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Damian Will Read Poetry at Hay Festival 2022
by Damianista | damian-lewis.com | April 5, 2022
UPDATE May 28, 2022 – Damian is no longer part of the line-up due to conflict in scheduling.
The Hay Festival is coming back as an in-person event for the first time in three years! This is the 35th spring edition of the festival in Hay-on-Wye. They have announced their 2022 spring line-up with more than 500 in-person events and there will be a feast of talks, music, comedy, lectures, poetry and more from Thursday, May 26 to Sunday, June 5.
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National Theatre Talks
by National Theatre | YouTube | March 3, 2022
Join us to journey through a calendar year in poetry, read by actors on stage at the National Theatre. Allie Esiri and Damian Lewis were joined by friends including Simon Russell Beale, Fay Ripley, Danny Sapani and Lesley Sharp. Chris Riddell live drew the evening. A Poet for Every Day of the Year is dedicated to Helen McCrory, who took part in some of these poetry evenings in previous years.
Signed copies of A Poet for Every Day of the Year are available from the National Theatre Bookshop here. Every purchase supports the work of the National Theatre. This event was performed on the Lyttelton stage, National Theatre, London on Tuesday 25 January 2022.
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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
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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!”
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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.
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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.
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British Farmers Mark National Harvest Service with Online Celebration
by Ed Henderson | Farmers Weekly | October 2, 2020
Update: register here to watch online, then enter the Harvest Festival tent, then click Watch the Harvest Festival live, (link uses Zoom). You’ll be assigned a meeting ID and a passcode. Enjoy! Update Part 2: watch National Harvest Service here. (watch Damian about 16 minutes in, and his poetry reading appears to be a repeat from 2013)
Campaign group ‘Love British Food’ has teamed up with organizers of the Greatest Online Agricultural Show for a virtual harvest service on Saturday October 3, 2020.
The event will be streamed live from 1:00 p.m., led by the Bishop of Ripon, Helen-Ann Hartley. The two-hour service will include a message from the Duchess of Cornwall, reflections on the harvest from Muslim and Jewish leaders, a bible reading from actor Martin Clunes and a poem read by actor Damian Lewis.
‘Love British Food’ established the National Harvest Service in Westminster Abbey in 2013, it was the first harvest service to be held in the Abbey in nearly half a century and every year since a different town or city across the country has played host.
Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food, said: “This year we thought it is not going to happen with church services curtailed, but the very brilliant David Hill, who organized the truly wonderful online agricultural show, got in touch and said let’s do a virtual harvest service.” In May, The Greatest Online Agricultural Show raised thousands of pounds for charity after the coronavirus forced the cancellation of farm events across the country. Ms Robinson added: “We have some lovely reflections on what harvest means to those of the Muslim faith and Jewish faith. There are some really important, poignant and powerful messages that are well worth listening to.”
The Online Ag Show Harvest Festival will also feature a virtual harvest supper and, later in the afternoon, music in the virtual beer tent. The link to join will be posted on the ‘Love British Food’ website before it goes live at midday (around 12:00/1:00 p.m.) on Saturday October 3, 2020.
For detailed information about British Food Fortnight 2020, click here
Read the rest of the original article at Farmers Weekly here
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Turning to Poetry in Times of Need
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 22, 2020
Allie Esiri announced on Instagram that her poetry app, The Love Book, would be free indefinitely. She wrote,
“In case helpful, we have made The Love Book poetry app free, indefinitely. Many people turn to poetry in times of need and here there are many poems with over seventy read aloud by leading actors Tom Hiddleston, Helena Bonham Carter, Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory, Emma Watson, and Gina Bellman. You can read, listen, even record your own one and share it. Send a recording to your granny; help with homeschool. Plenty of poems about love to send to a friend, lover, mother.”
Download the interactive literary app from the Apple Store for iOS and Android devices.
An evening of poetry inspired by the great city of London was read by Damian, Helen, Mona Arishi, Theresa Lola, Yomi Sode and OnSide young poets in support of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal for Samaritans helpline, OnSide Youth Zones, and Place2Be, investing in youth and children’s mental health. The event was held at the Mansion House on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
View the rest of the photos from the event in our Gallery here