Screenwriters’ chance to work “with” Wordsworth

A writers’ workshop is to be staged at William Wordsworth’s home near Ambleside to coincide with a new film festival.

The Wordsworth family are inviting 10 screenwriters to a writers’ workshop in the poet’s famous family house at Rydal Mount, on the theme of “literary beauty”.

The workshop will run alongside the first Inward Eye film festival being staged nearby at Zeffirellis cinema.

It is being organised by film producer Charlotte Wontner who is the great great great great grand-daughter of William Wordsworth.

Writers will receive treatment and story feedback and pitching advice – as well as lunches and walks in the beautiful countryside around the house.

Charlotte Wontner of Hopscotch films has worked with the award-winning actor Brian Cox who is to be patron of the film festival.

brian cox with chris and lottie

Brian Cox, centre, with Charlotte Wontner and Christopher Wordsworth Andrew

Dorothy Smith, MD of Zeffirellis, said: “With a nod towards the local artistry of Wordsworth’s works, Inward Eye’s carefully selected films will cover themes of Imagination (the all elusive Inward Eye), Love and War, Youth and Fear, and Time and Landscape. Other thematic areas of focus are farming, LGBTQ+, and BAME story lines. With a focus on local cinematic heritage mixed with inclusivity and literary beauty, Inward Eye’s vision is one we are very excited about hosting.”

Rydal Mount curator Emily Heath said: “We are very pleased to host this exciting new venture. It’s particularly special for us, bringing together the Wordsworth connection, and the new film festival in Ambleside.”

Said Charlotte: “This is an experience designed to help writers develop their ideas in a unique natural environment. Under the guidance of an experienced script editor and industry mentor, writers will have their script ideas developed with a plan for the international film market.”

The workshop will be hosted over three consecutive mornings from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November. Included in the price are screenings and Q&A tickets, refreshments and lunches, and accommodation near Rydal Mount. To attend the workshop please submit your details and a treatment of your script idea to info@inwardeyewritersworkshop.co.uk.

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

(Daffodils, William Wordsworth, 1807)

 

 

Advertisements

Dorothy Wordsworth heads to London

An exhibition first shown at Rydal Mount in the Lake District is to be displayed in London this autumn at the Royal Geographical Society.

Dorothy’s Room will be part of the Landlines exhibition, the inaugural show of the Wilderness Art Collective.

Created by the artist and researcher Louise Ann Wilson, Dorothy’s Room gives a new insight into the life of Dorothy Wordsworth. It was first staged last summer in Dorothy’s own bedroom in the house near Ambleside where she lived with her brother, the poet William Wordsworth, and his wife Mary.   Dorothy was an author, poet and diarist herself.

Louise Ann Wilson

Louise Ann Wilson

The new installation was created for Rydal Mount and used film, sound and objects brought in from the outside landscape. It was inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s Rydal Journals in which she describes “rural sights and sounds” in vivid detail and recollects the landscape and walks she was no longer able to do.

“In older age Dorothy gradually became house, bedroom and terrace bound, relying on memory to transport herself into the landscape she had once walked,” says Louise Ann.

“It was really radical at that time for a woman to walk in the landscape.”

Dorothy also brought “treasures” into her “quiet” room. The walls were hung with paintings, pots of flowers lined her window ledge, plants grew around her window, which framed the fells she once walked, sunshine and the “sweet sound” of a robin singing entered from the garden. William acknowledged the importance of her influence in some of his poems.

The exhibition last summer had a display of objects and artefacts on the bed, on whose pillows were copied scripts from the journals. There were knitting needles and thimbles, birds’ eggs, feathers, dried flowers and herbs. A repeating film of Dorothy’s landscape was projected onto the bedroom wall.

Dorothy's bed

Louise Ann Wilson has a Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from Lancaster Institute of the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, where she is a visiting lecturer. The Rydal Mount curator at the time, Peter Elkington, said: “This adds an extra dimension because it brings people to see Dorothy in a new light, in the very room where she spent a lot of her time.”

Now the project will be included in the show at the prestigious RGS in Kensington, and will showcase the talents of 15 artists in all, in aid of the charity Wilderness Foundation UK.

Dorothy's pillow

The Wilderness Art Collective is a non-profit group of creatives, artists, explorers and environmentalists whose work discusses the natural world. The Collective’s goals are to highlight the plight of the world’s wildernesses and wildlife; to act as a space for discussion about interaction with the environment; to encourage re-engagement with the natural landscape; and to promote preservation and care through art and other creative endeavours.

The new curator at Rydal Mount, Emily Heath said: “We are thrilled that a small part of our heritage here in the Lake District will be given a much wider audience in London. Dorothy’s room is loved by visitors who come here.”

 

Wordsworth, environmental campaigner

STUDENTS ON A NEW MASTERS DEGREE IN CUMBRIA WILL GAIN FIRST HAND INSIGHT TO THE LIFE AND WORK OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Rydal Mount has joined forces with the University of Cumbria to give students on a new course an insight into the life of William Wordsworth.

Dr Penny Bradshaw is the leader of a new Masters degree course at the university, Literature, Romanticism and the English Lakes.

penny bradshaw

In their first week of study, her students will go to Rydal Mount, the house where Wordsworth lived for most of his life, and is still owned by his descendants.

And they will learn how Wordsworth the poet was also one of the first environmental campaigners.

Dr Bradshaw said: “Not only is William Wordsworth one of the most influential of British poets in terms of the development of poetic language, his insights regarding the importance of living in harmony with the natural environment seem to speak more powerfully to us today than ever before.

“Wordsworth teaches us to value and protect the natural landscape and shows us, through his own lived experience, how close and sympathetic engagement with the natural world can have a powerful effect on our own lives and well-being.”

The new course is based at the Ambleside campus and students will also work with Dove Cottage, where the poet lived for nine years.

Dr Bradshaw said: “The landscape of the English Lake District has been a source of inspiration to generations of poets and writers. This course offers a unique opportunity to study a rich body of literary and non-literary texts within the geographical landscape which inspired them, at the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus in the heart of the Lake District National Park.”

Students will explore critical ideas about the relationship between the creative imagination and place, and have the opportunity to visit some other locations which have inspired and which continue to inspire writers.

RM natural garden today

Wordsworth, environmentalist and gardener as well as poet

Curator at Rydal Mount Emily Heath said: “This is a really exciting new MA course and we are delighted that the students are coming here to see where Wordsworth lived and worked, and to absorb the atmosphere and spirit of this very special place.”

Rydal Mount, a mile north of Ambleside, is open to the public daily from 9.30am to 5pm, and visitors can also tour the extensive gardens.

For more information about the MA course: cumbria.ac.uk/maliteratureromanticism.

Noa wins Wordsworth poetry prize

The winner of this year’s Wordsworth Poetry Prize for young people is 11 year old Noa Calman.

Noa, a pupil at Grasmere primary school, wrote her poem on the theme of New Beginnings following the death of her uncle in New Zealand.

The award is organised by the descendants of William Wordsworth and the presentation ceremony took place at Rydal Mount near Ambleside, the house where Wordsworth lived.

More than 100 entries were received from pupils in junior and secondary schools across Cumbria.

Noa’s father comes from New Zealand, and she loves writing and reading stories that link to Kiwi culture.

She also has a passion for baking and has applied to take part in the junior version of TV’s Great British Bake-off. She has old twin brothers Dylan and Luca, a younger sister Isla, and a baby brother Sonny.

Noa was presented with a trophy and a £50 cash prize. Her name is now on a plaque at Rydal Mount and her winning poem will be framed and displayed in Wordsworth’s sitting room at the house.

Teacher Mrs Eleanor Knowles said that the poem was Noa’s response after her uncle’s death. “It was her way of dealing with difficult emotions. She poured it out one morning at playtime, the whole poem.”

IMG_1479
The poems were judged by Susan Wordsworth Andrew , the great great great grand-daughter of the poet, and her son, Christopher, who both attended the award ceremony organised by the curators, Emily and Matthew Heath.

The winner in the junior school section was Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth and the secondary school winner was Anna Bray from Keswick School.

Christopher said: “The standard of entries was very high once again. We are delighted to see that schools and parents are encouraging their children to read and write poetry.”

Noa’s poem:

The coffin

a coffin

lying still

while

across the world

a letter is flown

friends and family

weep

while I stare

stare into the sky

whispering

whispering my last goodbye

and as if in answer

to my call

a voice I knew

a voice I knew well

spoke

while people want

to be your sun

that burns

burns through

your day

I will

be your moon

that shines

shines through

your darkest

hours

New curators at Rydal Mount

The new curators at Rydal Mount have opened the house, gardens and tea room to the public.

Emily and Matthew Heath and have taken up their posts at the home of William Wordsworth outside Ambleside.

matt and emily

They took over from Peter and Marian Elkington who retired at the end of last year after 25 years at Rydal.

Emily, who has a degree in religious studies from Edinburgh University, worked at the London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA).

Matthew, who studied Japanese at Oxford University, previously ran a food start-up in London and served for 12 years in The Household Cavalry.

They were appointed by the descendants of the poet, who still own the house which is one of the Lake District’s leading visitor attractions.

Peter and Marian Elkington came from South Africa to take up the post and became popular members of the local community, making many friends among artists, poets and patrons of the arts, as well as transforming Rydal Mount into a significant tourist destination.

Peter recites to Marian

During their time at Rydal Mount they hosted weddings, poetry readings, dinners for Japanese visitors, and musical soirees including a night when two grand pianos were carried out onto the lawn.

There were special events in the tea-room, which became famous for Marian’s home-baked cakes, and they hosted many art exhibitions, most notably the launch of a new portrait of William Wordsworth by Hideyuki Sobue to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the poem Daffodils. And they launched a poetry competition for Cumbrian schoolchildren which has become an annual event, attracting poems from youngsters across the county.

“We have a very hard act to follow,” said Emily. “Peter and Marian devoted their lives to Rydal Mount, but we are very excited to take on the challenge and continue their work.

“We have a lot of ideas and plans, but we want to take things slowly and learn day by day about this very special place.”

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great great grandson, said: “This is a very exciting time in the history of our family home, and we are delighted that Emily and Matthew have so much energy and enthusiasm for William Wordsworth, his home and his work.”

Emily and Matthew will continue the poetry competition tradition, and young people in Cumbrian schools are invited to submit entries for this year’s contest on the theme of New Beginnings. https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/entries-now-open-for-the-wordsworth-young-poets-contest/

Entries now open for the Wordsworth young poets contest

Dear Teachers

The descendants of William Wordsworth invite entries from your pupils for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets.

All students at Cumbrian schools are eligible to take part. The theme this year is “New Beginnings”, which can be interpreted as the writer wishes. The winning poem will be framed and displayed alongside the work of the great poet in his former home, for thousands of visitors to see.

There is also a cash prize, and certificates for all who take part.

Entries should be typed in 12 or 14 point font, double spaced, and no longer than one side of A4 paper. Each entry should carry at the top of the page the name and age of the writer, and the school they attend. Entries which do not have these details cannot be put forward for judging.

They should be saved as individual Word documents, with no illustrations or artwork, please, and emailed as attachments to:

rydalpoetry@gmail.com

The closing date is Friday March 22. All who enter will be invited with parents and/or teachers to the award ceremony at Rydal Mount on Thursday May 9.

Wordsworth curators say farewell to Rydal Mount

The curators of William Wordsworth’s house at Rydal Mount are retiring after 25 years in the Lake District.

Peter and Marian Elkington came from South Africa to take up the post and were employed by the descendants of the poet, who still own the house today.

marian and peter

They became popular members of the local community, making many friends among artists, poets and patrons of the arts, as well as transforming the House into a significant tourist attraction.

During their time at Rydal Mount they hosted weddings, poetry readings, dinners for Japanese visitors, and musical soirees including a night when two grand pianos were carried out onto the lawn.

gorgeous view of house

There were special events in the tea-room, which became famous for Marian’s home-baked cakes, and they entertained many notable visitors who loved Wordsworth including the late Terry Wogan and, more recently, the actresses Petra and Kika Markham (the widow of Corin Redgrave).

Film nights were organised in association with Zeffirellis in Ambleside, including a special screening of The Carer, starring Brian Cox, and they staged drama performances in the gardens in the summer with the touring theatre company Three Inch Fools.

Peter and Marian hosted many art exhibitions, most notably the launch of a new portrait of William Wordsworth by Hideyuki Sobue to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the poem Daffodils. And they launched a poetry competition for Cumbrian schoolchildren which has become an annual event, attracting poems from youngsters across the county.

P, M and Chris

Peter and Marion with Christopher Wordsworth at the opening of a Rydal Mount exhibition

Peter and Marian have added to the collections in the house with items they find at auctions and sales. But perhaps their most important legacy has been the development of the extensive gardens, using plans drawn up by William Wordsworth, to return the grounds to the naturalistic landscape that the poet had envisaged. It was a labour of love for Peter, and head gardener Helen Green, and they won awards year after year.

“Wordsworth wrote that if he had not made a success of poetry, he would have liked to have been a landscape gardener,” said Peter.

After coming to live at Rydal, Marian discovered that her great grandfather, Henry Poultney, had been an editor of the Westmorland Gazette in the 1880s, a post once held by Wordsworth himself. Poultney went on to edit the Birmingham Daily Post.

“We came planning to stay for five years, and stayed 25,” said Peter, who is more than just an admirer of the poet and his work. “You can’t help but be inspired by his spirit. Living here one feels the atmosphere. It’s been a very different experience from just studying his work.”

Their place will be taken by Matthew and Emily Heath who will start work in the new year.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great greatgrandson, said:  “The last 25 years seems to have gone by so fast. But over this period Peter and Marian have developed and improved Rydal Mount beyond recognition. We now have a fantastic tea-room and a garden that is regularly winning awards. The whole welcoming feel of the house and the reason visitors return year after year is entirely down to the hard work and love that they have both put into the house.

“Our whole family is going to miss Peter and Marian terribly. Over 25 years they have become close friends and we are sad to see them go. We wish them all the very best and hope they will come back to visit regularly.”

Peter recites to Marian