Categories Appearances Damian Lewis Events Helen Personal and Family Life Poetry Readings

A Poet for Every Day of the Year Review

Ode to Helen McCrory Cuts to the Heart of the Matter

by Dominic Maxwell | The Times | January 26, 2022

How would Damian Lewis, making his first stage appearance since the death of his wife Helen McCrory last April, begin an occasion dedicated to her memory? With a no-nonsense nod to the mixture of happiness and sadness of being at an occasional poetry reading event that she had taken part in previously herself? With a poem in her honour, performed to a well-scrubbed crowd (including McCrory’s friend Helena Bonham Carter) who had turned out to see him and Sir Simon Russell Beale, Fay Ripley, Danny Sapani and Lesley Sharp reading from the latest anthology of 366 poems edited by the evening’s organiser and host, Allie Esiri.

In the end, no. Lewis found a way to address the elephant in the room that was both unexpected and oddly fitting to such a charming, varied and resonant evening. He told a story about John Dennis, the 18th-century critic and dramatist who, it turned out, had inadvertently invented the expression “steal my thunder”. “One person whose thunder absolutely would not be stolen was Helen McCrory,” Lewis added, in the building where his late wife had successes in Medea and The Deep Blue Sea. “You could try, but it wouldn’t work.”

That done, he started off the evening of 30 poems with Robert Burns’s Address to a Haggis, his Scottish vowels enabled, he said, by a “little tutorial” from his father-in-law the previous night “after a couple of gins”. Not everything that followed had such a memorable accent to propel it, but almost everything here was pithy and impassioned.

Russell Beale gave his all, yet kept his usual sense of ease, to WH Auden’s O Tell Me The Truth About Love. Sharp was as good imitating Dorothy Parker’s cynical drawl for One Perfect Rose as she was joined by Ripley for a twin delivery of Tennyson’s The Charge of The Light Brigade. Although there were a few more greatest hits of poetry like that, more recent and less-known pieces made as much of an impression. Sapani’s reading of Two Guns in the Sky for Daniel Harris made one want to hear more from its author, Raymond Antrobus.

There was a moving finale when footage of McCrory performing at the event, in 2017, was shown as the final poem. It was a tremendous reminder that poetry cuts to the heart of things as much as it dances round their edge.

Read the rest of the original article at The Times

Categories Appearances Damian Lewis Events Helen Personal and Family Life Poetry Readings

Damian Lewis Reads From ‘A Poet for Every Day of the Year’ In Honor of Helen McCrory

A Poetry Dedication to Commemorate Helen McCrory

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | January 25, 2022

On Tuesday, January 25, 2022 guests gathered for a live poetry reading dedicated to the late, great Helen McCrory.  Allie Esiri, author of her latest installment A Poet for Every Day of the Year, curated the night’s event at the Lyttelton venue of National Theatre in London. From 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. a variety of readers took to the stage to read verse from the new anthology, including Damian Lewis, Lesley Sharp, Fay Ripley, Simon Russell Beale and Danny Sapani with 900+ audience members in attendance, together with Damian and Helen’s children Manon and Gulliver and family friend Helena Bonham Carter.

Damian introduced the evening as he shared an anecdote about the origins of the expression ‘stealing somebody’s thunder,’ which apparently comes from the failed playwright John Dennis in 1709. Damian remarked that nobody could steal Helen’s thunder on stage:

“This evening is dedicated to her and it’s perfect, because Helen loved the National Theatre. One person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen was Helen McCrory.”

Helen thought poetry mattered and supported Allie Esiri’s passionate determination to make it a part of our daily lives. Curator and Author Allie Esiri said,

“We dedicated the evening to Helen and Damian said a few words, but we just wanted to get on and do the show. It’s what she would have told us to do – OK, enough already, get on with the show!”

Continue reading Damian Lewis Reads From ‘A Poet for Every Day of the Year’ In Honor of Helen McCrory

Categories Appearances Damian Lewis Events Helen Personal and Family Life Poetry Readings

A Poet for Every Day of the Year at the National Theatre

A Poetry Reading Dedicated to Helen

by Staff | National Theatre | January 16, 2022

Damian, Allie and Helen at A Poem for Every Day of the Year at the National Theatre in November 2018. Allie organized the event and Helen was one of the readers.

Following the success of previous poetry reading evenings at the National Theatre, Allie Esiri is back on January 25, 2022 for a fifth year with a show based on her latest anthology; A Poet for Every Day of the Year. We will journey through a calendar year, highlighting key moments and dates with poetry from some of the world’s greatest verse writers, read by some of our leading actors. This event is dedicated to Helen McCrory, who took part in some of these poetry evenings in previous years. Allie Esiri and Damian Lewis will be joined onstage by friends including Simon Russell Beale, Fay Ripley and Lesley Sharp.

Continue reading A Poet for Every Day of the Year at the National Theatre

Categories Charity Helen Personal and Family Life Philanthropy

The Helen McCrory Studio Theatre

“Be yourself. Comparisons are odious. To thine own self be true.”

by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | November 24, 2021

Photo: Debbi Clark – Sir HvH Arts Instagram

Damian Lewis, patron of Sir HvH Arts Foundation was in attendance for the official opening of The Helen McCrory Studio Theatre at Francis Holland School Regent’s Park (FHS). The grand opening of the Art, Drama and Music studios was held on Tuesday November 23, 2021 from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm. The drama studio theatre is in honor of the late Sir HvH Arts Foundation patron Helen McCrory, who made an invaluable contribution to Drama at FHS.

Guests were given guided group tours of the new facilities where FHS students showcased the high caliber of work they produce during their art, drama and music lessons. In The Helen McCrory Studio Theatre, students performed costume rehearsals for the upcoming performance of Jane Eyre at the Steiner Theatre. Helen devoted much time and passion to HvH Arts, with Francis Holland School Regent’s Park being one of the foundation’s main sponsors over the years.

For more information about the foundation, visit Sir HvH Arts website here.

Categories Appearances Audio Events Helen Personal and Family Life Poetry Readings

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory’s Love Poetry Performance Rediscovered

Cheltenham Literature Festival Revisited

by Andrew Holgate | The Sunday Times | October 9, 2021

There have been some great Cheltenham Literature Festival moments over the years – Hilary Clinton in 2017, looking back on her presidential defeat the year before; a 92-year-old David Attenborough charming the audience in 2018. But surely one of the most electric hours in the festival’s history came in 2014, with the appearance on stage of the married couple Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory.

Here consists of a recording that was thought to have been lost, an electric performance at the 2014 Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival – one of the most memorable in the festival’s history – by Damian and Helen of love poems from the poetry collection The Love Book edited by Allie Esiri.

Earlier this summer, Damian rediscovered a recording of the event, which he offers here now to listeners as a tribute to his wife. To hear the recording in full, click here.

Continue reading Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory’s Love Poetry Performance Rediscovered