Performance Poetry

The art of poetry is never something that I thought I would dabble in, and to be honest I'm not a huge fan of poetry recitals, but I'm known on the Performance Poetry circuit for my own dynamic style of lyrical storytelling and insistence on rhyme and rhythm.   Performance Poetry was an avenue into acting for me, and I can be rather theatrical when the microphone is in my hand.  I represented Belfast in the All Ireland Performance Poetry Tournament in 2012 and came third in the national finals.  Since then I've written narrative based performance poems that feature horrific content, such as 'Peggy Pigheart,' the story of a fat girl bullied to the point of suicide but brought back to life by a demonic pig heart;  'The Dark Muse', the tale of a horror writer whose twisted muse emerges when romance rears its ugly head; and 'The Hounds of Love' a barbaric story about a marital breakdown.    

The challenge of poetry (for me) is to capture thoughts, ideas, and concepts, and then crystallize that in cogent rhymes. Apart from writing fictional stories, I like to compose performance poems based on philosophical issues like the duality of man and the darkness that resides inside.  These poems frequently feature religious content and draw on the power of  art, nature and Catholicism to navigate their way out of the labyrinth.  Some of my favourites include the dramatic 'Angel of Art' , the twisted prayer 'Two of me, One of someone else,' and 'Maybe You'll Be', a rumination on reincarnation.  

I was honoured to be invited to write a poem for the Corrymeela community.  The fantasy poem 'The Rain of a Thousand Dreams' will be published in their 20/20 visions report.  Poetry Ireland accepted my love ballard 'He Rides the Sky', taken from the Legend of Etain series, and published that along with my art in the first issue of their poetry magazine Tales from the Forest.    




For me, performance poetry is about entertainment.  It's a great medium to entertain and engage with the audience, which is what acting is all about.  

 
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Cycles of The Celts, Benburb Castle 2015

Cycles of The Celts, Benburb Castle 2015

Two of Me, One of Someone Else, performed at the Belfast Book festival 2014

Two of Me, One of Someone Else, performed at the Belfast Book festival 2014

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Plays

A new play coming to the Southbank Playhouse in September!

A new play coming to the Southbank Playhouse in September!

A new horror play that plunges the audience into the depth of darkness.

A new horror play that plunges the audience into the depth of darkness.

I made the transition to writing plays after acting in local productions, and my experience with short story writing and lyrical storytelling enabled me to move into writing stories for the stage.  

Although I'm new to this enterprise, I've written a good few horror plays and am over the moon to say that they will be on stage for Halloween 2016.  'The Hounds of Love' was originally a performance poem, but it has been modified and adapted for the theatre.  It is a violent tale of shattered dreams and unrequited love.  'Beware the Beast' is the story of a messy love triangle between a drug dealer, a drug addict, and a deformed hunchback living in the basement.  'Wrath of the Rats' is a Hammer Horror style story about a rich retired banker and his hot young wife who move into a haunted house.  These plays will be on stage at the Cabaret Supper Club, and I can't wait for Halloween 2016!

I'm running with the Belfast Theatre company Bigger Than Us Productions.  There's a lot of new projects on the go and a team of talented actors to shake the stage.  All good things! 


 
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The Cast from Dead Man's Shoes! Click on the photo to watch the full play!

The Cast from Dead Man's Shoes! Click on the photo to watch the full play!


Demon in the Woods


Demon in the Woods is an outdoor horror production that was staged in the Enchanted Glade area for the Sunflowerfest festival of 2016.  There was plenty of music and poetry over the festival weekend and I'm thrilled to say my horror play went down very well at the event.  The play follows a group of unfortunate people who stumble upon an ancient Irish burial ground deep in the dark heart of the woods.  They foolishly awaken a demon from the otherworld.  Can they put the beast back where it belongs before it destroys them all, or will their rivalries and differences tear them apart?  

Photography by Debbie Daboo.
The hit outdoor horror production from Sunflowerfest

The hit outdoor horror production from Sunflowerfest

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The Cast and Crew of Demon in the Woods!

The Cast and Crew of Demon in the Woods!

Click on the image above to learn more about the Belfast theatre company BTU Productions.

Click on the image above to learn more about the Belfast theatre company BTU Productions.

The Seduction of Etain 


The Seduction of Etain is an ongoing project that combines poetry, art, music and drama.  I've been illustrating the epic Irish love story for years and I still enjoy working with the characters.  Future performances will feature a variety of performance poets reading poems dedicated to the myth while traditional Irish music is played alongside them.   The Etain exhibition at the John Hewitt bar was a huge success and I hope to deliver more productions in the same style.  This is an ongoing project for me - a romantic and mythic escape from the world of horror that I love to inhabit.  

Photography from launch night at the Hewitt is by Paul McMahon
Arrangement of characters from the BTU Production of Macbeth.  Photo by Stephen Weatherall.  

Click on the image for more info on BTU!

Arrangement of characters from the BTU Production of Macbeth. Photo by Stephen Weatherall.

Click on the image for more info on BTU!