Val and Frieda Hughes - November 2018

Photo of Val with Frieda Hughes with her books which she had inscribed for Val at her recent exhibitions of paintings. Val staged the writing of Frieda's mother, Sylvia Plath, at The National Theatre and so really values meeting and talking with Frieda. The picture underneath is Frieda's painting of Val's birth day in March.

The Return by Hisham Matar - October 2018

Val was invited to join a local book club, and chose The Return by Hisham Matar as the first book to share reading with the group. She had previously met Hisham at an event at The Royal Society of Literature, where he had inscribed this book to her. It is a book in which Val learnt an enormous amount about the revolution in Libya, and Hisham's journey in search of his father.

Val Visits The Richard III Burial Site and Museum - October 2018

In October Val visited Rutland as guest of Schiller International University colleague Vicky Sanderlin-McLoughlin. She took Val to see the amazing burial site and museum which has been newly created for Richard III in Leicester. It was a great and fascinating visit.

Henry V Performance at The Tobacco Factory - Bristol - September 2018

In September Val visited Bristol to see LLC study abroad teacher Joanne Howarth perform the chorus in Henry V at The Tobacco Factory. It was the week that the Bristol Old Vic Theatre reopened its newly designed theatre and audience spaces. It was thrilling to see this successful new design, a theatre Val loves because the first public show Val staged was in the studio here. 

The Great Henge at Avebury - August 2018

In August Val visited The Great Henge at Avebury started over 5,000 years ago. This site is as fascinating as the stones in Orkney where Val visited in September 2017.

The unveiling of a gravestone for William Blake - 12 August 2018

The unveiling of a gravestone for William Blake

The Live Literature Company's tribute to William Blake
Val placed this sunflower on the gravestone with The Live Literature Company card inscribed with love from her and the company. Over many years LLC has staged important and memorable combined arts performances of William Blake's work often with celebrated performers.

Martineau Society Conference - 26 July 2018

Harriet Martineau Society Conference in London 2018
This year the Martineau Society Conference was held in Dr Williams's Library, Bloomsbury, London, and Val wrote a short dialogue for this between Harriet Martineau and Charlotte Bronte. The performance was given in the library after the conference dinner by (pictured above) Matilda Thorpe on the left playing Harriet and on the right Catherine Harvey playing Charlotte. Val's grandmother Vera Wheatley wrote the first really important biography on Harriet Martineau, first published in 1957.

English PEN event for Centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth - 17 July 2018

English PEN event for Centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth
Val was one of the people at this PEN event at which the prison letters of Nelson Mandela were read aloud to the audience. It was a deeply moving and profound evening.

The event marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and the publication of The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, published by Liveright. It was directed, produced and hosted by the acclaimed performer and director Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE.

A selection of Nelson Mandela’s letters were passionately read by a group of wonderful writers from the UK and South Africa, including Jay Bernard, Jackie Kay, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Ben Okri, Sahm Venter (editor of the book), Zoe Wicomb and Gary Younge. Award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen MBE performed a new piece of music inspired by the letters, composed especially for the event.

You can listen to this below.

Niagara at The Globe - June 2018

Val with Jimmy Garnon and the Niagara University drama students 2018 at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Jimmy Garnon was one of the professors teaching the Niagara drama students this Summer and he was also performing at The Globe in As You Like It and Hamlet.

Chelsea Flower Show - 22 May 2018

The Yorkshire Garden at Chelsea Flower Show
Val visits the Chelsea Flower Show every year and this Yorkshire garden reminded her of her visit to Yorkshire last Summer. With friends she visited The Hepworth Wakefield one of the great new arts centres there.

Kenwood Magnolia Tree - April 2018

Kenwood Magnolia Tree
Val goes every Spring to see this beautiful tree flower outside Kenwood House. One of the famous paintings in Kenwood House is on the front of the company card.

Shakespeare in the Abbey - 26 April 2018

Shakespeare in the Abbey

Val attended Shakespeare in the Abbey, run by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre at the end of April 2018. Mark Rylance spoke Sonnet 17 sotto voce about 2 inches away from Val's ear. This was a very enjoyable experience!

Mimi Doulton's Singing Recital - February 2018

Image above: Mimi Doulton 

Val attended her niece's contemporary music singing recital at the St George The Martyr Church in Borough. Her niece, Mimi Doulton graduates as an opera singer from the Guildhall School of Music this Summer 2018.

Val has been to this church before under very sad circumstances to attend the funeral of Sarah Wheeler, the founder of the Mental Fight Club which meets in the Crypt of this church. Sarah founded this wonderful group and had a great love of the work of William Blake. So many of us who have done work focused on Blake came to know her through this.

Val At Cairo Opera House - December 2017

Val at the Saqqara Pyramids at the beginning of her visit to Egypt.
Photo of Val at Cairo Opera House in December 2017.

The Live Literature Company has been invited to perform in Egypt. Val visited there to do further research about a possible visit, and also travelled visiting the beautiful and fascinating historic sites in Egypt.

Lucy Casson, Live Lit Co Performer Welcomes New Baby, Ferdinand

Live Lit Co performer, Lucy Casson with her baby Ferdinand. Val and Lucy met up at the Young Vic with beautiful Ferdinand soon after he was born. Congratulations Lucy !