AWARD-WINNING musician Nancy Kerr has penned new songs inspired by the 250th anniversary of the Shakespeare Jubilee – the first celebration of the bard anywhere in the world.
Nancy will perform the songs, commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT), at this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, running from June 15 to 23.
She will also arrange new settings of Ye Warwickshire Lads and Ye Lasses and Soft Flowing Avon, which were first performed at the 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee organised by actor and theatre impresario David Garrick.
Nancy has won six BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Folk Singer of the Year and Best Album, and has a number of commissions to her name, including The Radio Ballads (BBC Radio 2) and Sweet Liberties (Parliament). She also lectures in folk and traditional music at Leeds College of Music and Newcastle University.
She will sing the newly-commissioned songs at the closing event of the festival on June 23 – Citizen of Stratford: an evening of drama and songs inspired by the Jubilee.
Nancy said: “It is really exciting for me to be commissioned to create new songs and settings that will reflect on how people have responded to Shakespeare’s writing through history, and especially to celebrate 250 years since Garrick’s famous Jubilee.
“I’ve taken inspiration from some of the Jubilee objects that are in the Trust’s internationally recognised Collections and reading about lots of different ways that people have expounded on Shakespeare’s influence and artistry over the years.”
Louisa Davies, head of creative programme at SBT, is looking forward to Nancy’s performance.
She said: “Nancy is one of the biggest names in folk music and has a great reputation for using traditional folk music as a backdrop for contemporary narratives. She is a natural fit for a song-writing commission that celebrates the 250th anniversary of David Garrick’s Jubilee, the event which planted the seeds from which Stratford grew into the international destination it is today.”
The 66th annual Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, organised by SBT, will have an international theme with a diverse programme of creative events, including recitals, workshops, an open-mic night, and talks at venues across Stratford.
Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/events for tickets and further details.