Tonight, at the Swan Theatre in Worcester, Theo Theobald will hand over to a new Poet Laureate, who will reign over Worcestershire for the next year. But what exactly is so significant about being Poet Laureate beyond the fancy title? – I hear you ask. I caught up with Theo earlier today to put some questions to him.
Me: What have been some of the highlights of your year as Poet Laureate
Theo: Being appointed was fabulous, a real thrill. It has allowed me the privilege of performing all over the county, from the Mayor’s inaugural banquet to the pre-opening of Worcester’s fabulous new Hive building. I’ve also had the chance to write more and blend my poetry with stand up comedy, teaching the latter at Bromsgrove’s Artrix theatre.
Me: Could you have seen yourself in such a position a few years ago?
Theo: Certainly not! I occasionally dabbled with a bit of verse, but local performance poetry hero Spoz got me into doing slams and from there it was a short leap to having a go at the laureate competition.
Me: Are there a lot of crossovers between being a poet laureate, being a business consultant and a stand-up comic?
Theo: There is learning to be had wherever you look, finding the crossover between the different disciplines is not so hard. In increasingly competitive times we all have to project ourselves now and again and there’s nothing better for building confidence than standing on a lonely stage with just a microphone and a load of blank faces before you!
Me: What benefits do you think having a poet laureate has on Worcestershire?
Theo: It’s a great county with fine traditions and rich history. Of course the written and spoken word should be interwoven into that fabric, it’s part of life and above all the thing which sets one individual apart from another. The poet laureate position can be a great platform for helping to promote all of this.
Me: What is important for being a good poet laureate?
Theo: Write lots, perform even more and above all else be yourself…and stop doing that blank verse stuff, poetry should rhyme!
Me: Do you have any wishes for the new poet laureate?
Theo: That they are not nearly as good as me. Nah, not really, I wish them all the success in the world, take it and run with it and at the end of a year, see where you’ve arrived.
Far from taking a backseat after the end of his fantastic year as Poet Laureate, Theo will continue to be active at events throughout Worcestershire and beyond. On Monday night he will be heading “Well Versed In Comedy” at the Artrix in Bromsgrove. It promises to be a hugely entertaining evening of rhyme, wit and stand up. As the man himself said “Be there or be stupid!”
He will also be comparing at the Blues at the Fold Festival on July 7th – another not to be missed day out!
I hope to see most of you at the Swan Theatre tonight for Theo’s last outing as Poet Laureate and the crowning of his successor!