Luton remembers ‘16 Rising in poetry

Luton remembers ‘16 Rising in poetry

The Luton Irish Forum will commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising with a series of events celebrating Irish culture and the impact of 1916.

An afternoon under the banner of The Poet’s Rebellion will feature a collection of talks about the Rising as well as musical and dramatic performances.

Ireland’s Ambassador to the UK, Dan Mulhall, will present Ireland 1916: A Tale of Two Thomases – an in-depth look at the poets MacDonagh and Kettle – before taking questions from the floor.

Colm and Christian Traynor, of the Westminster Cathedral Choir, will give a special rendition of Danny Boy, while special guest Kathy Carr will perform Padraic Colum’s She Moved Through the Fair. Dr Ivan Gibbons, of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, will give a lecture entitled 1916: What did it all mean? – an exploration of the British response to the Easter Rising.

And students from Luton’s Cardinal Newman Catholic School will give an interpretative drama presentation based on what they learnt about 1916 during recent study sessions.

Speaking about his lecture, Dr Gibbons said: “This is an amazing opportunity to discover what the immediate response was in Britain to the trauma and upheaval of the Easter Rising, an approach which is usually neglected in any consideration of the impact of this momentous event.” Ms Carr added: “I am delighted to be part of The Poet’s Rebellion. Earlier this year I had the privilege of playing for a Polish community at the Luton Irish Forum where I learnt about the event and I really wanted to take part.

“The event resonated with me immensely because the songs I have written for my last two albums Paszport (2012) and Polonia (2015) have been inspired by themes connected with the Second World War experience in Poland on the Eastern front and centre around loss of passport, loss of country, rebellion and refugee status.

“She Moved Through the Fair is a very emotive song and I think would resonate with a lot of Polish WWII veterans.”

The event will be hosted on 2 April at The Hat Factory and runs from 1.30pm to 5.30pm. There will be a variety of trad and folk performances, as well as a collection of memorabilia relating to Easter 1916. In addition to The Poet’s Rebellion day, the Hat Factory will host an exhibition by artist Declan Kerr.

Running from April 2-5, it features paintings of men and women of the time in more “mundane” settings, rather than glorifying them as revolutionary heroes. This, according to Kerr, is to show that they were “people not so different from any of us who had the conviction that they could change their world and make a real difference.”

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