Performances, conferences, readings and other events relating to TS Eliot.
Please check events before making arrangements. No endorsement or recommendation is implied by inclusion.
Acclaimed multimedia interpretation of Four Quartets streaming online, October 2020
Pam Tanowitz joined with composer Kaija Saariaho and artist Brice Marden, with Four Quartets read by Kathleen Chalfant, to reimagine TS Eliot’s work. This 2018 World Premiere performance, at the Fisher Center in New York, was described by Alastair Macauley as “the greatest creation of dance theatre so far this century”.
The work had its UK premiere at the Barbican last year; Pam Tanowitz was interviewed by The Guardian, and scroll down to April 2019 below for its reviews.
The work is being streamed online across the weekend of Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1. Virtual access is available worldwide, with tickets from US$10. Details and access purchase are here.
Charleston Festival to show TS Eliot Arena documentary online, September 2020
The BBC’s landmark 2009 documentary, Arena: T.S. Eliot, is to be shown online, as part of Charleston’s Small Wonder Festival At Home.
The documentary “takes an in-depth look at the Nobel Prize winner and seminal figure in twentieth-century English language literary culture who was a regular visitor to Charleston.” (Pictured here with Virginia Woolf.) With contributors including Seamus Heaney, Lady Spender, Jeanette Winterson and Christopher Ricks, the documentary features never-before-seen private scrapbooks, albums and archive footage from Valerie Eliot.
The film will be shown alongside exclusive new poems inspired by the documentary from poets including this years winner of the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry, Roger Robinson. Full details of the event are here.
The documentary will be available via the Festival website from 10am, Friday 25 September to 10pm, Sunday 27 September. It is free to view, although viewers may consider contributing to Charleston’s emergency appeal.
TS Eliot and the Anxious Body, a free online lecture, August 2020
In a free online lecture, on Wednesday 2nd September at 5.30pm, Cécile Varry of the Université of Paris will address TS Eliot and the Anxious Body.
“How do you soothe the anxious body?” Varry asks. “The drastic solution suggested at the start of Eliot’s first collection of poems (1917) is to put it to sleep artificially (‘Like a patient etherized upon a table’). This is followed by more violent approaches: head chopping, impaling, flattening; and finally, at the end of an irresistible seaward movement, drowning. But the body always comes back, it always clings on.”
This paper explores Eliotic tension as something of the body, giving rise to a conflicted, overpowering desire for physical loosening.
Cécile Varry is a doctoral student at the Université Paris Diderot, where she also lectures on English Literature. Her research focuses on the poetry of T.S. Eliot, and more generally on the role of emotion in modernist poetry
The lecture is part of the Late Summer Lecture Series, an annual free public event hosted by Durham University’s Department of English Studies and READ (Research in English at Durham). To attend online, please reserve a free ticket through this website. You will be emailed the Zoom meeting number and password to access the lecture.
A virtual tour of The Waste Land in the City, August 2020
A virtual tour, The Waste Land in the City, will take place online on Friday 21st August from 2pm. Details of the event, which will visit City landmarks relevant to the poem, are here. Tickets are £5.
Online choral event to incorporate choruses from Murder In The Cathedral, July 2020
This will be the first live concert after six months of lockdown for The Sixteen, whose choir and period-instrument orchestra “stand today among the world’s greatest ensembles… acclaimed worldwide for performances delivered with precision, power and passion.”
Music for Reflection on Saturday September 19th will consist of eight choral works by Josquin, Sheppard, Arvo Part and others. Between them, actor Antonia Christophers will narrate three choruses from Murder In The Cathedral; the opening choruses of parts one and two, and the play’s final chorus.
The Sixteen’s Founder and Conductor Harry Christophers explains that “Our programme allows us to reflect on our lives and the lives of people around us. It is framed by two double choir litanies both prayerful yet full of hope, whose final prayer is echoed by the women of Canterbury.”
Performed to a limited audience at King’s Place, London, tickets are available to hear the evening live online.
2020 Annual TS Eliot Festival and International Summer School cancelled, April 2020
It has been announced with enormous regret that both the Annual TS Eliot Festival 2020, and the International TS Eliot Summer School 2020, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The TS Eliot Festival was scheduled for 5th July at Little Gidding; the TS Eliot Summer School was to have run 4th to 12th July in London.
Announcing the cancellation of the Summer School, Georgia Reeves, their Events Administrator, said “The Institute of English Studies have made this difficult decision in response to official UK government restrictions on large gatherings of people and in response to projected models of the evolving global health crisis caused by COVID-19. And while July seems like a long way off, it is our responsibility to look ahead with an abundance of caution and to act in accordance with public health recommendations.” Further details are here.
The organisers of the Annual TS Eliot Festival have, regretfully, taken a similar decision to cancel their event, but hope to welcome its audience back to Little Gidding next year. Both events are hoping to roll over as much as possible of their planned line-ups to 2021.
TS Eliot & Friends at the University of Kent, March 2020
This event has been postponed owing to the coronavirus.
TS Eliot Day at Aldeburgh Festival, February 2020
On the morning of Monday 15th June, AN Wilson’s film Return to TS Eliotland will be shown at the Aldeburgh Cinema. The screening will be followed by a talk and analysis of Eliot’s Four Quartets by Professor Mark Ford. Details are here.
Then in the afternoon (and repeated the following morning), the Doric String Quartet will stage a performance combining Eliot’s Four Quartets with Beethoven’s String Quartet in A Minor Op 132. “In this performance of the Four Quartets, actors interweave the text with the five movements of the Beethoven performed by the Doric Quartet in an enthralling re-imagining of two extraordinary works of art.” Details are here.
A limited allocation of tickets is available to first-time Festival attenders for just £10.
Southbank to stage Murder In The Cathedral opera, February 2020
Assassinio nella Cattedrale was first performed in 1958 at La Scala and has been frequently revived in Italy. This concert performance, a rare opportunity to hear the work sung in English, will be conducted by Martyn Brabbins with Sir John Tomlinson in the role of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
Bruno Bower will be giving a free pre-performance talk for ticket holders at 6.15 pm in the hall.
Jeremy Irons, Four Quartets, and Beethoven’s A minor Quartet, December 2019
“Jeremy Irons recites Eliot’s unsurpassed contemplation of time, the universe and the divine while Soloists of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra play Beethoven’s testament to beauty and humanity, the String Quartet Op. 132.”
The event, on Saturday 1st February at 7.30pm, is part of the Oxford Beethoven Festival; full details and booking are here.
See the News page for links to an audio documentary about the significance of Beethoven to TS Eliot.
Hannah Sullivan to give Annual TS Eliot Lecture 2019, October 2019
Her title is TS Eliot and the Art of Abandonment.
Dr Hannah Sullivan is Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow at New College, Oxford. Her Account of TS Eliot’s Poetic Development is published online by the TS Eliot Foundation.
Her first book, The Work of Revision, explored the complicated genesis of some of the major works of English-language modernism, including poetry by Eliot. In 2013, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize to write a second book on ‘free verse’ – “a strange, straightforwardly oxymoronic, historically unstable phrase that, nevertheless, is almost the only way we have of describing modern poetic form.”
She is equally well known as winner of the TS Eliot Prize for Three Poems, her acclaimed 2018 debut collection of poetry, described by the Chair of the judges as “an astonishing debut, challenging the parameters of what poetry can do”.
This is the first time that the Annual TS Eliot Lecture has been given in Oxford. Hosted at the TS Eliot Theatre in Merton College, and with a welcome from Professor Helen Small, Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, doors (on the Rose Lane entrance) will open at 5pm; admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis, and the event will begin at 5.30pm.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) are able to reserve seats for the event; see the Members Area for details.
Adrian Dunbar directs The Waste Land in London, October 2019
The “jazz soundscape” The Waste Land, created by Nick Roth and directed by Adrian Dunbar, will have three rare performances at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury, London on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November.
Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty) sets the poem in a multimedia staging for four actors, with a score for live jazz quintet by composer Nick Roth. A review of a previous performance (at the International Beckett Festival 2015) gives some indication of the nature of the work.
Tickets are £22 for the Saturday evening performance, £17 for the matinées, and full details and booking are here.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, live reading by Lemn Sissay, October 2019
Lemn Sissay MBE has only recently recorded his reading of Eliot’s collection. The first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics, Sissay is a regular contributor to radio and TV. Full details and booking are here.
Murder in the Cathedral – November performances in cathedral settings, September 2019
Coinciding with the 850th anniversary of the real murder of Thomas Becket, the theatre group Scena Mundi are staging November performances of TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral in cathedral settings.
The first are in Southwark Cathedral, on 4th, 5th, 12th and 13th November. ‘Thomas Becket preached his final sermon in London at the Priory of St. Mary Overie, now Southwark Cathedral,” says The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark. “It is therefore deeply appropriate that this new production will be performed at Southwark as we begin the marking of the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of this great saint. We look forward to playing our part in the remembrance of a champion of the English church and people.”
Financial Times, Sarah Hemming: “Seeing TS Eliot’s verse drama played out in a sacred space underscores the particular awfulness of slaughter in any house of worship.”
The Stage, Julia Rank: “Cecilia Dorland’s fluid production brings out its strengths”
The Guardian, Michael Billington: “I had forgotten how deftly his play mixes poetry and prose, rhymed couplets and free verse, the medieval and the modern.”
The Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish: “Tough on both the brain and the butt, but there are saving graces.”
UPDATE: There is important information about these performances for Members – see the Members Area for details
Francis Bacon inspired by TS Eliot, September 2019
An exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Francis Bacon: Books and Paintings, explores the literary inspirations behind the artist’s paintings, including that of TS Eliot.
“Bacon experienced poetry as a ‘compost’ which ‘bred’ images, atmosphere, associations,” writes Jackie Wullschläger in the Financial Times. “Many came from Eliot, the great fragmentary modernist. Bacon also paralleled his working process, mingling sources high and low, accumulating in his mind, as Eliot did, ‘numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles . . . unite to form a new compound’.” (quote from Tradition and the Individual Talent)
The exhibition includes Bacon’s 1967 Triptych inspired by Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes. “The outer panels of writhing couples with gaping mouths evoke precisely the brothel of Eliot’s poem Sweeney Erect“. The exhibition runs until 20th January.
Two Quartets – Eliot & Beethoven, September 2019
A music and spoken word event at St Martin’s, Gospel Oak, London, will bring together TS Eliot and Beethoven, on Sunday 22nd September at 5pm.
The Kertesz Quartet will perform Beethoven’s String Quartet in C sharp Minor Op 131, while Eliot’s The Dry Salvages from his Four Quartets will be read by the author and theologian Nicholas Sagovsky.
The music and the reading will be interwoven; admission is free but donations are welcome.
Talk on the life of TS Eliot at the Lindfield Arts Festival, September 2019
As part of the annual Lindfield Arts Festival in West Sussex, Cavan Wood will give a talk on Saturday 21st September, from 10.00am to 11.00am in The Bent Arms Function Room, Lindfield, on TS Eliot – a spiritual seeker. Details and booking are here ; admission is free.
Cavan Wood has been a Head of RE since 1993. He has written textbooks for Heinemann on Judaism and Buddhism as well as for the Think RE series. He is a regular contributor to Secondary Assembly File and a reader in the Church of England. His talk “will tell the story of TS Eliot, the American who settled in Britain, the radical young man who became an Anglican Church warden.”
In Place and Time: Benjamin Britten and TS Eliot, August 2019
With the music performed by the City of London Sinfonia, the event, In Place and Time: Benjamin Britten and TS Eliot, on Wednesday 20th November, is another marking the ninetieth anniversary of Faber & Faber, the publisher with whom both Britten and Eliot were profoundly linked.
Readings from Eliot will be Ash Wednesday and Little Gidding, while the works by Britten include his Canticle V (The Death of Saint Narcissus) and his popular Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge.
Tickets are £28 for reserved seating, or £20 for roaming (“cushions, wandering and other seating”). Full details and booking are here.
UPDATE: It has now been confirmed that the evening will include readings of Ash Wednesday and of Little Gidding by the acclaimed actors Alex Jennings and Juliet Stevenson.
Modernist event in Virginia Woolf’s garden with TS Eliot keynote address, August 2019
2019 celebrates the 100th anniversary of Virginia and Leonard Woolf purchasing Monk’s House and its celebrated garden. This evening symposium, held in the garden itself, will consider the significance of the garden to Woolf, the Bloomsbury group and other modernist writers and artists alike.
The keynote address will be given by Dr Jeremy Diaper of Durham University. He has published numerous chapters and articles on TS Eliot’s agrarianism and the history of the organic husbandry movement, including in our own Journal of the TS Eliot Society. His book, T S Eliot and Organicism, was published in 2018.
Quartets by TS Eliot and Beethoven at St Alban’s Cathedral, July 2019
This will be interspersed with a performance of Beethoven’s late quartet in A minor, Op 132; Eliot wrote to a reviewer of the poems, “You are quite right in supposing that the Beethoven late quartets were present in the background.”
Tickets are £20, and full details are here.
Annual TS Eliot Festival at Little Gidding – full details, June 2019
This year’s Festival features a reading of Little Gidding by award-winning author Ali Smith, pictured here inside the church which inspired Eliot’s poem, and which is open to visitors as part of the Festival.
There are talks by Eliot authorities from both the US and the UK; scarce and First Edition TS Eliot books for sale, along with journals and other publications; and a chance to read Eliot to the audience yourself.
And in addition to the programme of Eliot-related events, morning coffee, a two-course buffet lunch, and afternoon tea are all included in the all-day ticket price of £40 (concessions available)..
It’s a great day for Eliot enthusiasts, a true celebration of TS Eliot and of Little Gidding. For full details, the day’s timetable and a link to booking, visit the TS Eliot Festival page via the menu above.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) receive a special 25% discount on the ticket price – details upon booking.
Members can also enjoy an exclusive discount on the lithograph of Little Gidding by Carry Akroyd which adorns the Festival poster – and trigger a donation to the Festival itself. See the Members Area for details.
TS Eliot and A Life of Prayer at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road, May 2019
“More than just an order of words” – TS Eliot and A Life of Prayer is being hosted at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road by The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, on Sunday 16 June at 4.30pm.
“Drawing on his own academic interest in twentieth-century English literature, and his enthusiasm for the poetry of Eliot, Bishop Jonathan Baker will demonstrate in his talk the depth and insightfulness of this remarkable writer, and will help us make connections to our own spiritual development.” Afternoon tea is served afterwards, and Choral Evensong and Benediction follows at 6pm. For more details click here.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats at The Fitzrovia Chapel, May 2019
The Fitzrovia Chapel, in Pearson Square, London, is hosting an Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats lunchtime event, at 1pm on Friday 24th May
Kate Thorogood, Programme Curator for the chapel, will give an audio presentation of the work, with an introduction to the life and work of TS Eliot and his association with the neighbourhood of Fitzrovia. It is also an opportunity to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the beautiful building and hear about its Byzantine-inspired interior. Event details are here; admission is free, and tickets are not required.
The Waste Land in Sea Fever Festival, April 2019
Firstly with a sound and vision talk; then secondly as a two-voiced dramatic reading of the poem with fellow poet Richard Scott.
A new TS Eliot Guided Walk – in Bloomsbury and Marylebone, April 2019
Tina Baxter, who has led the guided walk around City of London sites from The Waste Land, has announced a new guided walk incorporating some of TS Eliot’s personal and professional locations in London.
The walk begins in Bloomsbury, home to Eliot’s offices at Faber & Faber, to his acquaintances in the Bloomsbury Group, and to his early publishers, The Hogarth Press. It travels across to Marylebone, to the apartments where Eliot lived during his first marriage, and the nearby Larrick pub.
The walks will take place on Sundays April 28, May 26 and July 21st. Further details and booking are here.
Members of the TS Eliot Society UK can book at the concession rate for these walks.
Interpretation of Four Quartets prepares for London premiere, April 2019
Previously acclaimed in New York, Alastair Macaulay called the work “the greatest creation of dance theatre so far this century”.
In The Guardian, Tanowitz herself talks about the work, for which she visited each of the Quartets’ locations. “The things I thought were abstract were literal,” she says. “We read the poem in each place and tried to map out how Eliot would have entered the garden, where he took a right or a left.”
Performances are from 22nd-25th May, and tickets are available here. Scroll down to October 2018 for further details of the work.
On BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters, (24.39 to 35.53) Tom Service talks to the composer Kaija Saariaho about how Eliot’s poetry inspired her, with extracts of the work’s music and reading from Four Quartets.
The Guardian, Lyndsey Winship: “Tanowitz’s dance seems to have absorbed the marrow of Eliot’s words, the sense of time stretching and contracting and existing all at once. This is a work of masterly craftsmanship”
The Telegraph, Tristram Fane Saunders: “Tanowitz’s Four Quartets attains a stark purity that captures the spirit of Eliot’s work, by avoiding every obvious choice. Her stripped-back approach feels at once distant and intimate. Rather than represent the poetry through music, here the poetry is the music. ”
Evening Standard, Emma Byrne: “Setting dance to words can be a risky business but Tanowitz resists any attempt to act out Eliot’s abstract verse. Instead she uses the four poems…as though they were a score, responding to changes in their rhythm and rhyme, focusing as much on their innate musicality as their content.”
The Times, Donald Hutera: “Eliot’s searching, quietly aching (and occasionally opaque) words — delivered, flawlessly, by the gently expressive [Kathleen] Chalfant — become a sounding board for dance.”
The Stage, Neil Norman: “Brice Marden’s painted screens range from sun-bleached Ordnance Survey maps to water-stained architects’ drawings. Grounded in classical movement, Tanowitz’s choreography is airily kinetic, but rarely innovative. The pleasure is in the detail…”
The Arts Desk, Jenny Gilbert: “Rarely in my experience has abstract contemporary dance – almost an hour and a half of it, without a break – been so varied or compelling.”
The Observer, Sarah Crompton: “The work’s achievement is to embody the tone and impulse of the poem without ever becoming literal. It is richly allusive, yielding its secrets slowly”
The Spectator, Laura Freeman: “This inspired translation from page to the Barbican stage is electrifying”
The London Magazine, Suzannah V. Evans: “Rather than offering the sort of emotive explanation that Eliot feared, the production is pared-back, its moments of movement and stillness cutting to the quick of Eliot’s poem”
TS Eliot ‘In Different Voices’ to feature readings and music, March 2019
TS Eliot ‘In Different Voices’ will include readings from East Coker, The Waste Land and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and the staging of a piece from The Elder Statesman. Click on the poster (left) for full details.
The event will take place in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall, Gulbenkian, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NB. Tickets are £6 including drinks and canapes afterwards, and are available here.
Cambridge production of TS Eliot’s Murder In The Cathedral, February 2019
The production, by the Bawds company, is directed by Madeleine Forrester and Helen McCallum. “The production aims to involve you – the audience – as witness, judge and jury.” Full details of the production are here, and times and booking are here.
Linked to the production is a commentary session at St Andrews Street Baptist Church, Cambridge on Thursday 21st March from 1–4pm. Lindsay Fursland, a tutor for the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge, will analyse key speeches in the play, examine the historical background and Eliot’s biography, explore how Eliot used ideas from Aeschylus, and compare Eliot’s own soul-searching with that of Thomas Becket. Booking details are here, or you can e-mail email@example.com to register then pay on the door.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – A Celebration, January 2019
On Tuesday 15th January, Nicolette Jones chairs an evening of reading and discussion, celebrating the book in the 80th anniversary year of its publication.
Full details and booking are here. UPDATE: The event is now to be streamed live on the British Library YouTube channel, and to libraries in Huddersfield, Poole, Hull and Norwich – details on that same page.
TS Eliot Festival 2019 at Little Gidding takes shape, December 2018
Three speakers have been announced to date. Dr Michael Hrebeniak of Cambridge University will speak on ‘The Epoch of Space: The Waste Land as Collage’; Dr Mary Ann Lund, of the University of Leicester, will be ‘Meditating on Little Gidding part I’; and the Little Gidding lecture will be given by Professor Robert von Hallberg from the University of Chicago.
A confirmed line-up and booking details will be released in due course.
Christopher Ricks to give Annual TS Eliot Lecture, November 2018
His title is: ‘The Imperfections of Humanity: TS Eliot and a Shakespearean Hero’
WH Auden once described Christopher Ricks as “the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding”, while Professor John Carey has called him “our greatest living critic”. He has written extensively on TS Eliot, publishing his influential book TS Eliot and Prejudice in 1988, and editing Inventions of the March Hare in 1996, and he was co-editor of the two-volume annotated edition of The Poems of TS Eliot, hailed as “a monumental achievement”.
“Ricks has been described as holding in his head all of English poetry,” wrote The Guardian, “and to see him lecture is to see him repeatedly reach into this apparently infinite database for the most subtle and apposite comparisons, echoes and rebuttals. It is a dazzlingly impressive gift.”
The Lecture is open to the public, and will begin promptly at 7pm. Admission is free on a first-come, first served basis.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) are able to reserve seats for the Lecture; see the Members Area for details.
Celebrated dance adaptation of Four Quartets comes to London, October 2018
A setting of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, hailed in the US and described as “a ravishing union of dance, music and art”, is coming to the Barbican, London in May 2019.
The work, which premiered in the US in the summer, combines choreography by Pam Tanowitz; music by Kaija Saariaho played live; narration by Kathleen Chalfant; and a stage design which centres on paintings by the major US artist Brice Marden.
The New York Times reviewed the work as “dance theatre of the highest calibre”, and “the most sublime new dance” for almost two decades.
Performances run 22nd-25th May, and public booking opens on Friday 26th October.
On Margate Sands, paintings and drawings based on The Waste Land, October 2018
“The Waste Land and Hamilton’s associated body of work find much to lament in the dirty squalor of real life, the loneliness of existence in the contemporary world,” writes the critic Charlotte Mullins, “but they also express something of the essence of humanity, probing the depths of feeling and the ancient heart of the land itself.”
Original paintings and drawings from the book will be on display at the gallery and, on the evening of the launch (6-8pm), Susie Hamilton will be “in conversation” with Charlotte Mullins.
The London Library to host readings of TS Eliot, September 2018
The late Josephine Hart, a Mayfair resident, is known for originating the Poetry Hour tradition of evenings of ‘great poetry read by great actors’. And TS Eliot was a member from 1918, and President between 1952 and 1965, of The London Library in St James’s Square.
Readings are to include The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, Rhapsody on a Windy Night, Dedication to My Wife and The Hollow Men. An all-star cast will be announced shortly by director Shevaun Wilder, and will be updated here when available. However, tickets are already on sale here at £18 (or £12 for London Library members).
LATE UPDATE: Actor Adrian Dunbar has been added to the line-up of participants.
“A new take” on TS Eliot’s drowned Phoenician sailor, August 2018
Susannah Heffernan, a writer of literary speculative fiction, will read from her new work in the Great Hall, Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick on 2nd October at 11am. The new novel, which takes inspiration from Eliot’s characters Madame Sosostris and the Phoenician Sailor, tells the little known history of American soldiers in Europe during the Great War.
Susannah will read from her work-in-progress, and there will be a Q&A session chaired by Professor Mike Tooby. Tickets are £7 and details are here.
Coventry hosts Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ exhibition, August 2018
Journeys with “The Waste Land”, the community project bringing together artworks that in some way are a response to TS Eliot’s poem, will culminate in September with an exhibition in Coventry at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.
As with its preceding exhibition in Margate, “the project introduces local people as expert advisers, exploring the meanings of the poem and its relationship to place. In Coventry, the poem’s imagery of journeys and fragmentation, of redemption through fire and rebirth, connects with the histories and myths of our city.”
The works selected for exhibition include historical and contemporary works, through which the exhibition explores themes within Eliot’s poem of journeys and fragmentation. The selection also makes reference to Coventry’s history as a city fragmented by, and rebuilt upon the ruins of war. The main exhibition will be at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry from Saturday 15th September to Sunday 18th November, and further details are here.
There are also a number of related local events, including a performed reading of The Waste Land in Coventry Cathedral on Friday 14th September at 6.30. Details of the local events are here.
Live performance of Four Quartets, July 2018
Peter Wilson previously ran the Theatre Royal, Norwich for 25 years. The sculptor Sir Antony Gormley said of a previous performance (see below, April 2018), “Peter’s recital of this quintessential modernist work was so moving, felt and internalised.”
Details and tickets are here.
TS Eliot Festival 2018 at Little Gidding, June 2018
Featuring talks and poetry, conversation and debate, lovely food and music, the TS Eliot Festival is a delightful celebration of Eliot and of Little Gidding, and a chance to meet other Eliot enthusiasts.
The Festival takes place in the garden of Ferrar House at Little Gidding, PE28 5RJ. In addition to the programme of Eliot-related events, morning coffee, a two-course buffet lunch, and afternoon tea will be served. And of course, the inspirational chapel itself is open to visitors on the day.
George Szirtes, winner of the 2005 TS Eliot Prize, will read and discuss a selection of Eliot‘s poems, and take questions from the audience.
Seamus Perry, Oxford Professor of English Literature, will deliver the Eliot Society lecture on Auden, Eliot, and the voices of Christianity.
The Reverend Richard Coles, priest, broadcaster and former pop star, in conversation with biographer Adam Begley, will discuss religion in Eliot‘s poetry, with specific reference to Little Gidding.
Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C White Professor of English Emeritus at Emory University, will give an update on recent Eliot publications.
An annual tradition continues: “My Favourite Eliot” with contributions from the audience.
The programme concludes with a reading of Little Gidding by actor George Blagden, well-known for playing Louis XIV in Versailles.
All meals and refreshment are included in the ticket price of £40.
(For members of the TS Eliot Society and the Friends of Little Gidding, tickets are just £30; enter your member’s password as the promotional code on the Select Tickets page to obtain your discount. Student tickets are £20.)
Tickets are available online now from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/t-s-eliot-festival-2018-tickets-46690163536
Exhibition of watercolours inspired by Four Quartets, June 2018
Watercolours by Janet Treloar, RWS, inspired by Four Quartets, are being exhibited at the Bankside Gallery, London as part of their Splash exhibition from 4th to 22nd July.
Her paintings were inspired by “my strong sense of Eliot and his strange, rather fractured identity, so 21st Century. and renewed every Sunday at Mass at St.Stephens Church, where I have been for over 20 years” (and where of course Eliot was Church Warden).
Pictured from the show above is And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane. Admission is free and the pictures are for sale.
Nicola Barker to discuss TS Eliot’s recordings, June 2018
The series invites contemporary authors to discuss the legendary voices that have meant the most to them. Each conversation features rare archival recordings. and is led by Bernard Schwartz, who produces the famed Reading Series at New York’s 92nd Street Y.
The Nicola Barker event is at the London Review Bookshop on 18th July at 7pm; tickets are £10, and full details are here.
Robert Crawford to lecture on Biography and Eliot, June 2018
Robert Crawford is a Scottish poet, scholar and critic, and currently Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.
The lecture is on Thursday 7th June at 17.30. Admission is free, and further details are here.
A Summer Evening with TS Eliot in Canterbury, May 2018
There are readings of his poetry by Sonia Bloom, Martin Schofield (whose father recorded an acclaimed reading of The Waste Land), and Malcolm Andrews, known for his readings of Dickens.
There will also be a performance of a scene from The Cocktail Party, a collaboration between two local theatre groups. And the evening also includes guitar music, drinks and canapes.
For full details, click to enlarge the poster on the right:
Rare London performance of sacred work with words from Little Gidding, May 2018
The anthem The Dove Descending, composed by Jonathan Harvey to words from Little Gidding, will be performed as part of an evening of sacred music by The Ionian Singers, at St Peter’s Eaton Square, London on 7th July.
The work, rarely heard in this country, was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Winchester for the Enthronement of a new Bishop in 1975. The Bishop-elect, John Taylor, had selected the words from Little Gidding. “A G major chord sounding through most of the anthem,” write the work’s publishers, “depicts the joyful love and irrepressible faith of a soul that clings to its Lord despite its suffering and anguish.”
Details of the 10 works to be performed on the evening are here.
Swindon Festival of Literature includes reading of Four Quartets, May 2018
Together, core-singer and choir leader Flora Pethybridge, and storyteller and speaker of poetry Ashley Ramsden, will read the poems on Monday 14th May at 8pm at the Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon. Tickets are £9 and details are here.
Four Quartets reading in West Norfolk’s Lit Fest, April 2018
“Though I’ve loved the Four Quartets for many years, I still find that they swim in and out of focus,” said Peter Wilson, who previously ran the Theatre Royal, Norwich for 25 years. “When I knew I was leaving the Theatre Royal I decided to challenge myself to learn the Quartets, in order to get closer to their centre, to comprehend their narrative arc, and to understand the human pain that informs them.”
Peter has performed his reading once before, at Norwich Cathedral. Sir Antony Gormley, Patron of Westacre Theatre, said “Peter’s recital of this quintessential modernist work was so moving, felt and internalised. I am delighted that he is repeating his performance at Westacre Theatre.” Full details and booking are here.
World premiere of TS Eliot’s “tram ride” choral work, April 2018
On the Tram to Nayland Rock, an imagined soundscape of a Margate tram ride from TS Eliot’s hotel in Cliftonville to the shelter at Nayland Rock, will receive its world premiere at the Turner Contemporary, Margate on Sunday 29th April.
The Thanet Big Sing Choir, accompanied by members of the Canterbury Christ Church University Wind Ensemble, with Vikki Hall, will perform this choral work, composed and conducted by Music Director, Tony Castro. It paints an aural picture of the sound world Eliot might have experienced, remembered or imagined on his journey.
Performances are at 12pm and 2pm in the Foyle Room, Turner Contemporary, Margate; admission is free. Details are here.
Jeremy Irons reads Four Quartets in Southwark Cathedral, March 2018
Southwark Cathedral is the oldest Gothic church in London, the main structure of which was built between 1220 and 1420. Located on the south bank of the River Thames, the building has a grand cultural presence.
The event is to mark the release of The Poems of T. S. Eliot read by Jeremy Irons, the audio recording originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in five broadcasts over the course of New Year’s Day 2017.
The event is on Monday 9th April at 7.30pm; details and tickets are here. The audio recording is published on 5th April.
London performance of The Waste Land jazz soundscape, March 2018
The “jazz soundscape” The Waste Land is to have a rare performance in London on March 17th, as part of a celebration of new music from Ireland. Created with the permission of the TS Eliot Estate, the work is “an attempt to capture the extraordinary verve and daring of Eliot’s great work”.
“Directed by Adrian Dunbar, with a specially commissioned score by composer Nick Roth and period film footage, this rare performative setting breaks the Poem down across four voices, taking as inspiration the idea of Sibylline Fragments – throwing letters in the air and making sense of them as they fall.”
One-off performance of Vivienne, March 2018
The operatic song cycle, dramatically and intimately staged, is based on the life of Eliot’s first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood. “This is Vivienne’s life told in a series of short scenes each containing a song. There are hints of cabaret or music hall (a favorite of both Eliots), perhaps something seedier or grander, full of Vivienne’s wit and intelligence”.
The work was premiered in 2013, and performed at the 2014 TS Eliot Festival; music is by Stephen McNeff, with a libretto by Andy Rashleigh whose references resonate with all Eliot enthusiasts.
Dance work inspired by TS Eliot’s Four Quartets to tour, February 2018
Richard Chappell Dance will tour their work At the end we begin to venues in Oxford, Doncaster, Exeter and Leeds from 8th March.
Taking inspiration from Eliot’s Four Quartets, the work consists of four quartets of dance, based on each poem. “Collectively, At the end we begin questions how time affects our understanding of ourselves as a point of departure, and inhabits the derelict and sometimes turbulent landscape of Eliot’s poetry.”
Paris, Eliot and Paris: A Poem, February 2018
The latest Dead Poets Live event in the Print Room at the Coronet, in Notting Hill, London, will tell the story of Paris the poem by Hope Mirrlees, by way of Paris the city as experienced by TS Eliot.
Paris was “acclaimed, dismissed and then forgotten; in the twenty-first century it has been rediscovered and reassessed as an early modernist masterpiece, anticipating… The Waste Land.” While Eliot’s “encounter with Paris and his encounter with French literature were essential to the style and atmosphere of his first two collections, the poetry that led up to The Waste Land.”
The event, featuring Charlotte Rampling and Lambert Wilson, is on Sunday 29th April at 7pm, and details are here.
TS Eliot events in Margate, February 2018
The primary exhibition, around whose presence the other events are scheduled, is Journeys with The Waste Land, to be held at Turner Contemporary, Margate from 3rd February to 7th May.
Taking The Waste Land and Eliot’s time in Margate as a starting point, Turner Contemporary has worked with a voluntary Research Group, made up of local people, to develop the exhibition, which consists of over 90 exhibits, including works by contemporary artists, such as Sir Peter Blake, Tacita Dean and Paula Rego, alongside past artists such as Jacob Epstein, Edward Hopper, Wyndham Lewis and JMW Turner, and a diverse range of ephemera, objects and documents.
The Turner Contemporary listing of the exhibition is here ; further details of the thinking behind the exhibition have been published in The Guardian; there is a video of the Research Group talking about their thinking; and Apollo Magazine have an overview together with images of some of the included works.
Reviews of the exhibition include:
The Telegraph: “Brave but doomed attempt to illuminate a bleak masterpiece”
The Observer: “His great poem echoes down the years in an evocative show”
The Guardian: “It ends up conveying – to use the words of Eliot – nothing with nothing.”
The Times: “You will find that what you are looking at feels a lot like Eliot’s ‘heap of broken images’.”
Financial Times: “Modernist work may look chaotic, accidental, close to collapse, but it is invariably controlled by a master — Eliot is the supreme example — of formal technique and conceptual rigour. And so it is with curating: anything goes doesn’t work.”
Coinciding with the Turner Contemporary exhibition, At The Violet Hour will “re-inhabit and re-animate the empty rooms, spaces and grounds of the Grade II listed Nayland Rock Hotel, Margate” from 3rd February to 11th March.
“In this exhibition, national and international artists riff off the ‘inviolable’ voices in TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, with a focus on myth, gender and facets of the self.” Details of this exhibition are here.
The Lombard Street Gallery hosts On Margate Sands, an exhibition featuring new artworks in response to The Waste Land and Eliot’s association with Margate by five of their resident artists: Anthony Giles, Claire Gill, Nick Kelly, Ruth McDonald and Chris Snow. Details are here.
And opening at the same time, but for four weeks only, the Lombard Street Gallery will also be showing works from the project, From Wasteland To Wasteland, in which a group of artists make connections between the power of a First World War site and the impact of the War
on Eliot’s poem. Details of that show are here.
There are a number of events as part of the Turner Contemporary’s Offsite Programme around Margate. For example, in Different Voices, at CRATE, in Bilton Square, Margate, staff and students from UCA Canterbury Kent will be using the artist book as a means of exploring themes located within The Waste Land, in a variety of different forms from books, zines, and pamphlets to sculptural objects. Details are here.
At The Pie Factory, seven artists exhibit paintings in A Current Under Sea – details here – in the first of a series of short exhibitions inspired by The Waste Land.
And there is an intimate exhibition of oil paintings and sketches in The Proper Coffee House titled The Deep Sea Swell – details here.
Video and photographic artist Sally Waterman is showing her short video work, In The Cage, at The Printworks, 1a Union Row, Margate, together with photographs from her work Sermon; both were part of a larger doctoral project Waste Land derived from the poem. A fragment of the video is here, and details of her Waste Land project here.
At Margate Museum, there is both Postcard from Margate, 1921, an exhibition giving a flavour of the town at the time (details here); and Prison, Palace, Sława Harasymowicz’s mixed-media artwork exploring the materiality of language in The Waste Land – details here.
For the fullest listing of their linked and Offsite Programme events, including guided walks, talks, live events and even card readings by “Madame Sosostris”, visit What’s On at the Turner Contemporary in February.
A good overview of events overall has been published in the local Isle of Thanet News. And scroll down this page for further details of the major events, and links to some related articles about TS Eliot and his time in Margate.
More TS Eliot exhibitions in Margate, January 2018
Details have been released of two further exhibitions in Margate of works related to TS Eliot, opening to coincide with the Turner Contemporary exhibition, Journeys With The Waste Land on 3rd February.
The Lombard Street Gallery will host On Margate Sands, an exhibition featuring new artworks in response to The Waste Land and Eliot’s association with Margate by five of their resident artists: Anthony Giles, Claire Gill, Nick Kelly, Ruth McDonald and Chris Snow. Details are here.
Opening at the same time, but for four weeks only, the Gallery will also be showing works from the project, From Wasteland To Wasteland, in which a group of artists make connections between the power of a First World War site and the impact of the War on Eliot’s poem. Details of that show are here.
Scroll down for details of both the Turner Contemporary show itself, and of a further coinciding exhibition, At The Violet Hour.
UPDATE: Visitors may be interested in an extract from David Seabrook’s book, All The Devils Are Here, which can be read here, exploring both contemporary Margate and the locations of Eliot’s visit.
Vivien Eliot and The Waste Land – a talk, January 2018
The literary scholar and translator Ann Pasternak Slater will give a talk on TS Eliot’s relationship with his first wife Vivien, and its impact on The Waste Land, at the Turner Contemporary Rendezvous, Margate on 11th March.
Pasternak Slater, who is currently editing Vivien Eliot’s literary archive for publication, will set Eliot’s poem in the context of the couple’s mental health.
The lecture is part of Turner Contemporary’s Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ (scroll down for more details), and the POW! Festival celebrating and exploring issues around Feminism, Women and Girls. Details of the talk and registration for free tickets are here.
Poole hosts exhibition of ‘Quartet’ paintings, January 2018
Inspired by TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, the paintings in her new exhibition evolved through a process of visual thinking. Ineke explains, “The words of TS Eliot slowly entered my work whilst the Old Master looked over my shoulder. Time present met with time past.”
Guided walk around TS Eliot’s Kensington, January 2018
“We will meet Eliot the church warden in his preferred Anglo-Catholic place of worship, Eliot the air-raid warden conducting fire drills in the streets, as well as Eliot the poet-publisher and practical joker.”
Poet, author and “urban explorer” McDevitt will be offering four opportunities to go on this walk; Saturday 20th, Sunday 21st, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th January, meeting 1pm outside Gloucester Road tube station. The walk costs £10, will last two hours and finish close to Kensington High Street tube station. Full details are here.
There is a discounted price for members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) – log in to the Members Area for details.
Home By Another Way, an event inspired by The Journey Of The Magi, January 2018
The evening, on Tuesday 23rd January, will include an opportunity to respond creatively to the theme through writing and drawing, or simply to enjoy a time of quiet in the beautiful setting of the Cathedral.
The event will be led by two academics from the University of Leicester, Dr Mary Ann Lund, and Dr Scott Freer (Editor of the TS Eliot Society’s Journal). Admission is free, and further details are available on a PDF here.
Exhibition inspired by “the inviolable voices” in The Waste Land, December 2017
Coinciding with the Turner Contemporary exhibition in Margate (below), At The Violet Hour will “re-inhabit and re-animate the empty rooms, spaces and grounds of the Grade II listed Nayland Rock Hotel, Margate” from 3rd February to 11th March.
“In this exhibition, national and international artists riff off the ‘inviolable’ voices in TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, with a focus on myth, gender and facets of the self.
“Recalling Eliot’s own convalescence in Margate in 1921, some of the works in this exhibition will be created during short artist residencies held at the hotel, alongside a number of specially commissioned, site-specific works responding directly to the visual lexicon of The Waste Land against the backdrop of the hotel’s heritage; its faded grandeur, peeling wallpaper and artexed surfaces.” More details of the exhibition are here.
Further details released of Journeys with The Waste Land at Turner Contemporary, December 2017
The culmination of of a three year project designed to develop a pioneering approach to curating, the exhibition Journeys with The Waste Land will be held at Turner Contemporary, Margate from 3rd February to 7th May.
Taking The Waste Land and Eliot’s time in Margate as a starting point, Turner Contemporary has worked with a voluntary Research Group, made up of local people, to
develop the entire exhibition. “Its long term collaborative curatorial methodology involved a large number of people in a research group, through open workshops, a wide range of events, and ideas and work generated by groups and individual participants. It is designed to challenge the distinctions often made between ‘presentation’, ‘research’ and ‘engagement’. ”
The exhibition will consist of over 90 exhibits, including works by contemporary artists, such as Sir Peter Blake, Tacita Dean and Paula Rego, alongside past artists such as Jacob Epstein, Edward Hopper, Wyndham Lewis and JMW Turner, in addition to a diverse range of ephemera, objects and documents. The Turner Contemporary listing of the exhibition is here.
UPDATE: More details of the thinking behind the exhibition have been published in The Guardian.
The Waste Land to be presented in “performative setting”, November 2017
First performed in 2015 as part of the Beckett Festival, this setting remains true to all of the then contemporary rhythms and references. It has the permission of the TS Eliot Estate.
According to a review of its previous performance, which also gives more background and details of the work, its short musical passages “simultaneously surmise and anticipate the text, while conjuring radial points of reference to the poem as a whole” The Estate “stipulated that the music could not play simultaneously with the readings but only in the breaks between the various sections”
Booking is now open for the presentation, in the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin on Saturday 24th March.
Annual TS Eliot Lecture 2017:
‘The man and woman who suffer in The Waste Land’ by Professor Ronald Schuchard, October 2017
UPDATE: An audio recording of this lecture is now available to members of the TS Eliot Society UK in the Members Area.
His subject is ‘The man and woman who suffer in The Waste Land’.
Ronald Schuchard is a world-renowned expert on TS Eliot’s life and works. He is the Goodrich C White Professor of English Emeritus, at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder-director of the School of Advanced Study’s TS Eliot International Summer School. And following a career of books, publications and positions relating to Eliot studies, he is currently serving as General Editor of the multi-volume edition of The Complete Prose of TS Eliot.
The Lecture, presented by the TS Eliot Society (UK), is again hosted by Newnham College, Cambridge, recipients of the Valerie Eliot Fund for English, and will be given in:
Lucia Windsor Room, Newnham College, Cambridge CB3 9DF
The Lecture is open to the public, and public admission is free, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Members of the TS Eliot Society UK can register for reserved seating at the Lecture, and for a private drinks reception afterwards. Please see the Members Area for details of how to register, and also for details of the Society’s AGM, which precedes the Lecture.
Rare performances of TS Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes, September 2017
Written in the mid-1920s, this was a first experiment with verse drama that explored the rhythms of jazz, music hall patter and the colloquial speech of 1920s London. This work-in-progress production by Lewes Live Literature “shows it has lost none of its power to surprise, amuse or disturb.” Tickets for each performance are £7 in advance, £9 on the door and details and tickets are here.
Second TS Eliot Lecture at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin announced, September 2017
The actress Fiona Shaw, known for her readings will read one of his best-known poems to open the evening of the second TS Eliot Lecture at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, on 17th November.
This annual lecture, presented by the TS Eliot Estate, is inspired by Eliot’s impact on modern literature. It commemorates the occasion in June 1940, when The Friends of the Irish Academy invited T.S. Eliot to the Abbey Theatre to give the first annual lecture in memory of W.B. Yeats, who had died the year before. Eliot took the opportunity to talk particularly about Yeats’ verse drama and his gratitude for Yeats’ influence on his own plays.
The 2017 lecture will be delivered by Samantha Power, Pulitzer Prize winning Irish-American author and former American Ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama. She will be introduced by Bob Geldof, and interviewed afterwards by Fintan O’Toole. Details and tickets are here
Live readings of Four Quartets, September 2017
Two readings of Four Quartets have now been announced, as part of the Kitchen Table Tour by Flora Pethybridge, singer and storyteller, and Ashley Ramsden, the founder of International School of Storytelling UK
As part of the North Cornwall Book Festival, they will perform their “conversational telling” of the work in St Endellion (left), “one of Cornwall’s most haunting and evocative churches”, on Thursday 5th October at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 and full details are here.
Then they will perform on 15th October at 7.00 pm in Pyecombe Church near Brighton, BN45 7FR. Tickets are £12 on the door, wine and refreshments included.
Walking with The Waste Land, Margate, July 2017
Starting at Margate Station at 10 am, and taking in the seafront, the walk will connect with well-known Margate locations that resonate with the poem, and with artworks chosen for an exhibition next year at Turner Contemporary, Margate. The event is free and open to all; details and registration are here and further details from the artist and architect leading the walk are here.
Charleston stages Four Quartets readings in Berwick Church, July 2017
Charleston, the Bloomsbury group house near Lewes, is staging readings of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets in nearby Berwick Church.
Eliot had a close association with the Bloomsbury set, who first published The Waste Land through their Hogarth Press. Berwick Church, near Charleston, has murals painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.
Jeremy Irons added to TS Eliot Festival line-up, June 2017
The actor Jeremy Irons, known for his readings of TS Eliot’s poetry on stage and on BBC Radio 4, has been added to the line-up of the TS Eliot Festival 2017.
This will be a unique opportunity to hear Jeremy Irons reading Little Gidding at Little Gidding.
The TS Eliot Festival 2017 is being held at Little Gidding on Sunday July 9th from 11:00 to 18:00. Jeremy Irons is an exciting addition to a line-up that already features celebrated novelist Ali Smith reading The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
An inspirational day of talks, readings, and discussions, on the occasion of the centenary of TS Eliot’s first published collection, Prufrock and Other Observations, this year’s Festival will also feature lectures by two distinguished academics, Robert Crawford and Marjorie Perloff. In addition to the programme of Eliot-related events, morning coffee, a two-course buffet lunch, and afternoon tea will be served.
Full details and booking are here.
Production of Murder In The Cathedral, June 2017
A production of TS Eliot’s Murder In The Cathedral is being staged by the Sutton Amateur Dramatic Society, in St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Wallington SM6 7NJ. Directed by David Page, performances are on 22nd-24th June, and full details and tickets are here.
Annual TS Eliot Festival 2017 – details released, May 2017
In the centenary year of TS Eliot’s first published collection, Prufrock and Other Observations, the 12th annual TS Eliot Festival, an inspirational day of talks, readings, and discussions, will take place at Little Gidding on Sunday, 9th July 2017.
The Festival takes place in the garden of Ferrar House at Little Gidding, the church which inspired the last of Eliot’s Four Quartets, and which is open to visitors on the day.
Full programme and booking details are now available on our dedicated Festival page.
Jeremy Irons and Professor Ron Schuchard in centenary event, May 2017
Professor Schuchard’s lecture, entitled ‘Eliot in the Classroom – 1916 to 1919’, will focus on Eliot’s early writing, much of which was shaped during his time as an extension tutor for the University of London.
Internationally acclaimed actor Jeremy Irons will follow the lecture with a reading of Eliot’s Four Quartets to an audience of world renowned academics, guests, students and staff from the University of London.
A number of public tickets are now available; full details of the event with a public booking link are here.
A celebration of the 90th anniversary of TS Eliot’s baptism, April 2017
St Cyprian’s Clarence Gate, where TS Eliot attended services while living in London’s Clarence Gate Gardens, is planning a celebration on Saturday 1st July, to mark the 90th anniversary of Eliot’s baptism (on 29 June 1927).
The day will include a talk by former Archbishop Rowan Williams on The Fire and the Rose: Eliot and the Incarnation, and by former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries on Eliot’s Conversion, followed by a conversation between the two. Full details are here.
Holy Trinity Church, Finstock, where TS Eliot was baptised, is also planning an Eliot-themed Sunday Service at 10.30 on 25th June to mark the anniversary. For details, e-mail the Rev’d Sarah Jones on Sarahtandem@hotmail.com
Reading The Waste Land study course, March 2017
“Two expert lecturers will open our eyes to this poem, helping us to understand some of its interests and its literary techniques, and showing us why The Waste Land can be so rewarding to read.”
Sarah Cain (who spoke at the TS Eliot Festival in 2014) and Michael Hrebeniak will guide the group through the context and content of the poem. Stapleford Granary is at Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP; tickets are £60 and details are here.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) can purchase tickets for this study course at a discounted rate; see the Members Area for details.
From wasteland to The Waste Land project, March 2017
Inspired by the dramatic site, the manmade landscape, and the stories behind it, the artists are to visit the battlefield site, draw connections with TS Eliot’s poem, and make new work as a response.
The project is being presented at an event at Marine Studios, Margate on Friday 2nd June (details are here) The plan is to continue to work together after an initial exploration, with a view to holding an exhibition in 2021, the centenary of Eliot’s time in Margate. More details of the project are here.
TS Eliot’s Non-Liberal Voice, April 2017
In one of the free Contemporary Art Talks at Goldsmith’s, University of London on 26th April, writer and artist Sam Robinson will speak on TS Eliot’s Non-Liberal Voice.
“In 1928, Eliot famously declared himself ‘classicist in literature, royalist in politics and Anglo-Catholic in religion.’ But he also described how ‘one wakes up astonished to find that one does not feel the same about something as one did yesterday.’ Working in the shadow of contemporary visual art, both of these statements might prove telling…
“If Eliot is often used to represent establishment conservatism, then in other hands he is a radical figure. Eliot’s case—and the discourses that surround it—illustrate how cultural elites have understood—and indeed misunderstood—who artists are, what they might think, and how they might behave.” Sam Robinson has written on the subject here, and full details of the talk are here.
Radio dramatisation of The Waste Land, March 2017
The UK-based internet broadcaster, Channel Radio, will be transmitting a dramatisation of The Waste Land on 30th April at 2pm.
A joint independent production by Old Dolly Productions and People Scope, the team behind the dramatisation are Lisa Nightingale (actor), Jim Newberry (actor & director), and Robbie Burgess (sound technician), plus supporting voices.
TS Eliot: Realism and Reality, lunchtime lecture at the National Portrait Gallery, March 2017
In a late change to a scheduled lecture, Jim McCue, one of the editors of the acclaimed critical edition of The Poems, will give the lunchtime lecture at the National Portrait Gallery, London tomorrow, Thursday 16th March.
McCue’s lecture is titled TS Eliot: Realism and Reality. The NPG’s outline says, “‘How unpleasant to meet Mr. Eliot’, wrote the poet himself. Fifty years after TS Eliot’s death, we can’t forget his poems, but we can’t be comfortable with them either.” Doors open 12.45, and the lecture begiuns at 13.15; full details are here.
Simon Russell Beale reads TS Eliot with Bach’s St John Passion, March 2017
The performances take place at Norwich’s St Andrew’s Hall on Thursday 13 April, at London’s Barbican on Friday 14 April and Cambridge’s King’s College Chapel on Saturday 15 April.
Mark Padmore, who sings the role of Evangelist and has curated the programme, said “Bach’s St John Passion is a profound meditation on suffering. It was written to disturb our consciences and provoke our compassion. By including biblical texts and poetry by TS Eliot we hope to focus attention on the message that this timeless masterpiece has for our own age.”
Professor Dame Marina Warner gives TS Eliot Memorial Lecture at Eliot College, March 2017
Under the title ‘What place is this, what land, what quarter of the globe?’ The compass of story in dislocated times, Professor Dame Marina Warner will look at migrating stories, from myths of Troy to Eliot’s uses of Christian legend, and trace the compass bearings they offer, against the background of the current refugee crisis.
Professor Dame Marina Sarah Warner, DBE, FRSL, FBA is a British novelist, short story writer, historian and mythographer. She is known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth.
The lecture is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Full details are available by clicking on the image above, or when updated on the University of Kent website here.
Readings of The Waste Land and The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, February 2017
“The Love Song will be performed as a monologue and then five actors will give voice to the many characters, ideas and sounds of The Waste Land. The performance will be followed by an informal discussion.”
The performances are at Farnham Library on Wednesday 8th March, and Basingstoke Discovery Centre on Thursday 6th April, and tickets include a glass of wine. Full details via Alton Fringe Theatre here.
The Waste Land in the City guided walks, February 2017
Tina Baxter has scheduled six of her popular guided walks around sites in the City of London related to The Waste Land. The walks take place on dates between March and June 2017, and details are here.
The walks take in churches such as Magnus Martyr and St Mary Woolnoth, streets including King William Street and Lower Thames Street, and the location of Eliot’s office at Lloyd’s Bank.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) are entitled to the Concession price when booking tickets.
TS Eliot & Decadence, January 2017
A live event is being staged on 21st February at 7.30, at King’s Place, London, “featuring a glittering line-up of speakers, poetry readings and live music, which will transport you back to Paris in 1910 and to the amazing cultural scene which so decisively influenced the work of TS Eliot.
“In 1910 Eliot spent a year living in Paris and studying philosophy at the Sorbonne. Arguably we owe much of his early work, including his first major poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, to this exposure to French culture, and to the Decadent movement in particular, including the work of the poets Jules Laforgue, Arthur Rimbaud, and Paul Verlaine.” A short essay exploring the influence of the Decadent movement on Eliot is here.
“Featuring Simon Callow, the distinguished star of stage and screen, and Roy Howat, internationally acclaimed pianist and musicologist, Margaret Reynolds, the inspiring academic and broadcaster, and Matthew Creasy, a leading expert on the French Decadent movement, this special event will show how French cultural influences played a profound part in forging the mature work of TS Eliot as a poet, writer and critic.”
Tickets and full details are available via the King’s Place website here.
Members of the TS Eliot Society (UK) can obtain a special discount on tickets for this event. See the Members Area for details
Richard Williams: artworks inspired by Eliot’s poetry, January 2017
The Poetry of Painting is an exhibition of artworks by Richard Williams that explores the poetry of TS Eliot. Four large paintings relate to Eliot’s Four Quartets; three other large paintings form a triptych which visualises themes from Eliot’s Selected Poems. The exhibition is at Rose Theatre, Kingston from 11th to 25th February, and admission is free.
Reading of Four Quartets in Michaelhouse, Cambridge, January 2017
Beginning on 7th February, and continuing on 14th, 21st and 28th February, each reading is at 1.00, and lasts approximately 30 minutes. The readers are Keith Brown, Pauline Davison, Susan and Peter Hilken. Admission is free. Full details in a PDF are here.
In Our Time, on BBC Radio 4, to discuss Four Quartets, December 2016
Hosted as usual by Melvyn Bragg, the participants will be Fran Brearton of Queens University, Belfast; David Moody of the University of York; and Mark Ford of University College, London, who gave the Annual TS Eliot Lecture in 2015. The programme will be available to listen online here after broadcast.
Jeremy Irons to read from complete Eliot canon on New Year’s Day, December 2016
Following his acclaimed recordings of The Waste Land, Four Quartets and other poems, and his broadcast of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats last Christmas Day, Jeremy Irons has now recorded further Eliot poems, and all will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 over five periods throughout Sunday 1st January.
“Each section will be presented by Martha Kearney and a special guest,” says the BBC, to “explore the excitement and the achievement of Eliot’s language”. The novelist Jeanette Winterson will be one of the guests “for this celebration of the enduring power of Eliot’s writing.”
UPDATE: The timings of the five broadcasts are:
13.30 Poems 1920
14.00 The Waste Land
19.15 Four Quartets
Shortly after the live broadcasts, the readings will be available on the BBC iPlayer via the links above.
The event has been entertainingly previewed by Antonia Quirke in the New Statesman.
For earlier events see