Monday, 24 March 2014

A friendly and conversational tone

Wednesday Evening 19 March –HEART
Helen Burke – Leeds Combined Arts partnership event.

Doug Sandle writes:
Leeds Combined Arts was formed in 2006 and organises monthly poetry readings, arts events and projects. Founded in the former old Headingley Community Centre its monthly meetings now take place at HEART. The main aims of LCA is ‘to provide workshops and events in schools, theatres, local community centres and other organisations and to encourage and create opportunities for members and the wider community to participate in a variety of arts related events and activities’. LCA has regularly held partnership events with the Headingley LitFest and this year the writer, performer, artist and poet Helen Burke was featured reading her own poetry.

As well as providing a colourful display of her own expressive art work and original textile designs, Helen delivered her poetry within a friendly and  conversational tone that is both intimate and accessible and which, perhaps paradoxically, added to its emotional potency and expressive intensity. As feedback from the attentive audience confirmed, her work, which draws upon her own personal experiences and encounters, is “thoughtful, thought provoking and moving” and evidence of a “wonderful imagination”. Her work can also be engagingly humorous - as with her popular poem about a French cat encountered in Paris that is cleverly observed and amusingly characterised much to the delight of the audience. 

Helen’s impact was summed up by the feedback comment of one audience member who in describing it as an ‘excellent performance’, tellingly revealed that he/she ‘had never been to a poetry reading before and really enjoyed it’ - now that’s just the kind of response that Headingley LitFest finds very gratifying – so thanks to Leeds Combined Arts and to Helen for a memorable evening.

Audience comments:

1.     Excellent event. Entertaining. Intelligent. So much so that Helen is booked to appear at ‘Poetry by Heart (in partnership with HLF) in March 201.
2.      Excellent event. Very entertaining poems. Lovely evening.
3.     Loved every word. This is the second time I’ve seen Helen perform now; I am a big fan of her poetry.  
4.     Very lively. Entertaining. An excellent human being of great humour & powers of insight.
5.     Enjoyable evening in a friendly comfortable atmosphere.
6.     Helen has some very unusual poetry, some very thought provoking. 
7.     Wonder food for the soul.
8.     As always, Helen’s work is thoughtful, thought provoking, funny and moving. A wonderful imagination – lovely to have the chance to hear her in solo performance.
9.     Good event, right-sized room. Interesting mix of poetry & paintings/prints/textiles, verbal and visual. Good to have short tea break.
10.  The LitFest as a whole has been great so far, and I especially enjoyed Helen Burke’s reading at the LCA event.
11.  Excellent performance. Just the right length. Have never been to a poetry reading before & really enjoyed.
12.  A very enjoyable evening.
13.  Totally amazing.
14.  Very good poet reading some very interesting and funny poetry as well.
15.  Very entertaining and good fun. Excellent performance from Helen.  
16.  The length of the programme felt just right, and Helen’s poetry was great, and well defined between the interval.  
17.  Great. Engrossing. Captivating. 

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