T H E A T R E L A N D
Sophie Reynolds has been writing poetry, plays and stories from the age of six. She grew up in the Somerset countryside before moving north to study English, Writing and Performance at the University of York, and then to London to study Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
She has been widely published in magazines such as Magma, Acumen, Dreamcatcher, The Rialto and Time Out, and has contributed to a number of books including 26 Treasures (26/Unbound, 2012) and Shakespeare in 100 Objects (V&A/Nick Hern Books).
In 2012 Sophie created Haiku Review, a poetry blog in which she responded to plays and theatre productions performed in London theatres and around the UK.
In 2013 she was the inaugural Poet in Residence at the New Diorama Theatre in London.
In 2011 Sophie wrote a new adaptation of A Doll’s House for Theatre Delicatessen, which was produced with an all-female cast and enjoyed sell out runs at Theatre Delicatessen, London and at Latitude Festival. As a playwright she has also written for the V&A, Theatre 503 and Jermyn Street Theatre.
Sophie lives in London and works for the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a regular contributor to V&A Magazine, an interviewer for TheatreVoice, and an assessor for OffWestEnd.com.
Indigo Dreams Publishing
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: SEPTEMBER 2015
Shakespeare in Love
Noel Coward Theatre, London
Playwright of the river,
drinking with whores
in a backstreet tavern;
Poet of Cheapside,
onto a page
with sighs of ink.
For all your words
was there a girl
who would have been a boy
to tread the boards with you,
a girl whose heart you met
like twin souls on the stage,
before she was
forever wrenched away?
Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies
Aldwych Theatre, London
Catherine: face of an angel,
niece of an emperor,
hard as nails. She will not bend
like a sapling, though
she is dragged of her queenship
and left out to die like a dog.
Anne, dancing in yellow
on her grave: a virgin bride,
eye like a hawk, mouth full of serpents.
Maybe a step too far, maybe a bed
or guilty door that leads her at last
to the headsman.
Jane, a dormouse creeping
into conversation: small and sweet,
with skin and will like thick, rich cream
and on her cheek a blush
that is like nothing more than a pink rose,
thorns carefully plucked.
Riverside Studios, London
Red wine, her father's best.
Red cotton dress, glaring
upon her breasts.
Their evening lust
burning down walls
and spilling blood.
Their fingers worn
upon a bruise red floor,
beneath which history
and hate will beat
and lay to rest
all hopeless thought of love.
Theatreland is a collection of poetry inspired by trips to the theatre. Each poem is a response to a live performance, revealing something special about a particular play: a resonant image or idea; a character’s journey and struggles; or the high emotion, tension and atmosphere that carried its audience that night.
You don’t need to have seen these plays to enjoy their poems. These works are beautiful, lyrical and thought-provoking in their own right, and perfectly capture something of the exciting, yet ephemeral nature of theatre.
Steptoe and Son
Lyric Hammersmith, London
Step to it son,
spinning your song
and dance upon
this cart heavy
with scrap; dreaming
beneath the moon,
a ticking clock,
an old, chipped plate.
Pour us a drink,
stay in and let
the world spin by
the two of us;
forget the girl
who glows in your
of her embrace.
Hampstead Theatre, London
Down pit you're dark as death
and hot as hell, sweltering, swearing
in relentless pitch,
up to your waist in water,
rubble, grit, coal in your eyes
and lungs, coal in your shit.
You hold the picket line
against all odds, fighting for what
you know to be man’s right;
brought to your knees for scraps
you rage and weep, as all
you ever worked for slips from sight.
“Having joyfully followed #HaikuReview on Twitter I am delighted to read these thoughtful, witty and incisive poems in a volume. In this unique meeting of poetry and theatre, Sophie Reynolds has brought her brilliant skill and talent to offer intelligent and passionate insights into some of our most thrilling recent theatre productions.”
Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre
“Beautiful, insightful and intriguing. These poems conjure up many happy evenings at the theatre.”
Director, RSC/Shakespeare's Globe
“Sophie Reynolds’ eclectic UK-wide journey through contemporary Theatreland captures snapshots of memory – those ‘tastes left in the mind’ after the curtain falls. Her love of theatre shines through every page.”
Chrys Salt, MBE
Director, Playwright, Poet
" 'Theatreland' is as much an exploration of poetics and criticism as it is a beautifully written snapshot of contemporary British theatre. Reynolds brings a daring formal exploration to criticism, and a nuanced narrativity. The writing performs an orchestrated conversation; we feel present in each encounter, close to the characters, remembering as if these were our own lives to live."
Diana Damian Martin
Performance critic and dramaturg. Editor, Exeunt Magazine
Sophie Reynolds captures something of the fleeting experience of watching theatre - crystalizing character or capturing an atmosphere with evocative economy. These poems are miniature celebrations of the magic and mystery of that ephemeral art form ... impressionistic gems that serve as happy reminders of – or introductions to – some of the best plays to grace British stages in recent years.
Arts journalist (The Independent on Sunday)
This fresh, evocative collection of poems by Sophie Reynolds is a must-buy for every theatre lover, actor and director. It reveals to the reader the plays from the outside looking in, as well as the theatre from the inside looking out.
Shakespeare's Globe, London
Here is a perfect sky that quickly turns
to velvet and to black.
Here is an oval wreathed in thatch
and keen, expectant faces
circling the stage. Tonight this wooden O
is made of shrill high hope and expectation,
clamour and acclaim, as after ten year’s wait
one man, one play, returns to play again.
He comes burnished with fame
and white with make-up,
guarded, tremulous; and in the face
of high-sea crowds
he dares to be as delicate and tempered
as a skittish foal, a princess
sure as heaven of her jewel case.
He takes the stage and holds it easily
as if it were a pebble in his palm. He barely sighs
but in that sigh there is the squeak
and dab of his Olivia,
the weight of water and the ocean’s depth.
He wears the dress, the face,
the woman in his every breath.