I had the best holiday I’ve had for years. Hopping onto a train, sitting in comfort watching the fields and towns roll by, hopping off the train to be met by lovely friends who wined and dined me for a couple of days before dropping me off at another train station, to be met a few hours later in a different part of the country by more friends who wined and dined me, with lots of lovely catch up chatter.
My last stop was Liverpool, staying with my son Roderick whom I conscripted to accompany me for a mini-gig I had acquired as part of the 2016 Threshold Festival. This is a delightfully vigorous grass-roots music-and-the-arts festival that takes place each year in and around the Baltic Triangle, a part of Liverpool that is rapidly becoming the ‘in’ place to be. A lot of semi-derelict industrial buildings have been rescued and refurbished to a minimal standard, and are now gorgous little cafes, bars, craft shops and of course, music venues.
The quality of the music at the festival is terrific. Terrifically loud, but also the standard of musicianship is phenomenal.
I was fortunate to be invited to perform my solo show, Yes! Because… as part of the theatrical festivities. This is Dame June Bloom’s latest outing, she’s back in town from an exhausting world tour, and determined to continue on her mission to make Shakespeare accessible to all. This time she’s exploring his sonnets, and manages to get through a few of them, almost intact, but also to share a few memories, aches and pains and to have a jolly good laugh at herself. When I performed it last month in Southend it was gratifying to have a bunch of my 1st year students insisting on hugs after the show, along with their assurances that they now ‘got’ what I mean about using your whole body, heart and soul when performing sonnets.
Then, probably by accident, I also found myself agreeing to perform a short song and sonnet set as part of the Secret Circus troupe’s offering for the Threshold Festival. In the event, we only managed one sonnet and two songs, but we all enjoyed ourselves enormously, and one charming member of the audience was kind enough to send me the snippet that she had video-ed.