BEYOND THE WATER’S EDGE
By Ann Evans
Beyond the Water’s Edge: Poetry from our world is the brand new poetry-theatre show produced by Midland Creative Projects in association with Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and Bloodaxe Books.
The show which premiers on 1st and 2nd July before touring the UK, brings together contemporary poems selected from around the world. Stories of love, loss and everyday life from the world’s best poets, brilliantly woven into a musical, theatrical narrative that encompasses humour, drama, joy and disappointment – all the things that people share.
Created by executive producer Jonathan Davidson and co-producer Antonia Beck, and directed by Steve Byrne from Interplay Theatre, the whole show is brought to life by three amazingly versatile musicians/performers – Jill Dowse, Dan McGarry and Nate Ryan.
Jonathan Davidson explained how this latest production all came about. “We said to Bloodaxe Books that we wanted to make another show and asked them to send us every poem that they’d ever published over the last 40 years. We had 8,000 poems to look through, from these we read 800 poems and selected 35.
“All of the poems are in English. Some have been translated from their original language and have never been performed in English before. Some have never even been heard before – so lots of premiers. The oldest poem is about 60 years old and the most recent are only a year or so old.”
Jonathan went on to explain that the poems featured are by poets from dozens of countries, from Chile to Estonia and all points between. Well-known poets whose work features in the production include the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who won the Nobel Prize the Literature in 2011, and the celebrated German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht.
Many of the poems were written by poets who risked falling out of favour with their governments, including works by the Romanian poet Marin Sorescu, who managed to write beautifully witty poems despite living at a time when his country regularly persecuted writers. Some of the poems tell stories of migration and asylum, particularly from the Middle East and Africa.
Jonathan added: “Poetry is becoming an increasingly important way for us to speak about our times. The poems in this production offer us life with all its joys and challenges – there are poems to make us laugh and poems to make us reflect. Laced together with original music from our three performers, this will be an extraordinary experience for anyone who loves poetry or live theatre.”
It’s appropriate that a show featuring poetry from around the world premiers at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre as Coventry is twinned with many towns and cities worldwide. Also, the name of the theatre was chosen in recognition and thanks for a gift of timber from the Serbian capital city of Belgrade that was used in the construction of the auditorium back in 1958. There is in fact a Serbian poem in the show.
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, Beyond the Water’s Edge is the fifth production from Midland Creative Project in association with Bloodaxe Books – the leading poetry publishers in the UK, and follows on from the success of Being Human and The Hundred Years War. With set design by Talking Birds, original music composed by the cast, Beyond the Water’s Edge embarks on a UK tour this autumn and spring of 2017.
For tickets and show times of the premier performances at the Belgrade Theatre please go to: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/poetry-performance
Tour dates available soon. http://www.midlandcreative.co.uk/