A radio presenter is to read from a Walsall playwright`s latest work at the St George`s Day and Shakespeare`s birthday celebrations this weekend.
The play, the second in the trilogy called “Home” by Walsall Poet Laureate Ian Henery (pictured with Susan Vickers co-hosting the Pop & Soul Stage at Willenhall Lock Stock Festival) was originally scheduled to be performed at the Walsall Festival of Words on 8th June.
However, Susan, who broadcasts daily to 395k people daily on WCR FM, wanted to bring it forward to mark St George`s Day and Shakespeare`s birthday.
“It`s a celebration of England” said Susan Vickers “and why multi-ethnic society is the way forward in the 21st century. It`s impossible to let the occasion of St George`s Day and Shakespeare`s birthday pass without proper recognition. Our national identity can be a divisive topic but the concept can also be enriching.”
Ian Henery was commissioned to write a trilogy of plays for China West Midlands which commenced with “The Chinese Labour Corps” set at the time of the First World War and featured in a successful week-long run at The Blue Orange Theatre in Birmingham.
The play was part of Wolverhampton Literature Festival and Chinese New Year festival Online 2022.
The play was funded by Arts Council England.
“I saw the play and it was excellent” said Susan Vickers.
The second play has a timeline set in the 1940/50s and features 2 families who migrated to this region from Hong Kong and Singapore.
The play explores ideas of family, sacrifice, place and time from Chinese and British perspectives in the socio-economic context of a significant period of recent history.
I wanted to be part of the reading performance to celebrate England which is a nation of immigrants. In the words of the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, “We all came here from somewhere else”.”
The readings will be supported by two Walsall poets, namely published poet Leanne Cooper who headlines at The Fountain in Walsall on 3rd May and published poet Sarah Battison who recently took part in a Shakespeare festival.
The reading performance for Walsall Festival of Words on 8th June will feature theatre makers with Chinese heritage who are alumni of New Earth Academy, Dudley Chinese Community Association and A Comedy Theatre Group from Stourbridge.
Organiser of the event, Francis Sheppard from Saturday Books said “we are celebrating England which can be experienced as a long history, fraught politics, a vastly changing landscape, a literary community that spans generations. It can be the sensations experienced after travel, the return to what is familiar.
Then the pride felt for our cities, sports and institutions and particularly for the men and women, both here and in other lands, touched by England, who have struggled to diminish the unrestrained power of rulers and have pushed forward the great causes of liberty and equality.
Just as much, poets have railed against the complacency, indifference and selfishness of society, its absorption in money and possessions, its insularity, its setting for mediocrity.
You can be irritated by its petty snobbery and then be appalled by the brutality on the streets, the heartlessness of cold officialdom.
You shudder at the demagoguery of the press and then you tremble in admiration for the courage of so many journalists.”
Poetry Breakfast – The Courthouse, Dudley 23rd April 10am – 12noon.
Admission free. Susan Vickers – Meet the Author Wolverhampton Central Library 7th May 12 noon.