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Ian McMillan hails The Verb's new season

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Ian McMillan Ian McMillan | 12:11 UK Time, Thursday, 15 September 2011

Saltcoats picture montage by Ruth Cowan


I love the fact that The Verb goes in seasons, from September to July, almost like the football season but with a few added weeks of delight; and once July becomes August I’m in full pre-season training, the books are arriving in jiffy bags, the ideas are flowing and I’m in the players’ tunnel and raring to go.

And now suddenly we’re halfway through September and the first programme is upon us. This Autumn in going to be a really exciting one for The Verb: we’re off to Freethinking in November of course and I can’t wait to get into the Sage in Gateshead and get to grips with all that thinking and all that talking and all those chance encounters in the café: ‘Ian, meet this bishop and that poet and this philosopher; teas all round!’

The Verb’s also on the road in October presenting special shows from venues in Stockton on Tees, Birmingham and Norwich, showcasing six writers from our Verb New Voices scheme; at each of the shows, two of the writers will be performing brand new pieces written specially for us and developed over the summer with the help of mentors. It’s like the New Generation Artists with ink, like the New Generation Thinkers with rhyme schemes.

And now it’s time to write the script and think about the questions for the first show; we’ve got a new piece from Janice Galloway, whose new memoir All Made Up details life in 1970s Saltcoats, a discussion about translation with master-translator (who avers that it’s an illusion that language consists of things called words) David Bellos, a couple of works-in-progress from our Verb New Voices, and performance from Mike Scott of the Waterboys; for the last twenty years he’s been working on making songs from the poems of WB Yeats and the results are amazing and astonishingly moving. His rendition of the lines ‘The silver apples of the moon’ almost reduced me to tears.

And you can’t have tears too early in a season, can you? Or can you?


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