Spoken Word Summer - Unknown Soldier & The Poetry of Togetherness

  • Sat, Jun 22, 2024

  • Venue:Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, LE1 7HA
  • Time:6pm
  • Cost:£4/ £7
  • Web Address:https://www2.le.ac.uk/hosted/attenborougharts/whatson

  • Saturday 22 June 2024
    6pm - 9.30pm
    WORD, Renaissance One & BrightSparks present:
    Spoken Word Summer - Unknown Soldier & The Poetry of Togetherness 

    Come on down for our great big spoken word summer salon - celebrating and marking multicultural Britain and showcasing some of the lived experiences and historical moments that have shaped it as it is today.Have supper on us - our treat as we swap experiences, bond over poetry and build on our previous and successful salon in July 2022.

    Share your work as part of a rich and inclusive open mic - then experience the acclaimed, Renaissance One's Unknown Soldier - a one-woman performance and multi-media installation bringing to life the hidden family narrative of poet-artist Seni Seneviratne and her father's experiences as a Royal Signalman in the North African Desert War. 

    Based on the Peepal Tree published poetry collection, the show explores Seni’s father’s return to England from the war, his marriage and life growing up as a mixed race family in the 1950s in Leeds. 

    If you would like to share something as part of the open mic, please email [email protected] - work connecting with themes of togetherness, home and belonging are particularly invited.

    Unknown Soldier is suitable for 14 +: trigger warning - please note the show contains an account of experiences of hate speech/racial discrimination that audience members may find disturbing.

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    Show Credits

    The performance of Unknown Soldier is part of a tour created with direction consultancy by Amanda Huxtable, filming and editing by Gavin Repton, image and sound design by James Waring, curation support by Melanie Abrahams, film and voice recordings by Rav Sanghera and Simon Marshall and production by Renaissance One. It is funded by Arts Council England. 

    Seni Seneviratne is a writer and an artist of English and Sri Lankan heritage who collaborates with film-makers, visual artists and musicians. Her poetry is featured in the AQA GCSE exam syllabus and she is published in anthologies and magazines, recently 100 Queer Poems (Penguin) and New England Review. She recently co-edited Out of Sri Lanka, a newly published Bloodaxe anthology of Tamil, Sinhala and English poetry and she is working on an LGBTQ project with Sheffield Museums entitled Queering the Archive and her fourth collection, The Go-Away Bird was published in 2023

    “This is poetry that opens up history’s reticence and quietude, that gives words to image in deep and loving ways and holds fast to family when family has passed but is never forgotten.”  Chris Searle, Race & Class, vol. 61, 2020 

    Melanie Abrahams (Co-Host) has been instigating and creating spoken word and literature for over 20 years, as a curator, producer, mentor, and a speaker.  She has brought artists and speakers over to Leicester and the UK including Gary Younge, Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Bernardine Evaristo and John Agard. She consistently pushes for greater diversity in the arts through events, limings and spaces for wellbeing.

    Tim Bombdog (Co-Host) is Leicester’s only post-punk poet… A magician, musician, singer/songwriter, poet, compere and comedian, you name it and he can do it… With over 30 years experience, he’s performed as a founder member of the ‘Bruised Fruits’ Circus Theatre Troop - and alongside artists including: Swamp Circus, Charlie Chuck, John Hegley and Jean Binta Breeze MBE - from London Liming to Glastonbury Festival. Tim is also a qualified psychiatric nurse, an NHS Arts in Health Coordinator and part of the WORD! and BrightSparks team.

    Photo credit of Seni Seneviratne Sam Hardwick 

    Photo Description: A photo that incorporates the poet Seni Seneviratne who created Unknown Soldier on stage performing a poetry-speech narrative that covers her father's experience in the North African desert war and aspects of her family history there are also photos projected of her father to bring out some of the elements of the show/piece.

    Social media:
    @SeniSeneviratne
    @renaissanceone
    @wordlesta
    @brightsparksMH