This afternoon’s advertised poetry reading at Olveston was very misleading. The poems weren’t read, they were performed. And it was a performance of the highest standard with Louise Petherbridge, John Watson, Joan MacDonald and Jocelyn Harris delighting the audience with their wonderful dramatic renditions of my poems. Katrina Selbie and Heike Cebulla-Elder, two of Terry MacTavish’s colleagues at Queen’s High School, were both stunning in their delivery and vigorous performances. Sarah Latta and Johanna Leach, two of Terry’s pupils from Queens, read with flair and passion.
Shona MacTavish was reserved for the finale. She was a vase in my performance poem, I want to dance. Shona’s facial expressions, flailing arms and high kicks absolutely delighted the audience. Sincere thanks to Anna Petersen for coming along and playing her cello – my favourite instrument. When I wrote the poem for two voices, a dancer and a cello, I never imagined it would ever be performed. It was just a whim of mine. I mentioned it to Terry in passing and well, Terry MacTavish is a miracle worker!
When we were planning the afternoon my only request to Terry was to keep it very informal. I discovered today that Terry ‘does informal’ extremely well. She had the audience in fits of laughter with her introductions, her asides, and her persistent mention of my book. I hadn’t asked her to ‘sell it’ but she did and Barry was kept so busy with sales he missed out on the afternoon tea. My friend Elspeth catered for 40 with homebaking – she is a star. And she’s offered to do the same again for next Sunday’s event and finale – Questions and Artists.
I met Kiri Mitchell for the first time today. Her drawing, which I featured in yesterday’s blog, was sold this afternoon as was a Peter Gregory vase and a Jenny Longstaff photograph. So a very pleasing day for the artists, a wonderful afternoons entertainment for the audience and another fantastic day at Olveston for me.