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  • Pregnant Medea

    We've come to the end of the Spring run of Ovid's Heroines now, not least because Clare is expecting a baby. She writes 'I’m particularly going to miss being on the road with producer Julia Bird and our technical expert John Castle, but as the set fits in a suitcase, future revivals are not impossible. Here’s hoping. In the meantime, it was becoming hard (at seven and a half months pregnant) to get up off my knees angrily at the climax of Medea, so perhaps its a good time to take a break! Many thanks to the Arts Council for their support.' and a longer write up of her experience is here

    Behind the scenes, there is a bit of financial juggling and piggy bank jiggling going on which - we hope - will allow us to book a few more performances later in the year. More details as we have 'em.

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  • Ovid Reviews

    Another Jaybird visit to the Durham Book Festival, where Clare barnstormed her performance last Sunday afternoon, and then visited Durham Johnston School for a croissants-and-Medea breakfast discussion session with A level Classics students on Monday. And the bloggers have reviewed us, first Abigail Johnson of readdurhamenglish.wordpress.com who writes -

    ' ... This is a show which is self-consciously provocative – and if the reaction of a Durham audience is anything to go by, it is a resounding success. Outside the theatre a girl gesticulates angrily at her friend, riled by what she sees as the stereotyped misogyny of the fearsome Medea being made by Pollard to fall to her knees in supplication to Jason, seconds after she rips at the stage drapery in fury at her desertion. As a viewer versed in the Heroides might know, this is not an unfair rendering of Ovid’s Latin witch. Yet Pollard’s poems are also the result of a rich sedimentation that even the listener most familiar with the dialects of both classical and modern literary culture would struggle to fully digest. It is the emotional urgency of the performance that sustains its accessible and engaging core, producing a show that both entertains and encourages us to think critically about the politics and power-imbalances that condition, and are conditioned by, any narrative act.'

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  • Gratitude Attitude

    Just back from Latitude, where Clare performed a festival-friendly version of Ovid's Heroines to 100+ sunburnt souls in the poetry tent on Sunday morning. That's the first big festival Jaybird Live Lit has done, so thanks for having us, Latitude - we had a fine old time.

    That's the first half of Clare's tour complete. Clare, Medea and all the other women will be having a breather over the summer, and we'll be back in the Autumn for half a dozen more dates of centuries old passion and drama. See you then!

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  • On the Road Report

    We're just back from our pub theatre triangle trip - London-Sheffield-Bristol-London in two days, as guests of the Shakespeare pub and South Yorks Poetry Festival, and the Alma Tavern Theatre in Bristol. Two Ovid gigs, two audiences. Someone in Sheffield wrote 'tour de force!!' on their audience feedback form - we're having that for our posters for the rest of our days.

    Beatrix Joyce, our latest trainee, came with us. That's her in the photo, with John the Lights (fuelled by bananergy) explaining what all the buttons on the sound desk do. She writes ...

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  • A Tale of Two Venues

    We're just back from a two tour weekend - a Ramayana at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond on Saturday night followed by an Ovid's Heroines at the Gregson Centre in Lancaster on Sunday night. Pictured, the view from the van window mid venue, more photos of the weekend on our Facebook page.

    The biggest venue we've ever taken a show to is the 400 seater Kings Place concert hall in London; the smallest is Keats' House in Hampstead, where we had a full house of twenty people seated on velvet salon chairs for a performance of I Gaze From My Kitchen Like An Astronaut. A big venue like the Georgian Theatre Royal has exciting technical possibilities (including a genuine eighteenth century thunder run, where a cannon ball is rolled down a wooden chute to create the sound of a thunderstorm), but a smaller one like the Gregson is very intimate and fun to transform. Large or small, we think the ideal venue is one that doesn't need amplification. We like there to be nothing but air between the poet's voice and the audient's ear.

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  • S.W.A.L.K

    Artist Sophie Herxheimer is busy making letters for Clare's show ... these are some of the letters poems that she'll be reading. Ariadne to Theseus is in there, Medea to Jason as well, all of them (more or less) Sealed With A Loving Kiss.

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  • Trainee thoughts ...

    Beatrix Joyce, our latest live literature trainee, writes about her experience in the rehearsal room, during the making of Ovid's Heroines ...

    'Before having undertaken this traineeship I had mainly encountered live literature at festivals and in pubs. I became intrigued by the rhythmic use of language, the variety in presentation modes and the colourful personas behind the enticing poetry. This traineeship has offered me a greater insight into live literature, and more specifically, into live literature produced for the stage.

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  • Building Ovid's Heroines

    'Dear Ulysses,' begins Clare Pollard's translation of Ovid's poem in the voice of Penelope, Ulysses' wife ...

    'You’re late. / Don’t worry about answering, just come home. / The enemy of Grecian wives has fallen, but, / honestly, Troy wasn’t worth it. // If only Paris had drowned / in some storm when he was heading for Sparta, / I wouldn’t lie frigid in my bed or have to moan / of tedious days or pass my nights like some / poor widow at the loom’s dull web.'

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  • Meet Beatrix ...

    Beatrix Joyce is Jaybird's new trainee, she's working with us on Clare Pollard's 'Ovid's Heroines'. Here she introduces herself ...

    'I come from an eclectic background, both artistically and culturally. I recently completed my BA in Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where I trained as both a performer and a choreographer. Since graduating I have worked as a dancer in art galleries and site-specific productions. Most recently I performed at the Hayward Gallery as one of Lloyd Corporation’s ‘living statues’.

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  • Wait a minute Mr Postman ...

    We need some letters making for Clare's show - know any good prop makers?

    Jaybird Live Literature produces touring shows which work with poets and theatre makers to create heightened performances of poetry. This is our forthcoming show

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  • A New New Trainee

    Each of Jaybird's touring projects has a trainee associated with it: it's a way for us to formalise the sort of passing-on of skills that has benefited all the people who regularly work for us as our own careers have developed. We're now looking for someone to come and work with us on Clare Pollard's show. Is that you, or someone you know? Here are the details ...

    Jaybird Live Literature is a small independent live literature production organisation, with a developing reputation for entertaining, beautifully designed touring poetry shows with high production values. JLL’s latest show is a version of Clare Pollard’s Ovid’s Heroines which will be on tour during 2015.

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  • A New Show

    Rama and his kidnapped wife Sita are reunited for the moment. There are a few more performances to come next year for Daljit Nagra's Retold Ramayana show, but meanwhile, we're about to start work on a new show - Ovid's Heroines with Clare Pollard. It will be a live lit adaptation of Clare's recent Bloodaxe book, here's how we're describing it ...

    'Ovid’s Heroides, written in Rome some time around 20BC, is a series of poems in the voices of women from Greek and Roman myth. Fifteen women – including Dido, Medea, Penelope and Ariadne – address the men they love. Poet Clare Pollard’s new free verse translation (published by Bloodaxe Books) rediscovers Ovid’s Heroines for the 21st Century, bringing to life a cast of women who are brave, bitchy, sexy, horrifying, heartbreaking and surprisingly modern.

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