Saddleworth Players

Love is in the air

Hello, I’m Andrew Wood, I have been a part of Saddleworth players for about eight years now, and I am currently playing Tony Lumpkin in She Stoops to Conquer, May 28 - June 4. If you would like tickets to come and see us click here.

A long time ago, before I joined Saddleworth Players, there were a lot more things to get involved with. There was SPextra, Saddleworth Players’ Extra, which hosted bar performances and one act plays with younger groups and visitors, and there were small events such as poetry readings. Not long after I joined, Edwina asked me if I wanted to revive some of these “extra-curricular” activities, which, of course, I was more than happy to. I told her that I write poetry, and she asked to see some. She then decided that a poetry-reading would be a suitable thing to start with.

We decided that the night should be a selection of some classical poems, some local poems and some of my own poetry. We chose a theme of “Love” and I started to collate all my poems that fit the bill. A few weeks later, we met at the theatre with a selection of all manner of poetry and a few experts from plays and started to sift through them to create a playlist of different styles, eras and different aspects of love. Not just the ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ type, but love for a child, love for pets, love for friends, to the seedy love for a woman of the night, and two women utterly sick to the back teeth of love!

Edwina and I got together some of the new members to help with this event, as both of us believe it is absolutely VITAL to the success and continuation of the theatre that new members are given as many opportunities to help out as possible. They are, after all, the lifeblood of a community run thing such as this. We also had Ian Crickett, a Saddleworth Players’ regular, as no-one else could have read the classical Lancashire dialect poems as clearly and with as much tenacity as he.

Such poems included where Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, Pam Ayers’ lovely rhyme about grandmother’s pudding (fantastically read by Edwina) and my own poems such as ‘What is Love’ and ‘Upon a Night’.

The whole shebang was received very well indeed. I was approached numerous times in the bar afterwards by people asking me if I had a book that was available to purchase. I didn’t at the time, as I was half-way through finishing my first book of poems. Since that night, however, inspired with the reception I received, I finished that book; The Wizard of Ula Clankbladder and other poems. This is a collection of what I consider to be my best poetry from years gone by. I had to sift through loads of old exercise books and writing pads and Word documents to find the best ones, and then collected them all in one volume. Shortly after, I began work on my second book of poetry; ‘Where Will You Find Yourself?’ which was to be my first book of entirely new poetry. I soon completed this and am currently working on a third collection. I believe that poetry is one part of the arts that we seem to have lost touch with nowadays. And why? We have poetry’s greatest asset: the English language. I have knowledge of many other languages, and I believe that only English has the raw power, the flexibility and the evocativeness of metaphor to create some of the most beautiful poetry in the world. From Wordsworth to Wilde, from Kipling to Keats, from Thomas to Teasdale. It is something that should be treasured and kept alive.

Here are links to my two books; available to buy on The Wizard of Ula-Clankbladder and Where will you find yourself? Anyone up for more Poetry Reading at Millgate Arts Centre ?

Drew Wood, May 1, 2016