What Days We're Having Now (2018/19)

What Days We're Having Now (2018/19)

A new poetry show featuring Alex MacDonald, Ella Frears and Will Harris

When you’re on an adventure, you need a map

Take one last look at your teenage bedroom - its floordrobe and cereal bowls, the photos on the wall – then head out into the world.

What Days We’re Having Now is a live anthology of subtly theatricalised poems. Images scroll by like an Instagram feed: a flower pressed in a book, a cartoon frog, a stack of nachos cooked by a TV chef.

Through poems touching on identity, uncertainty, the meaning of family and the nature of love, Alex, Ella and Will talk to us. They lead us away from home and help us find our way back. Navigate your lives with their poems.


We are a-flutter to announce our new touring poetry show: What Days We're Having Now:

Working with poets Alex MacDonald, Ella Frears and Will Harris, a pile of their poems and a tangle of stage lights, we have made a show looking at what it means to take your first steps into adulthood - and its ideas will resonate whether you're taking those steps yourself now, or you're looking back on how far you've come.

Here's some of the raw material - read a poem by Alex, one by Ella and one by Will

We're very grateful for the Arts Council support which underpins our touring work, and are looking forward to getting back on the road in Autumn 2018. The tour will last till Summer 2019. Our title comes from a line in Alex' poem 'Gigantic Days' which is included in the show.

Many of our venues and partners are in place already, but there will be space for a few more bookings. Show specifications and tech specs are available, but if a poetry show for young people (and their parents, teachers and supporters) is a fit for your festival, venue, school or college, do drop us a line.

Follow our progress on Twitter and Instagram: #whatdays

Rehearsal photos by Derek Adams and Harpreet Kalsi - more of them here and here.

Full details will follow as tour booking rolls out.

Thursday 18 October
Faber Academy, London

Monday 29 October
Nottingham University

Monday 28 January 2019
Brunel University, Uxbridge

Monday 4 February 2019
Kings College, London

Thursday 28 February 2019
Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts

Saturday 9 March 2019
StAnza Festival, St Andrews

Monday 25 March
York Literature Festival

Tuesday 26 March
Theatre Deli, Sheffield

Sunday 12 May
Northampton Literature Festival

Show Details

Produced by Jaybird Live Literature

Directed and production design by Phoebe Stout

Sound and lighting design by John Castle

Full version: c50 mins, no interval, for theatres, arts centres and other technically equipped spaces

Basic version: c50 mins, no interval for schools, colleges, festivals, libraries and other non-technically equipped spaces

Tech Specs: Full version needs c4x4m playing space, moderately simple sound and LX, tours with technician. Basic version works anywhere an audience can gather.

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

Education: Teacher-written study resources for literature and drama students at A level / college / university level available.

Participation: A poetry 'write-back' challenge for student audiences accompanies the show.

The themes and design of What Days We're Having Now focus on the experiences of 16-25 year olds, but all poetry and performance audiences are welcome

Fee: dependent on projected audience size, and includes all travel, accom and expenses.

For more details, email julia@jaybird.org.uk

About the Poets

Alex MacDonald has recently had poems published by Clinic, English Pen, Rising and The Oxfam Book of Young Poets. He was a runner up in the PigHog / Poetry School Prize and ran the reading series 'Selected Poems at the V&A Reading Rooms'. He's a parliamentary speech-writer by profession, and has a particular interest in young people's mental health.

'All I seem to do is drink milk from my favourite glass, / which was once a jar of fig jam' ('Kingfisher Days')

Ella Frears is a poet, writer and visual artist. She was awarded a place on the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme 2016/17 and received a fully funded scholarship for the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway where she was Poet in Residence writing about the Cassini Space Mission. She has also just been shortlisted for the poetry category of the Manchester Writing Competition

'Last night we slept under a full moon ... Have you ever tried it?' ('The Moonbathers')

Will Harris has worked in schools, led workshops at the Southbank Centre and taught for The Poetry School. He co-edits 13 Pages and organises The Poetry Inquisition. He is an Assistant Editor at The Rialto, part of the editorial team behind Swimmers and a fellow of The Complete Works III. His poem 'Say' is shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

'Once I believed myself to be a cuckoo when, in fact / I was a pair of binoculars looking at a cuckoo' ('The Seven Dreams of Richard Spenser')

Tour Dates

Thursday 18 October
Faber Academy, London

Monday 29 October
Nottingham University

Monday 28 January 2019
Brunel University, Uxbridge

Monday 4 February 2019
Kings College, London

Thursday 28 February 2019
Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts