A novel poetry show where the audience gets to decide what they want to hear about is coming to the Sherwood this October. At the Drop of a Hat features three writers who have grown their careers up together and separately in and around the Southern Lakes, and they’re on a mission to make poetry great again. Or a least a lot more interesting. Poets Laura Williamson (Canada to Luggate), Annabel Wilson (Wanaka to Sumner) and Liz Breslin (UK to Hawea Flat) met in Wanaka a decade ago and have been friends and mutual supporters for more than a decade. They got together through the open mic poetry scene and have since all published books. They share an easy on-stage relationship with plenty of pertinent and poetic banter. They recently took a version of the show on the road as the Southern Haunts tour to Wanaka, Dunedin and Lyttleton, where they played to packed-out venues (including a bike shop and more than one dodgy pub).
“We found that audiences liked to respond really vocally to the kinds of poems we were doing which are broad in theme – from Star Wars to sad love stories to Holden Kingswoods to the tragedy of war. People were laughing, and crying, and joining in along with some of the poems. So for this tour, we’re making the whole thing interactive from the start,” Laura said.
“It’s pretty much the opposite of the way we studied poetry in school – learning poetic forms, memorising verse,” Laura said. “We say poems in different styles and different accents, and we come from different backgrounds. It’s poems for people, not classrooms - and that a few words pulled out of a hat determines which poem we’ll be performing adds a whole extra edge to the proceedings. It’s going to be a good time.”
Or as an audience-member said after one of the trio’s recent performances: “Wonderful show. Rude poems are just so much funnier in an English or Canadian accent.”
Theme poems are sporadically interspersed with poet’s-choice poems and pieces in each other’s words, and the audience experience goes from pindrop profundity to belly laugh territory. It’s simple, smart, energetic, entertaining, and different every time the poets play.
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