Here at Literature Works, we're intrigued and excited by live literature which offers audiences the opportunity to engage and interact with words in new and unexpected ways. We caught up with South West based Juliet Bird to find out more about her new show What Days We're Having Now.
‘I’ve made poetry shows with pyrotechnics in the past’ writes Julia Bird of Jaybird Live Literature ‘and I’ve staged others in haunted houses and car park yurts. This new show is going to go one better.’
This show is What Days We’re Having Now, the combined and staged work of young poets Ella Frears, Will Harris and Alex MacDonald. Jaybird has been making touring poetry shows for more than a decade, putting poets on stage and borrowing tricks of the theatrical trade to highlight their work. The company has worked with established, award winning writers including Jo Shapcott and Daljit Nagra, but also has a knack for bringing emerging poets to the stage – like Sarah Howe and Kayo Chingonyi – at the beginning of some very exciting careers.
‘I realised I’d rewritten The Wizard of Oz when I ordered all this new show’s poems’ adds Julia. The poems – 50 minutes’ worth – start off set indoors, then they venture into the country and into the city before returning home. ‘They are all poems that Ella, Will and Alex have previously written. I arrange them so there’s a coherent journey through a selection of work. We don’t tell a story exactly, but the concerns of one poem speak to the next and then the next. By the end of the show, I hope the audience has experienced a range of emotions and settled in an uplifting place.’
‘The starting point for What Days We’re Having Now was a visit we made to Exeter with our show The Retold Ramayana a few years ago. The audience was very young, and the feedback was fantastic. We started to wonder what might happen if we made a show that worked for a general audience, but put young people’s concerns at its heart. All ages experience the joys and alarms of love, work and the imagination – but there’s something very vital about these feelings when you’re encountering them for the first time. Our poets are young, our team of marketing assistants is just starting out (the youngest is 15) and we will visit lots of schools and colleges on our tour.’
‘What days we’re having now with no vanishing point / and time like fat snakes rubbing against our ankles, / where I can feel the breeze and know myself.’ says Alex in his poem ‘Gigantic Days’. Whether you’re navigating your youth or making sense of it from a position of maturity, What Days We’re Having Now is the map you need.
What Days We’re Having Now tours from June 2018 to July 2019. It’s flexible enough to fit in a fully technically equipped theatre or an empty classroom. For more details, visit the website