For Wand:

Here we are touring troubadours, music and love Check out our dates in Brighton Fringe

laura@wandlondon.uk another year of great work: Zena has been great, in Kew Spice, Ray wrote his autobiography, 'Learning My Lines' and we are looking at how he inspires generations ...he has known Liam from Oasis, John Lennon, been in winning film at Cannes, On The Razzle at the National, and writes of Andrew Oldham offering him a record contract although latter was eaten by sharks! Charlie as part of community outreach, working at Chelsea, Restart Lives and Clapham, doing workshops which enable young people to explore

potential. The work is different..


Poetry and Freedom of Expression

While working on a story about Grassmarket Project the theatre company that has often been noted as the inspiration for a theatre ensembles of the marginal in Paris, and Berlin 'the Ratten007', who who won an 'Academy of Arts Award (they still tour internationally with People's Stage, Volksbuehne)

Jeremy encouraged collecting poetry from some of those participating

as it seems a last resort for people without resources to express what they feel.


What also interests is the way that people who are seriously shaking up theatre from Grassmarket Project putting people from the street or young offenders on stage or Belarus making theatre about taboos is that they do not see themselves as political. 'That would be boring,' as Nikolai observes. 'Our theatre does not have a single political play in our repertoire' He prefers in fact to talk of 'uprightness', a much more adventurous, interesting topic which also reflects itself in the work of Isis Olivier who did our stage and fundraising; in spite of being eldest grandchild of Olivier she worked on an organic farm, spent time in Africa during the famines, and worked as a shepherdess before committing to her feminist painting. Or another Kate Smurthwaite who was part of our team at Chelsea who as well as being a feminist activist on Radio 4 adds comedy to her work. She has been subject to threatening tweets, even death threats which Rupert has been supporting her with legal advicem as he does for a vast array of endangered and vulnerable people. (It is only in later October that he is able to take time to visit London for a reading, having allegedly rallied locals against a vicious landlord trying to evict innocent elderly and others but this is something he could not comment on.)


If as people committed to work by those often marginalised we give a poetry award it is worth making it one that commits to helping those who are in distress either from a government or in deprived circumstances, trying to express themselves.


We attended the annual party of the Belarus Free Theatre which has made a record of being the first theatre company under a dictatorship to tour internationally and in their own country. It is worth also considering that they invited actors who would have to return to Minsk to be involved which

meant the freedom they experienced was limited.

Why do people talk of political theatre knowingly, when people who really need support have not interest in pure politics? Would it not be interesting to create a prize that demands

people should endeavour to do some service to community? Inspired by Natalia Koliade of Belarus Free Theatre who is being hacked we thought our Poetry Competition this year should look at how dictatorship conceals itself, whether with those on the edges of our society or of Eastern Europe: £500 first prize to be judged by Kate Smurthwaite, Isis Olivier, Rupert Ferguson as well as Editors Laura and Charlie Wiseman, with second prize of £300 and two more £100. The best poetry by people from young talent will be read at a venue to be announced, with a publication of the material to encourage them to further develop their work.

Inverse Narnia/Pacifists and Belarus

Is there a wooly dream of love beyond dictators?

Of wooly hats sewn full of dreams?

We normally expect to

Be able to find/A world where we can walk out of

Our bedroom

Sleepwalk through a wardrobe Into a better reality

It means Carrying the Cupboard/around looking for a room to set

It in where one can then/Feel hushed and Dressing gowned/

Dream like Oblomov



defies gravity

So a prize also

aimed at those floating on clouds

of discontent


activists need apply