Thursday 4th October was National Poetry Day, and by happy accident also the final event for Indiana Jones & the extra chair residency project I had been running with director Peader Kirk for Warwick Words Festival. By 7.30, the restaurant at The Grand Union was full up with guests, and by 7.40 they were being treated to tapas and sangria served by the kitchen team and poems served by the local writers who had participated in the project.
Later in the evening, I massively enjoyed performing my show in what was a fantastically warm and receptive space, but perhaps my favourite part of the evening was watching the participants sharing their pieces with the tables of audience members; seeing them adjusting their delivery as they went, really responding to the subtle signals they got from the live interactions between them and the other people at the tables.
The atmosphere was incredible, similar to that magic sounding buzz that you get when you walk in to a bar or pub and just know the vibe is right. After sitting in the space as they performed I was proper psyched up and good to go – I have genuinely never had to warm up as little as I did for the show that night which is a true testament to the work the local writers did.
Towards the end of the evening, the audience got chatting amongst themselves – sharing their own ideas, reflections, and memories. Here are some notes they left on their paper plates about what they felt were the classic ingredients for a family gathering…
Creating the space for the audience to chat about the show and their own experiences of family is a really important element of the event, and is always a lovely thing to watch and be a part of.