Poet Lemn Sissay worked with three communities within Thanet – Minster, St Nicholas at Wade and Margate. From the communities he gathered thoughts, feelings and memories about the places they live – these then inspired the poem he wrote for the people of Thanet.
The poem was presented as part of a community celebration on the 26th January 2012 in each of the three places about which it had been written. In St. Nicholas at Wade the poem was translated into a song, in Minster a dance was performed at the Abbey and in Margate the poem was projected large onto the Turner Contemporary building.
Among the local artists taking part were the company “StevensonThompson” in collaboration with associate dance company “Moving On”. They produced a thought provoking interpretation of Lemn’s poem featuring intergenerational dancers, students from the University of Kent & nuns from Minster Abbey.
International composer, conductor and musician Tony Castro created a song inpsired by the poem. This was sung by a local community choir “The Big Sing”.
Kent based projection company Clever Projections created a dynamic and visually stimulating projection of the poem that was launched on the day of celebration and remained on the building for 4 nights. Students from Christchurch University were involved in the design of the animation.
The Project aimed to explore the role of the artist within our changing communities and more specifically to promote, inspire and stimulate a love of poetry.
Poetry Isle was designed and delivered by Workers of Art in partnership with Community Development at Thanet District Council and Arts Council England. This event launched Thanet’s celebration of culture and heritage taking place throughout 2012.
“As Lemn Sissay put it, this was a night in which ‘all the elements came together’. Appropriate words given that this event celebrated the opening of Turner Contemporary’s exhibition‘Turner and the Elements’. It was great and fitting to see new Margate-inspired poetry forming the inaugural projection onto the canvas that is Turner’s outside walls. The rousing voice of Lemn Sissay performing in the crisp Margate air, followed seamlessly by both the community choir and intergenerational dancers with their own response to the poem made this a truly magical event. A multi-faceted residency, poem and evening with Margate at its heart.” John Prebble – Arts Council England