Poetry is set in motion

IT’S a World Premiere for De Warenne sixth formers, who are to perform a dramatic reading of a poem by Mexborough’s renowned modern-day poet Ian Parks.

The poem Beowulf is a new piece for five voices, based on the Anglo Saxon story.

Head of drama at Conisbrough’s De Warenne Academy, Helen Hunt, said: “This is very exciting for us to be able to present a performance of a brand new piece before any other theatre companies get the chance”!

Ian is to rehearse with students in school, and new drama teacher Megan Grinsill will perform one role alongside the lucky sixth formers.

Award-winning Ian Parks, 51, has been described as the finest love poet of his generation. Well published, and with a number of collections including A Climb through Altered Landscapes (Blackwater 1998), and an impressive career history including time at Oxford University and on a shcolarship in the USA, he is also a panelist for the TMA Theatre Awards.

Last week he visited Northcliffe for the first time to meet students and discuss their production of his poem.

Ms Hunt said: “The poem is really more of a play, as it is written in prose form. We aim to create a really strong atmosphere by using sound and lighting effects, and a great deal of gesture within the performance.

“Ian has worked within many schools and is extremely enthusiastic. That enthusiasm transfers to other people too”.

The Beowulf tale follows a warrior who builds a mead house for soldiers to rest in. But a monster lives close by who comes across the moors and eats the soldiers. Beowulf hears of this and visits from a far off land to slay the monster, then achieves his objective. But the monster’s mother is out for revenge....

“It’s quite a bloodthirsty tale and we may present it in two sections”, added Ms Hunt. “We will keep the setting and costumes quite plain so that all focus is on the voice - there isn’t actually that much movement”.

It is expected the production will be shown around Easter at school, after which it is to be done professionally in Leeds next year. Ian Parks claims that “you can’t go around looking for poems; they’ll arrive out of your experience and, to some extent, dictate the sort of poet you’re going to be”.