My play about human trafficking is going to be at the Edinburgh Festival from 7-18th August. If you are up there – do try to see it! See more on the website.
Featured below – photos from the 2015 tour of the play.
I have been holding some community workshops for the Admiral’s Tea Party – to collect stories and feelings from local people about the Lower Lines, which will feed into the final piece. In the first workshop, we made poems using traditional Kentish words. Another workshop is still to be arranged – keep your eyes on the Wordsmithery and Paint the Town Facebook pages for info.
I have made this lovely book of six short stories. You can buy it here. The cover is screenprinted, so they are all slightly different.
Contained within are six short stories which put a modern slant on the notion of fairytales. Expect magical curses, parallel dimensions, ghostly encounters, devilish fashion, friendly giant spiders and supernatural abilities in these stories.
The Admiral’s Tea Party is a new site specific performance which will take its inspiration from aspects of Chatham’s heritage, commissioned for the Paint The Town Festival.
I have wanted to do some projects around the history of Medway for quite a long while, and hopefully this will be the first of a few things I’ve got planned.
The Admiral of the Fleet (head honcho of the British navy) used to have a residence in the Lower Lines Park in Gillingham, Kent. And apparently he used to organise fabulous tea parties on the lawn there! This is the inspiration for the project, which will be a collection of stories about the area. I want stories and writing from local people to be a part of the show, so I am leading some creative writing workshops to help create the final piece.
The first workshop will be held on Saturday 22nd April 2017 from 1- 3pm at Nucleus Arts Centre. Book here.
There is also a second workshop on Wednesday 26 April, 2-5pm at the Brook Theatre. Book here.
Join the Community Cast for this new outdoor theatre performance exploring the history of Gillingham’s Lower Lines Park. The site specific show will be performed on the afternoon of Saturday 24 June. If you are interested, please email Wordsmithery for further info.
Months of hard work and liaising with over 60 artists and writers in the ‘Assemblance of Judicious Heretics’ project has paid off – as the exhibition I co-curate with Barry is now up in Rochester Library, Kent, and we held a fantastically well-attended (70+ audience) launch event on 20 October 2016, where some of the writers read their poems and stories. A musical interlude was provided by Didi Bergman and Rew Oates who had set lyrics from Shakespeare’s plays to music.
This year’s theme is Shakespeare. The word limit was 500 words so that we could display the art alongside the words for the first time. My story was inspired by a quote by George Bernard Shaw “Hamlet’s experience simply could not have happened to a plumber.” Well, actually, I think it could… so here is my version of Hamlet 2016.
Three months since we put him in the ground, I’ve quit my philosophy degree to take over the family business. Uncle Claude would have sold it. The town council is all he bothers with… and my mother, she interests him muchly.
Here on the roof, the stars are bright; clear and frosty. I wish I’d paid more attention the times Dad brought me up here to look at the stars, hefting the heavy telescope through the dormer. He could name all the constellations.
“Whatever you might be when you grow up, boy, even just a plumber, don’t think you can’t experience the bigger things in life just as powerfully as anybody else.”
My mum shacked up with my uncle almost as soon as she was out of widow’s weeds – can’t say I’m happy about that, but I can’t say anything to her, so I’ll bide my time and wait till Claude slips up. Which he will; the cream faced loon.
I can’t believe she did it: Claude always had his eye on her. When she was younger, my mother was the woman they all wanted to be with, but it was Dad, a lowly apprentice at her Pa’s plumbing, heating and engineering firm that she finally chose. Claude, his older brother, had higher aspirations; Politics at university. Maybe the two brothers were always both in love with flirty Gerty. Maybe they tossed a coin for her like in a cheap story.
So my when my mate, Marc, called me up and said he’d seen my dad floating in the air above our house, I told him to do one! He swore he wasn’t pulling my plonker, so now here we are, me and Marc, freezing cold, looking at the stars. It would be romantic, if he were a girl, or if I was gay. But he’s not and I’m not, so we are just shivering, waiting for the spectre of my old man. He passes me his hipflask.
I think how nice it would be if Philly was up here, not him. Ophelia O’Hallorahan, the girl I have been in love with from age six. Philly didn’t want to go to university like me, didn’t do very well in her A-levels, so she stayed, working in the local where we supped our first pint aged 14.
Then, oh my God, angels and ministers of grace defend us! It’s my father. Floating above the eaves, see-through, eyes burning with hatred and anger. I push my friend aside, I climb out onto the tiles. Marc screams at me ‘You shall not go’, but I am already face-to-face with this shade. The eyes recognise me and no longer rage and broil, but look sad, insubstantial. Lonely.
I ask it ‘why’? Its response, and what it bids me to do, chills me more than the cold night air: “I am thy father’s spirit. If thou didst ever thy dear father love, revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”
I will bide my time and do as it asks…
(© Sam Hall, 2016)
All the rest of the text entries in the exhibition can be read online in the new Wordsmithery magazine: Confluence.
Wordsmithery have been hosting pop-up writing retreats as part of this year’s Margate festival, in the shelter where TS Eliot wrote parts of The Waste Land.
Here is a collaborative poem written by Margate passers-by on 10 September. We will be back in the shelter this Saturday. (More info.)
A place. Homely.
Walking the dog
On a stretch of sand.
A wonderful place to live,
Modern then charming:
The derelict facade of Dreamland
And the Turner, like sliced off flats.
It’s sunny – I like the views
… But it smells funny.
On a sunny day, a place to swim;
On a windy day it’s like living on
the edge of hell.
A lovely coastline, lovely people
You’ve got to be careful
It’s stuck in the ‘60s… the ‘70s maybe
We’ve started the Christmas shopping.
The Turner’s like Minecraft
Or like sails.
full of historic cultural gems
My beloved Margate…
Light, space, sand, huge skies.
It’s really on the up.
My short story ‘The Space Between Us’ has been published on Alphabet Soup. The story is written from three points of view and tells the story of three characters who are linked by a terrible accident. The editors said about the story: “The writing is consistently beautiful, the characters interestingly developed, and the voices clear”.
Alphabet Soup is a blog dedicated to showcasing short stories, and publishes a new story each week.