Being Human opens tonight at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, at 8pm. There are still some tickets available but actually not that many, which is great. I know lots of poetry poeple and those who wouldn’t call themselves such are attending and we are looking forward to a great evening. There is also a Pre Show talk at 6.45pm, free to ticket holders, with Neil Astley and Simon Thirsk of Bloodaxe Books.
Back to the show. I’ve seen various work in progress and a technical run through and I think we have a really excellent piece of art. Each of the poems is given the space they need to be heard and understood, but marshalled together – like an anthology – they make something else, something greater perhaps than the sum of the parts.
To thank for this are the performers, Barrett, Ben and Ellie, but also our director, Steve Byrne (of Interplay), and our creative team, Janet Vaughan, Derek Nisbet and Arnim Friess. Steve has done really detailed, perceptive work with the performers to find our way into the poems. Some poems offer immediate rewards, others need to be worked with. Always, he has looked for the best way to release the poems to our audiences, keeping the centre of gravity on the poems and those who will hear them.
The design of the show is, I hope audiences will agree, really beautifully. I won’t say too much as many of you will see it shortly, but Janet Vaughan and Arnim Friess have done a wonderful job in offering just the right level of visual input and helping to create a whole picture. And Derek Nisbit’s music is beautifully counterpointed to the poems and the performers and the use of other sounds… well, I won’t say too much now but it is really masterly; subtle, understated but not afraid to grab us when needs be.
Alison Willcox is our company manager and technical manager and is supremely cool even at this late stage. And Antonia Beck, my Assistant Producer, has led on the selection of poems (as well as much else) and has offered us a tremendously moving and challenging series of poems with which to work. Thanks also to Sharon Foster, our PR and Tour Booker, who has persuaded venues the length and breadth of the nation to take Being Human on tour and last but certainly not least to Neil Astley and Simon Thirsk of Bloodaxe Books for their generous support, and particularly to Neil for editing the wonderful Being Human anthology on which the show is based.
Jonathan Davidson, Producer, Being Human – Poetry in Performance.