Icons of poetry in unique show from local actor

A Meeting Of Minds is a skillful weaving together of work by three giants of British poetry and literature - John Betjeman, Philip Larkin and Alan Bennett.

Wednesday, 19th October 2016, 11:10 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:09 am

It’s a new presentation by Rye actor Martin Wimbush who first performed it during Rye Arts Festival in September.

Martin compiled and created the piece himself and blends poetry with prose in a unique performance.

He will bring it to the Rye Creative Centre, on the A259 towards Camber, on Sunday October 30 at 5pm.

He is doing this to raise funds for ARRCC which is the Activites, Respite, Rehabilition, Care Centres charity which has a base in Rye, but also to draw attention to Rye Creative Centre itself.

“The charity provides a range of support for people with different disabilities - either learning difficulties or physical difficulties - and operates from Rye Creative Centre which is run by Irna Mortlock and Sam Williams and is a best kept secret in Rye because it is a marvellous space.

“Because the show went so well at the Rye Arts Festival and so many people wanted to see it I offered my services to Irna and said I would do a charity show for her. It keeps the show alive and I realise it now has legs.”

His inspiration came from reading a book by Alan Bennett called Six Poets From Hardy To Larkin, which had poems interspersed with essays about them.

“I thought it would be a very good idea to present these poems, not read them but actually perform them in miniature plays, to present them to an audience like a dramatic soliloquy, then to read Alan Bennett’s essays on the side of the stage; he captures both poets in a clever, witty and humourous way. It is a very effective way of making poems come to life rather than just reading them to an audience.

“To some degree Larkin and Betjeman are very English poets, they wrote straightforward English poetry which is quite accesssible, but at the same time they are different in their individual styles.

“A lot of people who are a bit wary of poetry said when they came to the show the poems were brought alive. I am delighted with the response, there is nothing more exciting than creating a show and playing to a packed-out audience, and there is also something very exciting about listening to an audience which is silent...you always want an audience to react but the great skill is to hold an audience and you can hear that audience listening. That is what I find so exciting, and it all worked so effectively.”

Martin moved to Rye in 1989 and his acting career has spanned 45 years. His last major films were The Honourable Rebel, which he introduced to Rye Film Club at the community centre, and The Iron Lady in which he played a cabinet minister to Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher.

Born in London, he trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then worked extensively in regional theatre before going into television and then later into film. His TV appearances have been wide and varied - everything from Upstairs, Downstairs in 1975 to Terry and June, Boon, and Lovejoy to EastEnders, and Hustle. His other film work includes Orlando, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Ali G Indahouse, and Wimbledon.

Tickets £10 can be reserved at Rye Creative Centre on 01797 229797 or purchased at the ARRCC shop at 7 Cinque Ports Street.

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