University to host an evening of poetry and music with Poet Laureate

Winters Tale festival

Graduate and Honorary Graduate Carol Ann Duffy will be performing at the University of Liverpool to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first performance of Shakespeare’s play, The Winter’s Tale.

The Poet Laureate will be joined by virtuoso musician and actor, John Sampson, for a performance of poetry and music as part of The Winter’s Tale Festival.

The Winters Tale Festival, organised by the University’s School of English and involving local cultural partners, is a series of music, poetry and drama events that celebrate, analyse and respond to the themes of grief and hope, endings and renewals in Shakespeare’s late play, The Winter’s Tale.

Dr Nandini Das, from the School, said: “The Winter’s Tale Festival, which is taking place throughout November, is both a celebration and examination of the role that literature from the past can play in the present world. The Winter’s Tale itself is a play that constantly asks about the relevance that ‘old tales’ can have to ‘real’ lives, here and now. The Festival provides an opportunity for researchers, students, those involved in the creative industries, and school children to respond to The Winter’s Tale through drama, music and new writing and in doing so claim it as their own.”

The first existing record of a performance of The Winter’s Tale is in the journal of the Elizabethan astrologer and physician, Simon Forman, who noted on 11 May 1611 that he had seen The Winter’s Tale at the Globe playhouse. These public performances were followed by the play’s appearance at the royal court of King James I. It was performed in front of the king on 5 November 1611, and at Whitehall during the wedding celebrations of the king’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to Frederick V, the Elector Palatine, on 14 February 1613.

The Walker Art Gallery is also holding a talk which explores Shakespearian and winter themes through paintings in the Walker’s collection. The Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse has been working with local schools and community groups to find out how they react to some of the themes in the play which will be in showcased at the Liverpool Playhouse.

The Liverpool Philharmonic is hosting an evening of medieval Christmas carols from instrumental dances to medieval lullabies.

The Winter’s Tale Festival programme:

Saturday, 12 November, 6.30pm. An evening of poetry and music with poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, at the Victoria Gallery & Museum. Tickets £8 (£5 concessions).

Thursday, 18 November, 1-2pm. Four Shakespeares and another winter’s tale at The Walker Art Gallery. Tickets free.

Friday, 25 November 2011.The Everyman and Playhouse Theatres showcase of outreach work. Contact Emma Smith on 0151 706 9111 for further information.

Saturday, 3 December 2011. Rodewald Concert Series at St George’s Hall. For tickets visit the Liverpool Philharmonic website.

Carol Ann Duffy

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