Poetry is Fun! Fact.

Last week I was privileged enough to get involved with some fantastically passionate young poets in ‘Poet’s Platform’ at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

My previous poetry experience is purely school day studies of the likes of Sylvia Plath; where inanimate text was meticulously dissected and analysed. For me it was not an enjoyable experience, I found accessing poetry to be static, laborious and not really on my teenage wavelength. And that was that… or so I thought. If someone had invited me to a poetry performance I would have simply and respectfully told them my hair needed extensive washing.

When I was first asked to get involved in signing some of a poetry performance I imagined a fairly slow paced, static affair, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Arriving at the first rehearsal I was blown away by the contemporary material and passion of these young poets and their art form, honestly, I left with goosebumps.

After a short, jam-packed rehearsal period, a highly physical, visual, dynamic piece was formed that completely shattered my preconceptions of poetry.

Here are some things I discovered through the short process:

  • Poetry is fun. Fact!
  • Poetry doesn’t have to be inactive.
  • Poetry can be funny (and I don’t just mean limericks).
  • Poetry truly comes alive on stage in performance.
Feedback board

The audience seemed to enjoy it, this is their response to the performance.

The show was not advertised as deaf accessible but it was great to experiment with integrating some sign language in to the performance. It highlighted a glimpse of the future potential. Although, I found my biggest challenge (apart from the time constraint) was performing in a studio space with audience on 3 sides. It was an impossible task for the audience to see all of the signs and trying to include all three sides played havoc with my BSL placement! It was indeed a welcomed challenge and an enjoyable experiment.  Whilst written/spoken poetry and BSL poetry are separate and valid art forms in their own right, I believe a fusion of the two would be exciting and I hope the theatre consider the possibility of using deaf poets in the future.

For those interested in deaf poetry, check out the links below (thanks to @DeafFirefly for the info)

http://lifeanddeaf.co.uk/pages/deafpoets.php
http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/sites/micsl/about/

If you missed ‘Poet’s Platform’ directed by Kat Francois and Deanna Roger at Theatre Royal Stratford East, 17th-18th Feb 2012 then have a look and a listen to the young people’s poetry on the theatre’s Youtube channel. And spread the word; Poetry if fun! Fact.

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