Our History

Established in 2006, JLL is a London-based company working with writers, venues, festivals, promoters and educators to devise projects which entertain and edify bookish audiences.

Tours and Projects

Image Description

Our speciality is the poetry show: we work with poets, directors and designers to create subtly theatricalised poetry performances which tour to theatres and arts centres. Our shows have played dozens of dates to thousands of people. We have poetry skills and pyrotechnic skills, and deploy them both in the service of the word!

We also work on literature exhibition projects, collaborating with writers and visual artists.

Jaybird Live Literature’s tours and ongoing organisational development have been generously supported by Arts Council England.

We are committed to developing opportunities for up-and-coming arts producers and administrators, so each of our tours has its own trainee programme. If you are interested one of our traineeships, keep in touch via our newsletter, Twitter and Facebook and watch out for the invitation to apply.

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Who we are

  • Julia Bird

    Julia Bird

    Jaybird Live Literature’s founder has twenty years' experience as a literature promoter, working for the Poetry Book Society, the Poetry School and the Poetry Society among others. Before founding Jaybird Live Literature, she produced tours as a freelancer for the British Council and the Poetry Translation Centre. Her own poetry collections are published by Salt and The Emma Press. She writes 'Jaybird Live Literature’s name is obviously based on mine ... but a jay is Britain’s closest answer to a bird of paradise with its blue, black and white wing flashes. You don’t see them that often, but when you do spot them, it’s a treat! We are happy to share these attributes with our avian namesake.'

  • Phoebe Stout

    Phoebe Stout

    Phoebe directs Jaybird Live Literature's poetry shows, moving the poets gracefully through time and space. She was born in 1979 and grew up in Gloucestershire, going on to train as an actor/director at Cygnet Training Theatre in Devon. Her directing credits include Hobson's Choice (Assistant Director), The Knicker Lady (Co-Director) and several one act plays including Two Women and a Chair and Birds in Church. Performances include Rosie in Snailly (a new play written by two Devon poets) and Clara in Not Anymore. She has also worked in the design department for BBC costume dramas.

  • John Castle

    John Castle

    Apart from our acoustic show I Gaze From My Kitchen Like An Astronaut, John has designed the lighting for all our shows through his company John Castle Sound & Lighting. He trained us all to operate the pyrotechnics in What Are They Whispering? - we still think we've never seen another show that combines poetry and fireworks before.

  • Your Name Here ...

    Your Name Here ...

    Jaybird Live Literature collaborates on projects with other organisations and individuals, and occasionally manages projects for other organisations - please get in contact if you've got an idea to discuss.


  • Beatrix Joyce

    Beatrix Joyce

    A dance graduate, Beatrix worked with us on Clare Pollard's Ovid's Heroines show.

  • Tamar Saphra

    Tamar Saphra

    Tamar graduated in theatre from Sheffield University and was the trainee associated with The Retold Ramayana. She also directed the Beginning to See the Light live show for us.

  • Harry Mackrill

    Harry Mackrill

    Harry was one of the director trainees on I Gaze From My Kitchen Like An Astronaut and went on to work for the Almeida Theatre.

  • Collette McCarthy

    Collette McCarthy

    Collette was also a director trainee on I Gaze From My Kitchen Like An Astronaut and went on to work for the RSC.

  • Ryan Ormonde

    Ryan Ormonde

    Ryan was the production trainee on What Are They Whispering? and has gone on to produce his own poetry events through http://www.pressfreepress.com/

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