I had a splendidly happy day at The Greenwich Theatre in London last Saturday for the Live Canon Children’s Poetry Competition Prize Giving Show. I went up on the train from Wiltshire with one of my great-nieces, Hannah. When we arrived, the theatre foyer was awash with Haiku Balloons, cartons of fruit juice, a poetry cut-up table, a pop-up book shop, and LOTS of cake!
After much noisy mingling, poetry-making, and book-buying, the shortlisted and winning poets in the 2018 competition, their family, friends, and, in St Gregory’s case, their Writer in Residence, and Acting Headteacher, settled into their seats in the auditorium, in excited anticipation of the show.
Helen Eastman, Founder of the Live Canon Ensemble, welcomed us all to the afternoon and introduced actors Rebecca Hare and Leon Scott, who were going to perform twelve winning poems from four different age categories.
The poems in the anthology are superb. Age doesn’t come into it, these are very good poems that in many incidences would have fared well in an adult poetry competition. The excellent poems, coupled with spell-binding performances by Rebecca Hare and Leon Scott, kept us all on the edges of our seats.
There are 100 poems in the book so actors limited their performances to a winner and two runners up in each age category. Here is snippet from ‘Kerala’, by Emil from St Gregory’s, who was a runner-up in the Years 7- 9 category
After the performances, Helen Eastman and the two actors handed out prizes to each of the winners, including a prize for Outstanding Entries from a School to St Gregory’s, and then each poet included in the anthology received a copy of the book.
To end the afternoon, Rebecca Hare read ‘Freedom’ by St Gregory’s student Kaci, a fitting poem to sum up the wonderful spirit of an afternoon celebrating young people’s freedom of expression and creativity. Here is a snippet for you:
Huge thanks to Helen, Rebecca and Leon, and to everyone at Live Canon and to The Greenwich Theatre for supporting this event. And congratulations to all of the young writers who took part. May they always keep reading and writing poetry.