My Mind is Free at the Edinburgh Festival

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.

Photos from the tour of My Mind is Free

‘My Mind is Free’, featuring Cassandra Bond, Emma Miller, Waylon Ma, David Sayers; dir, Jude Spooner

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Admiral’s Tea Party Workshops

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.

vulgar tongue

 

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Buy my book!

Monsters

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.

 

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A new site specific play: The Admiral’s Tea Party

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.

WORKSHOPS:

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.

ACTORS NEEDED!

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.

AdmiralsTeaLogo

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Squeak – a short story on Litro

Photo of a ghost mouse

Squeak!

My short story ‘Squeak’ about an alternative dimension a young woman is thrown into one Halloween, has been published on Litro. Read it here.

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23 Submarines – poem

Here is one of my poems for the 23 Submarines project, which was a Medway-based fun poetry, art and theatre project run by Icon Theatre in 2015-2016.

Submarine women

Alone, they wait.
Their boys were chosen
Because they had no lovers
But most had mothers.

They wait, the women
Fingers strumming on tables,
They wait.
Whilst he, out of sight
Does who knows what
For a vague unspecified sense of right
For King or Country
It all seemed to make perfect sense at the time
They’ve forgotten now, any
Patriotism replaced by the dread feeling
That their sons might die under those dark waves.

She sits in the kitchen
Makes his favourite meal
Stares at the empty place
He used to sit. Alone.

23 Submarines booklet

23 Submarines booklet

 

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Third year of text-art exhibition

Didi Bergman and Rew Oates performing at the launch

Didi Bergman and Rew Oates performing at the launch

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. 

Waiting for the spectre of my old man… 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.

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Margate is

 

Photo of the Wordsmithery team

Wordsmiths at work

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.)

Margate is…

Margate is…

A place. Homely.

Margate is…

My retirement,

Walking the dog

On a stretch of sand.

Margate is…

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.

Margate is…

Fascinating.

‘Marg-bella’:

On a sunny day, a place to swim;

On a windy day it’s like living on

the edge of hell.

Crap.

Margate is…

Happiness, beautiful

A lovely coastline, lovely people

In Margate…

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.

It’s diverse,

exciting

full of historic cultural gems

My beloved Margate…

Light, space, sand, huge skies.

Horizons, possibilities.

Much maligned,

It’s really on the up.

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23 Submarines Poetry Trail

photo of poem posterThe poetry trail is now up around the Medway towns and here is a photo of a section of my poem ‘Submarine Depths’ currently in the window of the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester!

Looking forward to following the trail and finding the other writers’ extracts.

There are two more open mics: 14 July at Rainham Library and 15 September at Chatham Library. See council website for bookings and more info. .

 

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Short story published on Alphabet Soup

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”.

Read it here.

Alphabet Soup is a blog dedicated to showcasing short stories, and publishes a new story each week.

Explore Alphabet Soup here.

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