The Travels of St. Cecilia, gets its première on 22nd November. As I said before, I'm coming out of retirement as an actor for this, so it's a one-off.
St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music and thereafter, any resemblance ends, because this cantata is a joyful and often totally bonkers romp celebrating Oxford's twinning relationships with Bonn, Grenoble, Leiden, León, Perm and Wrocław. It's a deliberately jolly antidote to the horrors of Brexit and Fortress Britain.
Bring your friends. Bring your family. Bring a spirit of international friendship.
Speaking of which, I have no photos yet of the Peace Poetry event on Sunday 11th November at Beckley Village hall, but I can report that it was very well attended. An enormous amount of money was raised for both Peace Direct and Jalina Myhana, the poet who had come all the way from Florence only to be detained at Gatwick, fingerprinted, and deported to Milan, miles from where she and her British husband live. He was also denied entrance to this country. Fortress Britain gets uglier year on year. Eva Wal, our German poet, noticed a hostile environment at the airport as well. It is deeply depressing.
On the positive side, we had some marvellous poetry commemorating mothers - they are too often forgotten in remembrance events - written and read in both Arabic and English by Syrian poet Muradi Bakir. There was poetry from German and Austrian poets of the First World War, again, read in their original language and in translation. There were contemporary poems written in direct response to these, as well. German poet, Eva Wal, played a film she'd made with young people. It was a beautiful meditation on peace and time.
The whole event was deeply nourishing and I am proud that the perspective was determinedly international and forwards looking, as well as humble and reflective about our shared pasts.
Do have a look at Eva's blog to see what we got up to during the marvellous exchange between Bonn poets Dada War Alles Gut and Oxford's Stanza II. I still can't believe how much we managed to cram in.
Links for you: