James McDermott, Norfolk born playwright, poet and associate artist at both Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Arts Centre, has collaborated with national project Inn Crowd to create a new performance poetry film that follows the experiences of a gay teenager coming of age during the nineties and noughties.
Manatomy will premiere for free online on Saturday 22nd May, and is a witty exploration of identity, politics, pop culture and place, and questions how lad culture shapes boys as they grow into men. Poems featured in Manatomy are taken from James McDermott’s poetry collection of the same name published by Burning Eye Books. The premiere will include a live Q&A with James, but the film will still be available to view free for two weeks after the premiere.
Speaking about the project, James said:
“I hope that the poems in the ‘Manatomy’ film entertain audiences and help them to better understand and reassess how they perceive queer experiences for young adults in rural East Anglian communities. I look forward to performing these poems in person when I tour ‘Manatomy’ to pubs across the county with Inn Crowd later this year”.
James has been one of Norfolk’s hugely successful home-grown writers over the last few years. As well as being a widely acclaimed poet and playwright, he also has ideas in development with various television production companies, and regularly teaches writing workshops at University of East Anglia and Norwich Theatre Royal.
This film is part of Inn Crowd’s ‘After Hours’ project, a new series of electrifying digital spoken-word pieces bringing new writing into people’s homes for free. Prior to the pandemic, Inn Crowd usually operates by bringing professional, high-quality live-literature inspired pieces to rural pubs. Arts organisations Creative Arts East and National Centre for Writing work with national partners Applause Rural Touring deliver the project countrywide.
As well as James McDermott’s Manatomy, Radio 4 regular John Osborne will premiere his new show Supermarket Love Stories in June, and Byron Vincent’s Instagramming The Apocalypse aired online last month with great success.To catch the premiere of Manatomy on 22nd May at 8pm, or watch it at any time for two weeks after that date, visit www.inncrowd.org.uk.
If it’s a bit chilly to join in outside, bring the cosy and vibrant atmosphere of the pub to life with the After Hours season of digital live-literature films.
INN CROWD has developed innovative ways to support artists in the past year including its recent collaboration with Pub is The Hub, Winter Warmers – a series of poems to celebrate our nations much loved pubs. COVID-19 restrictions have limited the scope to get live events into Pubs so these digital films will bring events direct into people’s homes. INN CROWD have worked with three artists to produce a season of live-literature films showcasing three electrifying pieces of new work.
All the work is free to access for two weeks from the launch date or audiences can join the online live premiere and watch the piece followed by a unique interactive experience with the artist. This will offer the chance to ask questions, hear talks on the themes of the film or after our first premiere attend a DJ set with Byron Vincent.
“At a time when people are missing the intimacy of late nights with friends, After Hours is a series of stories intended to evoke a late-night sharing or exchange. “ DawnBadland, Director, Applause Rural Touring
Bryon Vincent’s Instagramming the Apocalypse is a new film developed from his stage show. Performer Byron Vincent brings the force of his wit and wisdom to shine a spotlight on the post-satire age. Byron explores what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder during a global pandemic. It’s a glib, and postmodern take on the world in which cynicism is cool, modern life is rubbish and sincerity is for suckers. Byron’s will also host a live event including a pre-show introduction, followed by a screening of the film, post show interview and will close with a DJ set.
Manatomy, written and read by James McDermott, is a wry witty performance poetry film following the experiences of a camp gay boy through adolescence into manhood, as he comes of age in Norfolk in the nineties and noughties. The film explores how identity is shaped by parents, place, politics and pop culture and questions how lad culture shapes boys as they grow into men. Poems featured in Manatomy are taken from James McDermott’s poetry collection of the same name published by Burning Eye Books.
John Osborne’s Supermarket Love Stories is about supermarkets and the people who use them. It introduces us to the people on the tills, staff with untucked shirts sitting on their kick stools stacking shelves and the unrequited love of the cleaning staff. It is a poetry storytelling feast where everyone has a story to tell.
“We have had the great pleasure of working with Byron on the early development stages of this piece, including a residency at a rural pub near Diss. This digital version of the show really elevates the messages, but also highlights Byron’s wit, creativity and authentic connection with the themes – it is a really unique and brilliant show and we feel incredibly proud to be able to share it.” Karen Jeremiah, Deputy Director Creative Arts East
More information on the selected artists, or to book head to the INN CROWD website www.inncrowd.org.uk
Notes to editors
Byron Vincent’s – Instagramming the Apocalypse
Date: 24/04/202, 20:00
Run Time: Event runtime 3 hours (film is 1 hour 10 minutes)
Age Suitability: 18+ (adult content and strong language)
Byron Vincent is a writer, performer, broadcaster and activist. He also has a diagnosis of PTSD and bipolar disorder. As a spoken word artist at music and literary festivals, he was picked as one of BBC poetry season’s new talent choices. In more recent years he has turned to theatre, working as writer, director and performer for the RSC, BAC and other notable acronyms. Now he’s turning to film as a chance to reach even more people than before. Byron is a passionate social activist with lived experience of issues around poverty and mental health. Byron has written and presented for BBC Radio 4 on the social problems arising out of poverty, ghetto-isation and mental ill-health.
James McDermott’s –Manatomy
Date: 22/05/2020, 20:00(tbc)
Run Time: 1 hour (Film running time 20 minutes, Post-show talk/ Q&A 40 minutes)
Age Suitability: 18+ (adult content and strong language)
James McDermott is a writer based in East Anglia represented by Independent Talent. He is an Associate Artist at Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Arts Centre. James writing credits include ‘Time and Tide’ at Park Theatre and was nominated for two Off West End Theatre Awards (Offies) including one for Best New Play. James is writing new plays for HighTide, Eastern Angles, Norwich Playhouse, Norwich Theatre Royal, New Wolsey Ipswich, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Revoluton Arts, UEA, Mercury Theatre, Sheringham Little Theatre and Relish Theatre Company. James is currently developing TV projects with Big Talk, Ranga Bee and Shiny Button and is one of the writers on the EastEnders Writer Shadow Scheme 2021.
As a poet, James is published widely in poetry journals and magazines and his debut poetry collection ‘Manatomy’ is published by Burning Eye Books. James was shortlisted for Outspoken’s Prize for Poetry 2020 in the Performance Category and long listed for The Winchester Poetry Prize 2020 judged by Andrew McMillan. James teaches creative writing online and in theatres, schools and universities across the country. He is also a private scriptwriting and poetry writing tutor.
John Osborne’s – Supermarket Love Stories
Date: 26/06/2020, 20:00 (tbc)
Run Time: TBC
Age Suitability: 14+ (contains some grown-up themes)
John Osborne is a Radio 4 regular and creator of cult show John Peel’s Shed. John Osbourne writes poetry, books, scripts and stories for Radio 4. He co-created the Sky One sitcom After Hours.
Notes to Editors
INN CROWD offers pub landlords spoken word, poetry and storytelling performances that have been created specifically for pub audiences and to the unique atmosphere and setting of a pub. Performances are highly subsidised requiring no special sets or space. The work is suitable for pubs, cafes, restaurants and breweries across the UK.
INN CROWD Pubs+ is a national arts project by Arts Council England. The first phase of the project ran from 2016-2019 as INN CROWD.
The arts organisations delivering INN CROWD are Applause Rural Touring and Creative Arts East (specialists in arts in rural areas), National Centre for Writing (literature specialists) and Pub is the Hub (Industry Advisors). Inn Crowd Pubs+ has 6 touring partners to deliver the project nationally Carn to Cove, Take Art, Arts Alive, Artsreach, Spot On Lancashire, Live and Local
A ‘National Poem of Thanks to Our Nation’s Publicans’ has been released today by arts project INN CROWD and Pub is The Hub to thank publicans for their resilience and continuing support of their local communities during this Covid-19 pandemic, despite the huge challenges they continue to face themselves.
The poem’s release marks the launch of a ‘Winter Warmers’ campaign, a collaboration between INN CROWD and Pub is The Hub, thenot-for-profit independent organisation that offers specialist advice on the diversification of services at rural pubs and ways publicans can support their local communities.
The ‘Winter Warmers’ initiative is based on a collection of seven heart-warming poems about pubs, specially commissioned by INN CROWD, who work with pubs to provide them access to professional live literature, which is specially commissioned for pub audiences.
The poems have been written by poets in six regions across England, with the initiative aiming to bring cheer and hope to publicans, their staff and their communities and to help keep people connected during this challenging start to 2021 with this current lockdown.
The thank you poem for publicans is called the ‘The Public House’. It has been written and performed by poet and actress Alexandra Ewing, the daughter of a former publican who grew up in pubs in Suffolk. Ewing also, until last year, worked for a decade as front of house staff in the hospitality industry, including pubs.
Alexandra Ewing said: “I hope the poem will make publicans really smile and that they will feel incredibly proud of how much talent they have and how much their presence is felt, even when it doesn’t feel like it is.”
Victoria MacDonald, publican of the Cellar House in Eaton, near Norwich, said: “After such a tough 2020 for the pub industry and such a challenging start to 2021 it is wonderful that Pub is The Hub and INN CROWD have thanked publicans in this way. It is a really beautiful and touching poem.”
During this lockdown many pubs have again been offering essential services to people in their local communities, including phone support to those at risk of loneliness, grocery shops, takeaway and delivery food and meals for the elderly and those financially stretched.
John Longden, chief executive of Pub is The Hub, said: “Despite the immense challenges and pressures publicans have endured, and continue to face during this pandemic and current lockdown, many pubs are still a key hub of practical and wellbeing support for many people in their local communities.”
He adds: “Publicans and their teams have worked tirelessly and selflessly to help support others and keep them safe and we wanted to do something to say a special thank you and recognise their efforts. We hope they enjoy these lovely poems.”
Postcards of positivity
Many publicans are sharing the ‘Winter Warmers’ poems with their locals on social media or putting them up as posters in pub windows.
Selected pubs around the country are also receiving ‘postcards of positivity’, featuring the ‘Winter Warmers’ poem written by the poet from their region. The idea is for publicans to use the postcards to help spread cheer and keep them connected with people in their local community. Publicans are planning to use the postcards in food boxes, in takeaway and delivery food bags and to reach out to customers who may be at risk of experiencing feelings of loneliness.
Positive collaboration of arts and pubs
The ‘Winter Warmers’ campaign sees two industries, pubs and the arts, which are among the sectors most detrimentally impacted by the pandemic join forces in a positive collaboration.
INN CROWD’s Dawn Badland said: “These two sectors make an invaluable contribution to our society, and it is brilliant to be able to come together with Pub is The Hub to do something positive for the publicans and artists working in these hard-hit industries.”
INN CROWD will continue to support local pubs this year through its bespoke events which help keep publicans connected with their communities and also with digital poetry performances which will enable them to reach a wider audience, whether people can make it to the pub or not.
Its work last year included residencies with pubs to help support artists, publicans and their communities. Remotely delivered residencies included a lockdown zoom sharing of audio stories with locals of The Dog Inn, Belthorn, Lancashire and a new song written for the community of The White Lion in Selling, Kent, celebrating the rich tradition of carol singing in pubs. Before Christmas INN CROWD also released a short collection of poems by poet Arji Manuelpillai, who worked with the community of Allhallows in Kent, conducting remote phone meetings to devise the collection.
Pic captions: Poetry in motion: Poet Alexandra Ewing reads her poem written in thanks to our nation’s publicans to licensee Victoria MacDonald of the Cellar House, near Norwich.
In praise of pubs: This group of talented artistshave written poems in praise of pubs for the Pub is The Hub and INN CROWD ‘Winter Warmers’ campaign
This short form is designed to help you asses whether or not your show is Rural Touring ready. We take you through the very basic needs of rural touring and give you a list of things to consider. We also point you to other helpful resources and pages along the way. Please note this form is NOT a way of submitting your show to be considered for touring but should be used as a tool to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to approach schemes.