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Swan Theatre Appoints Ben Parker as Poet in Residence

The year-long residency will see Ben write ten new poems, all taking inspiration from the world of theatre. “For the poems I will be producing over the next year, I plan to look at many different aspects of the Swan, including the building's history, the technicalities of back stage, and the productions themselves” Ben said. The newly appointed Poet in Residence has already drafted his first poem, written after a back stage tour of the Swan, and has made further plans to visit the costume store of the Worcester Repertory Company (the Swan Theatre’s resident professional theatre company), and to spend some time in the theatre’s workshop so that he can soak up the smells of paint and sawdust as he writes.

Ben will also be working with the Swan Senior Youth Theatre in an exciting project that has been sponsored by NADFAS, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. The project will see Ben working with the young people to create a performance poem, culminating in a public performance.

Ben will also host the first of an inaugural series of poetry open mic nights in the Swan Theatre bar, the first of which will take place in August as part of this year’s Worcester Festival. This will not only be an exciting opportunity to meet the poet and to hear him presenting some of his work, but will also be an open invitation to anyone wishing to share their own work, whether an established writer or poetry novice.

Chris Jaeger, Chief Executive of Worcester Live and Artistic Director of the Swan Theatre, said: “This is a very exciting development for us and we are really looking forward to working with the extremely talented Ben Parker.”

Ben said of the appointment: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Swan Theatre's Poet in Residence. Chris and I have already had a number of fruitful discussions about the direction my residency might take, and there are a number of exciting projects planned.”

Born in Worcester in 1982, Ben completed a creative writing MA in poetry at UEA in 2008. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was published by tall-lighthouse in 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013 Michael Marks Award. In 2014 he started a one-year residency at the Museum of Royal Worcester, and a pamphlet of poems produced during this period was released in 2015. His debut collection is due out from Eyewear Publishing this year, and he recently became the poetry editor of Critical Survey.