Every time I go to York I swear to go more often. Such a beautiful city (particularly so in the winter months) and only two hours from King's Cross. In the last few years I've visited the University of York a couple of times with Psycho Poetica but this time we were bringing Sunspots to York St. John University.
St. John has very vibrant and active literature and creative writing courses and this performance was arranged with lecturer JT Welsch who managed to drum up a pretty good audience. The venue, Temple Hall, is spacious with amazing sound and a good lighting rig.
The space is perhaps the largest we've encountered so far and having ample room encourages me to take some of the passages more slowly, with more relish. There must be a theatrical equivalent to Boyle's law along the lines of, 'The absolute pressure exerted by a given mass of theatrical material is inversely proportional to the volume it occupies if the temperature of the lighting rig and number of audience remain unchanged within a closed performance space.' Perhaps not.
Tonight was the first time we've held a Q&A session after the show and, wine in hand, myself, Tom Chivers and JT chatted about the show's origins, the relationship of poetry to performance and the necessary thrill of keeping the central performance live.
My favourite questions were about the gender of the Sun in the show and my attempts to make it female, male, transitional, inanimate, deified, by turns. I was also asked about the darker passages concerning climate change, war crimes, the plight of refugees, the desecration of antecedent cultures and the increasing intensity these passages (written two years ago) seem to acquire as we go. Sunspots feels more like a warning than ever.
But don't forget that the Sun has fun in the show too. Next up: Kings Place, London, Monday December 7th.
Click for Sunspots tour dates.