The long poem ‘Zones of Avoidance’ that provides the central spine to the live literature production was recently re-published by online magazine ‘1handclapping’.
Writer and publisher Simon Jenner comments:
“Breathtaking incandescent with loss and a zig zag recovery. Nothing I’ve read quite has its flying-crooked gift as Graves said of the Cabbage White. There’s a point where this takes off from the narrative and becomes a secular trip – without the religion of drugs. An imagination. I’ll need a while to come down. This is a wonderful gift out of a terrible one.”
Zones of Avoidance was winner in 2013 of The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
Denise Riley, speaking on behalf of the judges, commented:
“This is an ambitious multimedia presentation using film, voices and sound, which works exceptionally well. It is a challenging, painfully open account of a daughter’s addiction, yet it’s an account which also offers graceful good humour. Beautifully written and uncompromising, it’s a modern story that we felt the writer was compelled to tell; it acts as a vivid witness of harsh experiences which aren’t often described in poetry, and Maggie Sawkins’ illuminating descriptions will prove helpful for others to hear.”
The work explores a mother’s quest to understand her daughter’s descent into addiction. As well as telling the heart rending story of ‘sunny girl’ and the consequences of her dual diagnosis, the work is a meditation on the perennial nature of addiction. Fusing the real life testimonies of addicts in recovery with vivid language and evocative film, Zones give a powerfully moving account of a family visited by serious addiction and how a mother had to learn the meaning of ‘tough love’.
Zones of Avoidance is available for performance at venues, festivals and conferences.
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Production photo (Cockpit Theatre, London) by Nivine F. Keating
“I’ve never been so effected by a poetry performance as I was during this one. It was so beautifully haunting, honest and devastating – I hung on every word, image and sound, fighting back the tears.”
“… superbly crafted and immensely moving …”
“One of the most moving, thought provoking things I’ve seen”
The next performance of Zones of Avoidance will take place at Downview Prison on the border of Surrey and the London Borough of Sutton. Penned Up at Downview is the first literature festival (ever, so far as we know) to be held in a women’s prison and Zones of Avoidance will be one of the key events at a jail where many prisoners are serving time for drug-related offences.
The next performance of Zones of Avoidance, will be hosted by Lewes Live Literature at All Saints Centre, Lewes, on Tuesday 17 July. Full details here.
Following two recent drug-related deaths at a music festival in Portsmouth, we are convening a special aftershow Q&A at this event. Panel includes Norman Baker (former Lewes MP who has spoken in favour of reforming drug policy), Professor Aldo Badiani (Director, Sussex Addiction Research & Intervention Centre), Dr Richard Whale (Principal Lecturer at Brighton & Sussex Medical School and a senior Psychiatrist at Sussex Partnership), Rose Humphries (activist with Anyone’s Child charity, an international network of families campaigning for safer drug control), writer Maggie Sawkins and addicts in recovery who have been involved with the production.
Date/time: Tuesday 17 July, 7.45pm Venue: All Saints Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2LE Tickets: £10.00 advance / £12 door Box Office: tickets available online from LLL Productions / enquiries 0797 203 7612 »
Zones of Avoidance goes next to Bristol as part of ‘Bristol Takes Drugs Seriously’, a week of events and activity organised by the Bristol-based Transform Drug Policy Foundation. The performance will be followed by Q&A and discussion.
Date/time: Monday 2 October, 8.00pm Venue:The Bristol Improv Theatre, 50 St Paul’s Road, Bristol BS8 1LP Tickets: £10.00 / £5.00 concessions Box Office: 07936 617158 or online from The BIT »
“This is an ambitious multimedia presentation using film, voices and sound, which works exceptionally well. It is a challenging, painfully open account of a daughter’s addiction, yet it’s an account which also offers graceful good humour.”
“… a really extraordinary performance piece.”
“I’ve never been so effected by a poetry performance as I was during this one. It was so beautifully haunting, honest and devastating – I hung on every word, image and sound …”
In March 2017, Maggie Sawkins will be running creative writing sessions with people in recovery from addictions at HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire. The workshops will be part of Penned Up at Erlestoke, a second literature festival in a prison run by LLL Productions. Zones of Avoidance featured as part of the first Penned Up programme at Lewes Prison, and this time, sister production Diving into the Wreck will feature.
Zones of Avoidance returns to Hampshire in October for a performance at the University of Winchester’s Performing Arts Studios.
Date/time: Saturday 29 October, 7.30pm Venue: Performing Arts Studio 2, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road SO22 4NR Tickets: £9.00 / free for students (available on door only)
For advance reservations: contact Gary.Farnell@winchester.ac.uk / 01962 827267 or Barbara Large on 01962 712307 (email@example.com)
The next scheduled performance for Zones of Avoidance is 28 June at The Birley Centre, Eastbourne, linked to a showing of Melanie Manchot’s video installation, Twelve, at The Towner gallery. Both Twelve and Zones of Avoidance are explorations of addiction and both involve the voices of individuals in recovery. Melanie Manchot will also contribute to the aftershow Q&A at The Birley Centre, which is situated immediately opposite the gallery.
Date/time: Tuesday 28 June, 7.30pm
Venue: The Birley Centre, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4EF
Tickets: £9.00 (Towner members £8)
Box Office: 01323 452255
Maggie Sawkins and Melanie Manchot on Brighton’s radio Reverb
Diving into the Wreck
Maggie Sawkins and Mark C. Hewitt have also been developing a parallel production with members of the recovery community in Portsmouth, in which they get to tell their own stories in their own words. Written and performed by former addicts, Diving into the Wreck evokes the secret world of serious addiction; its craziness, nastiness, predictable routines and dark humour. A first performance – to great audience acclaim – was given at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth, on Sunday 15 May as part of Hampshire Festival of the Mind. Like Zones of Avoidance, the production uses video sequences, recorded voices and live material. There’s a second opportunity to see the performance at the same venue on Friday 17 June as part of Portsmouth Festivities.