leadership. He was killed in action exactly one week almost to the hour of the signing of the Armistice which would signal the end of the war in November 1918, also being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant the day after his death.
This thought provoking and poignant poem about how we might consider the different interpretations of ‘beauty’ is particularly resonant as we commemorate those lost in battle.
The beautiful, the fair, the elegant,
Is that which pleases us, says Kant,
Without a thought of interest or advantage.
I used to watch men when they spoke of beauty
And measure their enthusiasm. One
An old man, seeing a setting sun,
Praised it a certain sense of duty
To the calm evening and his time of life.
I know another man that never says a Beauty
But of a horse;
Men seldom speak of beauty, beauty as such,
Not even lovers think about it much.
Women of course consider it for hours
A shrapnel ball -
Just where the wet skin glistened when he swam -
Like a fully-opened sea-anemone.
We both said ‘What a beauty! What a beauty, lad’
I knew that in that flower he saw a hope
Of living on, and seeing again the roses of his home.
Beauty is that which pleases and delights,
Not bringing personal advantage – Kant.
But later on I heard
A canker worked into that crimson flower
And that he sank with it
And laid it with the anemones off Dover
Actor, broadcaster and beloved figure of British culture Stephen Fry is a keen supporter of the art of reading aloud (given the quote above straight from the man himself) and you’ll hear him take a closer insight at the practice on his latest radio programme – featuring input from some of our Readers.
Fry’s English Delight is currently in its seventh series on BBC Radio 4 (Mondays), exploring the ‘highways and byways’ of the English language. In the next episode, Reading Aloud comes under the spotlight as Stephen investigates the art from Roman times right up to the present day.
We’re delighted to be featured in the episode, to be broadcast on Monday 18th August at 9am (repeated at 9.30pm the same day), with some of our reading group members who were recorded as part of one of our groups at Calderstones Mansion House talking about the importance of reading aloud and what it means to them.
If you’re a lover of the English language as well as literature, it’s an unmissable series – previous episodes have already covered the mysterious language of magic and the punishing business of proper nouns and capital letters.
You can listen in and find out more about Fry’s English Delight on the Radio 4 website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lv1k1
And don’t forget to make a date in your diary for Monday 18th August!
Head to the ‘Reading With Us’ page of our website for a full list of all of our current open shared reading groups running around the country: http://www.thereader.org.uk/reading-with-us