I am a performance poet with appeal for both children and adults, on a mission to reconnect poetry with people and people with poetry.
Since 1997, I have taken my lively mix of puckish poetics and heartfelt humour everywhere from Sheppey to Shanghai and from The Savoy Hotel to street corners, steam trains and a sitting room made entirely out of newspaper.
My first solo collection for children THE DICTIONARY OF DADS will be published on May 18th 2017 by Otter-Barry Books.
In the meantime, I continue to tour my spoken word theatre shows for young people across the country; Big Wow Small Wonder (produced by Half Moon Theatre) and Boy's Don't (with Papertale) are touring in 2017.
Having cut my teeth as compere of an open-mike poetry platform in Hastings and as host and co-ordinator of Don't Feed the Poets!, one of the south coast's longest running spoken word cabarets, my work remains rooted in community and eductional settings.
I love working in schools and I have also enjoyed working on educational projects with Hastings Pier Trust, Dyslexia Action and Glyndebourne Opera, amongst many others. Recent commisisons have included writing poems about Chatham for the Chatham Placemaking Project, a new housing estate in Ashford and "My Mate Margate" as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.
I was born on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, but now live across the estuary in Southend-on-sea.
Poetry: The Dictionary of Dads, forthcoming solo collection published by Otter-Barry Books 2017
Poems published in Children’s Poetry Anthologies include Born To Giggle (Save The Children 2012), Does My Face Fit? (A & C Black 2011), The Jumble Book (Macmillan 2009) Recycling Grandad (A&C Black)and The Secret Life of Pants (A&C Black 2006) and Forgotten Letters (an anthology of dyslexic writers).
Oral History: By The Dome, It’s Home (with Benjamin Evans) 2010. (Interviews and poems I conducted/facilitated from residents of The Woodgrange Drive estate, Southend.)
Spoken Word Theatre Shows:
I have written and performed six full length solo spoken word theatre shows for young people since 2010.
2017 - Boy's Don't (one of four performers in this Papertale production addressing the theme of boys and crying).
2016 - Are We Being Silly? Funded by Essex County Council Arts Development and supported by Queens Theatre, Hornchurch, AWBS? is a fun interactive family show celebrating the joys of word play and poetry
2016 - Big Wow Small Wonder. Produced by Half Moon Theatre with support from Arts Council England. It's a one-person spoken word comedy adventure about the wonders of being small, for children 5 - 9 years. Touring nationally including Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, Shoreditch Town Hall, Komedia, Brighton, Spark Festival, Nottinghamshire and Reading Libraries.
2015 - The Book of Record Breaking Rhymes. Commissioned by Southend Libraries for the Summer
Reading Challenge, this was interactive show for children and families based on the Guinness Book of Records.
2014 -2015 One Way Ticket. Co-written and performed with Rosie Harris and Sophie Rose, One Way Ticket was
produced by Papertale Productions, Apples and Snakes and The Half Moon Theatre. OWT was about the child migration scandal of the 1950's when British children were sent in their thousands to brutal institutions in Australia. OWT toured nationally including Salisbury Playhouse, V and A Museum of Childhood and promenade performances on moored ships in Gillingham and Southampton and won a five star review from childrenstheatre.com
2013 - My Creepy-Crawly Story House. An interactive show about mini- beasts for young audiences 4 -8. The show was developed for Southend Libraries for the summer Reading Challenge. Toured regionally in October 2013.
2012 - The Dictionary of Dads. An interactive celebration of fatherhood for family audiences for a one-off performance at Southend Children's book festival. Originally commissioned as part of my role as Associate Artist for The Lit-Up Conference at the Albany Theatre in 2011, the show has since influence a brand new book of children's poetry to be published by Otter-Barry books in 2017. 2010 - The Jumble Book. A spoken word show aimed at young people 7 plus, exploring the story of a dyslexic boy and his struggle at school. Nominated for Best Children’s Show at the Brighton Fringe in 2010, the show later lent it's name to an anthology of children's poetry raising money for Dyslexia Action.
Selected Workshops and Education Projects include:
Various Regular 1-day performances and workshops in primary schools, secondary schools, nurseries, colleges and special needs schools throughout the UK and beyond. Organisations and agencies that have promoted me include The Poetry Society, Classact Agency, New Writing South and Children’s Discovery Centre.
Projects have included; a 12 week spoken word theatre course at The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch with young people aged 12-15...a series of workshops with visiting schools on Hastings Pier with Hastings Pier Trust...two weeks with Snap Theatre Company helping young people from primary schools on The Isle of Sheppey create narrative poetry as part of their “Our Home Our History” drama project...working with TTSA and four schools in the Thurrock area (two primary schools, one special needs and a secondary school)around issues of shared empathy and respect...a Book Week residency, working with Year 1 – Year 13 young people at Yew Chung International School, Shanghai, China...ten Creative Partnership projects with schools, including a school for pupils with emotional and behavioural issues, between 2006-2011....a transition project writing a libretto with Glyndebourne Opera and Year 6 and Year 7 pupils in West Sussex...working with Year 2 children creating a Word Orchestra with Animate and The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury...wriitng Haiku poems with Year 5 children in Gillingham, as part of a celebration of Medway born Will Adams....and many other projects.
Commissions include; Apples and Snakes Public Address III tour (a twenty minute spoken word theatre piece, Village Jesus, alongside other commisioned artists)...Chatham Placemaking Project, researching, writing and performing a filmed poem, celebrating the history of Railway Street and Military Road in Chatham, Kent...Repton Community Centre, working with young people to create poetry to influence the future design of their community centre, plus a commissioned work.....Reading and Rhyming, a presentation for teachers on Dyslexia and Reading/Writing for Pleasure, commissioned by Greenwich Council...Host the Boat, producing a poem about Margate to welcome crew members of The Collective Spirit, alongside facilitating workshops with people with learning disabilities and EASL students....Canterbury’s Tale, creating a CD of seven new poems for children on contemporary Canterbury characters with an accompanying educational resource for The European City of Culture Friend-ship...The World Cup of Words..writing and performing original audience-interactive family shows For Kent Libraries throughout the summers of 2003-2006.
Selected Performances 1997-2016
Compering: Other Words Open-Mike, Hastings (monthly 1997 – 2004), Divine Church of Comedy, Hastings (monthly 2004- 2006), Don’t Feed The Poets Cabaret (1999 - 2008 ), Judge and Compere of Canterbury Festival Schools Poetry Competition (2004 – 2007) and others…
Festivals: Brighton Fringe Festival, Hereford Children’s Book Festival, Rotherham Children’s Book Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Cheltenham Literature Festival(with Gorilla Poets), Canterbury Festival, Glastonbury Poetry Tent, Big Green Gathering, Greenbelt
Other Random Performances: Poet on the Train (at Amberley Working Museum), Word on the Street(Eastbourne Town Centre), Dyslexia Action Awards Dinner (Savoy Hotel), West Norwood Poetry Garden (with Lemn Sissay), Tooting Library supporting John Hegley), plus various theatre, pub and cabaret venues.
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