Entertainment at the Conference
Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire, has taught at several universities in the UK and the United States, and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford in June.
He has published over a dozen collections of poetry including Seeing Stars, his acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and, more recently, Paper Aeroplane, which covers twenty five years of published work.
Armitage’s poems have been part of the GCSE and A level syllabus in this country for almost two decades now, but he is also a playwright, novelist, song-lyricist and broadcaster.
His writing for television and radio includes the BAFTA-winning Feltham Sings for which he received a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for song-writing, the radio drama-documentary Black Roses: the Killing of Sophie Lancaster, now a television film, and most recently his BBC2 documentary The Great War: An Elegy. The Last Days of Troy, his visceral re-telling of the Iliad story appeared last year at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, at Shakespeare's Globe, London, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
This summer sees publication of Walking Away, the sequel to his bestselling memoir Walking Home which recounted his attempt to complete the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour. Travelling without a penny in his pocket, and giving readings every night en-route in village halls, pubs and living rooms.
The recipient of numerous awards, Armitage was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, and awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010.
Leicester Grammar School Folk Group
With fiddles, flutes, piano, accordion, guitars, percussion and singers, the Leicester Grammar School Folk Group taps into traditional music from around the world, but tends to concentrate on the British Isles. Although enjoying playing the old tunes, the group also includes contemporary material in its repertoire. It is more of a co-op than most ensembles in the school, and consequently has a freer spirit and a wide performing history which includes churches and pubs. It has participated in workshops with eminent visiting musicians such as Bruce Molsky (USA), Duncan Chisholm (Scotland) and Lunasa (Ireland), even appearing on stage with this last group. The group aims to have fun, and is looking forward to escaping Leicester for a couple of days to play in St Andrews!
High School of Dundee
The High School of Dundee Big Band consists of around fifteen senior pupils and a small number of staff. It performs a wide selection of repertoire composed over the last one hundred years, ranging from Dixieland, Swing, Bebop and Latin, to arrangements of more recent popular music.
It performs several times a year throughout Dundee, including at the Caird Hall, the Food and Flower Festival at Camperdown Park and Discovery Point, as well as being the principal group at the school's annual Jazz Soirée.