Ovid's Heroines with Clare Pollard (2015-17)

Now on tour - a new poetry show

Ovid's Heroines with Clare Pollard (2015-17)

Ovid's Heroines: a poetry show with Clare Pollard

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. Women – including Medea, Penelope and Ariadne – address the men they love. Poet Clare Pollard’s new free verse translation (just 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.

From Spring 2015 to Spring 2017, Jaybird Live Literature brought the Heroines to the stage in a new live literature production. Clare read, recited and performed her astonishing poems against a backdrop of Mediterranean light and sound. Love letters flew back and forth between the ancient world and modern Britain – the messages of longing, suffering and beauty they bore were universal and timeless.


‘Heroides is a radical collection of poems. It is a daring act of literary transvestism. It is an attempt to modernise and revitalise well-worn myths. Its narrators’ stories are deeply subjective, partial and often unreliable, with this highlighted by the telling the same stories from different perspectives. It has been called both first book of dramatic monologues and the first of epistolary fiction.’

‘The motives behind each letter are, in fact, very different indeed, as are the strategies [the women] use to escape from their predicaments – some heroic, some cowardly. The letters are attempts to seduce, plead, threaten, comfort or curse. They range from the anxious letters of a worried wife to vengeful suicide-notes. Deianira, a kind of classical WAG, tries to deal with her husband Hercules’ fame … a queen begs her husband’s son for sex. They articulate love in all its beautiful, messy, stupid complexity.’

‘[My translation] is ultimately a poet’s version, written for pleasure. I hope people will read it in Rome’s cafés after lunch, sipping a caffè as their saltimbocca is cleared away and water plays in a fountain; or perhaps by a pool in Crete under the scalding Greek sun. Ovid’s Heroides was historically one of his most popular texts: it deserves to be so again.’

(all quotes from Clare Pollard’s introduction to her Ovid’s Heroines, Bloodaxe Books 2013)

Ovid's Heroines Media Releases and Flyers

Reviews

In Lancaster, they said ...

'Excellent!'
'A potent and engaging show'
'Very interesting - makes me remember my rusty Greek mythology!'

In York ...

'An enjoyable and fascinating evening'
'Really enjoyed the performance and have been inspired'

In Sheffield ...

'Outstanding!! ... a tour de force'

In Oxford ...

'Fabulous thrilling event. So vivid!'
'Optima eras! Gratias ago fidi!'

Some extended Durham reviews

Messages from the students in Sevenoaks

From Nottingham, on Twitter ...

'Amazing women - such passion & wit. Brilliant show. Thanks Clare'

Tour Dates

Ovid's Heroines toured March 2015 to February 2017. Here's where we went ...

Lancaster, Sunday 8th March, 8pm (pocket version)
The Gregson, 33 Moorgate, Lancaster LA1 3PY
Tickets: in person at the Visitor Information Centre, The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster LA1 1TH or via litfest.org
Prices: £10 / £8

York, Monday 23rd March, 8pm
Quad South Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor's Walk YO31 7EX
Tickets: free, but must be booked via www.yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk

Sheffield, Wednesday 20th May, 8pm (a pocket version of the show ... performance and partial set, no stage lighting)
The Shakespeare, 146-148 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield, S3 8UB
Tickets: http://southyorkshirepoetryfestival.com/programme/
Price: £8

Bristol, Thursday 21st May, 8pm
Alma Tavern Theatre, 18-20 Alma Vale Road, Avon, Bristol BS8 2HY
Tickets: 0117 973 5171
www.almataverntheatre.co.uk
Prices: £10 / £8

Oxford, Thursday 9th July, 7.30pm
Burton and Taylor Studio Theatre, Gloucester Street, OX1 2BN
Tickets: 01865 305305
http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com
Prices: £10 / £8

Latitude Festival, Suffolk, Sunday 19 July, 11am
Details http://www.latitudefestival.com/line-up/artist/clare-pollard

Durham, Sunday 11th October 5pm (pocket version)
Palace Green Library, Durham DH1 3RN
Tickets: £6/ £4 from Durham Book Festival

Windsor, Friday 16th October, evening 7.30pm (pocket version)
All Saints Church, Dedworth Road, Windsor SL4 4JW
Tickets: £5 at the door

London, Sunday 14th February, 7.30pm Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road
Tickets: £10 / £8 (concs)

Milnthorpe, Friday 26th February, evening
The Heron Theatre, Stanley Street, Beetham, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7AS

Cranleigh, Thursday 3rd March, 7.30pm
Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8AS
Tickets: £10 / £8 (Friends)

Manchester, Thursday 10th March, 6.30pm (Pocket version)
Manchester Jewish Museum, 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, M8 8LW
Part of Wonder Women - Manchester's annual feminist festival
Tickets: £3

Ledbury Poetry Festival, Monday 4th July, 8pm (full version)
Market Theatre, Ledbury HR8 1AQ Tickets: £9 from the festival box office

Bridlington Poetry Festival, Friday 14th October, 7pm (pocket version)
Sewerby Hall, YO5 1EA
Part of Bridlington Poetry Festival
Tickets on sale from 1 September

Ilkley LIterature Festival, Saturday 15th October, 1.30pm (full version)
Ilkley Playhouse
Part of Ilkley Literature Festival
Tickets £6 / £4 concs, on sale from 30 August

Nottingham, Thursday 10th November, 6.30pm (pocket version)
The Old Chemistry Theatre at Nottingham Conference Centre, NG1 4BU
Tickets available from www.nottsfol.co.uk
Prices: £10.95 / £8.95 concs
part of the Nottingham Festival of Literature

Nottingham Friday 10th February, 11.30am (pocket version)
A performance with Q&A for Nottingham University Creative Writing students

Specifications

Ovid's Heroines

Produced by Jaybird Live Literature

Directed by Phoebe Stout

Full version: 60 mins, no interval, for theatres and arts centres

Basic version: a rehearsed reading, for libraries and schools.

Fee: Please contact to discuss. Fee includes travel, accom and expenses.

Tech Specs: Full version needs c5x5m playing space, chair & table, moderately simple sound and LX, tours with technician. Basic version needs a chair & table.

Marketing: comprehensive digital and print marketing material and support supplied, marketing duties shared with the producers who are live literature selling experts.

To discuss a booking

This show has now finished its official tour, but could be revived under certain conditions. Please contact Julia Bird, Director of Jaybird Live Literature to discuss - julia@jaybird.org.uk / 07768 012645

About Clare

Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and currently lives in London. Her first collection of poetry, The Heavy-Petting Zoo (Bloodaxe, 1998) was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award. It was followed by Bedtime (Bloodaxe, 2002) and Look, Clare! Look! (Bloodaxe, 2005), which was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus. A CD of Clare reading her work is available from The Poetry Archive. Her fourth collection Changeling, was published in June 2011, and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

Clare’s first play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, and has since been performed at the Munchner Kammerspiele in Munich. In 2012 she co-wrote the radio play Surface to Air with WN Herbert for BBC Radio 4. She has toured widely with the British Council, including a residency in Beijing, and been involved in numerous translation projects, including co-translating Poems by Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf (Poetry Translation Centre 2012). Clare’s latest translation is Ovid’s Heroines (Bloodaxe, 2013)

The Guardian reviews Clare's book here, the Oxonian Review does so here and Clare talks to Wales Arts Review about it here.