Kick Off, Boars Head, Kidderminster

The presentation of spoken word continues to evolve, “Kick Off”, is a Kidderminster Arts Festival production , conceived to promote poetry within the context of the opening of the new football season and appeal to an audience outside the usual poetry crowd as a warm up festival event. Team captains were Mouth & Music stalwarts Heather Wastie ,and Sarah Tamar, who assembled an elite group of footballing poetic talent to showcase the evening. It was bonkers. It was wonderful.

Turf was laid out on the stage, a goal and giant football was produced, and a full supporting cast of referee and linesman, VIP to present the trophy, and a chicken mascot were all duly assembled. Poetry isn’t normally like this. Blatant time-wasting was denounced, and poets suffered pulled hamstrings and groin strains during reading. Furthermore there were several obvious examples of shirt pulling ( all were in football kit) that the linesman and referee appeared to allow to go unpunished.

The crowd were part of the show. Kate Wragg bought along her guitar to assist with some football songs and two wags were on hand to assist the players! What worked so well was that the poems were performed within the framework of the match all on a football theme which Maggie Doyle and Sarah James all warmed to brilliantly. Inevitably Fergus McGonigal played a little fast and loose with the theme, choosing to take the music that is played at half time as his football inspiration, but naturally found the poetic net nonetheless with his dribbling skills which are so educated, I swear that his left foot talks Latin…………….

The material performed was not just light, Carol Ann Duffy’s Achilles impressed as did original work Me Watching Men by Sarah Tamar and Voices in the Crowd by Heather Wastie. What was so heart warming was the camaraderie between players and crowd with the support of Boars Head staff Corina Harper and Sandra. It takes courage to try something different and determination , skill and enthusiasm to pull it off – which is exactly what was achieved.

The Kidderminster Arts Festival runs, led by Loz Samuels, until 25th August. More details:

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