The Colours of Life – memories

The first Colours of Life festival was held in 2012 with the support and encouragement of the Ministry of Culture in Bahrain. Although we were all very enthusiastic and excited, we never expected that it would be so well received and become, as it has, an annual event.

Colours of Life 2012 featured fifteen poets representing almost as many nationalities. Our poets came from Bahrain, Malaysia, the USA and Canada, India, Ireland, Yemen and the Netherlands. Our poets recited and performed around sixty poems that ranged in mood and emotion from white and black through grey, purple, lavender, blue, red, gold and rust to yellow and green all the way back to white. We were very proud that our troupe included Bahraini poets who presented Arabic poems.

Weekly rehearsals, were as charged with emotional colours as the poems. Under David Hollywood’s guidance we learnt how to perform or present our poems drawing on theatrical skills, voice projection, and dramatic expression. These exercises and rehearsals stood us in good stead.

Performance night arrived. The venue we were granted, under the auspices of the Ministry, was the patio behind the Bahrain Fort museum.

It was beautiful.

The illuminated Bahrain Fort formed the backdrop to our small stage. The waters of the Gulf lapped against the patio’s walls. And there was a bright full moon in a clear night sky.

The setting was perfect and our emotions were high. The space for the audience gradually filled up and although we didn’t know it when we stepped onto the stage, we actually had an audience of over a hundred people. Not all of them friends and family of the poets.

Half way through the evening we had a power blow out! David asked the audience if they wanted us to continue. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” So with nothing but the moon and small flashlights to help us the show went on.

The responses after the event were extremely encouraging. Complete strangers came up to us afterwards and complimented or commented on our poems. It was a unique experience to make that connection with a real audience simply through the power of our words.

Since then almost every year, except in 2014, we have held our unique Colours of Life festival. We believe it is perhaps the only bilingual (Arabic and English) poetry presentation in Bahrain that includes a multicultural, multi-ethnic cast of poets ranging in age from 18 to 60 years. And, it may be the only poetry festival on the island that incudes musical and visual accompaniment to the poems.

If you are a poet wondering whether your poems have the strength to carry across a crowded room and touch another’s heart or mind.

Join us and you’ll find out.

The Colours of Life 2012

Our first performance and the lights blew out! Thanks to rehearsals and lessons in projecting our voices from David Hollywood we were able to continue to perform and in torchlight and moonlight the atmosphere was magical…598348_10150982575877567_797891683_n

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The Colours of Life 2013

By popular demand we returned to the Bahrain Fort Museum’s patio venue. It was as magical as before, fifteen poets presented sixty one poems! Many were returning performers but we also had a number of new talents.

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The Colours of Life 2015

The 2014 Colours of Life segued into 2015 for a number of reasons, among those was a venue. Eventually, thanks to the generosity of one of our members we were offered the rooftop of the Umami restaurant in the Block 338 area. Overlooking swaying palms and under a clear moonlit night the Colours of Life played out once again to an audience in excess of a hundred!  We had eighteen performers and three wonderful helpers from amongst our members. Our support cast included musicians who accompanied some of the poets on instruments as widely different as the Bagpipes and Oud to a Saxophone, Didgeridoos and an array of wildly different instruments from around the world. Every year we just seem to get better and better!

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DSC_0494And we’re looking forward to The Colours of Life 2016 scheduled for Saturday, April 16th.

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