7th Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival

September 30th, 2014 | 'Banjo' Paterson, C. J. Dennis, Festivals, Henry Lawson, Poems for adults, Poems for children, Songs, Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival

The 7th Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival will be held on the weekend of Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th October at “The Singing Gardens” in Toolangi, the site of Dennis’ original home.

Yes, we’ve been a bit slow with our publicity this year, but better late than never!

We have a special guest this year, in the form of the actor, John Derum.

John Derum

It was John who first introduced me to the delights of C. J. Dennis, way back in the early 1980s.

In 1976, to mark the centenary of the birth of Dennis, he produced a one-man show, “More Than A Sentimental Bloke”. The premise, of course, was that Dennis was mostly known only for this masterpiece, but had written so much more.

Pumphandle Records, a very small label, had recorded an LP (remember them?) based on Derum’s show, and I happened to stumble upon it in a record shop in the city several years later. It looked interesting. I bought it, took it home and played it, and it changed my life.

(John has had a long and distinguished career as an actor. For example, he appeared in the first episode of “Homicide” and the final edition of “The Mavis Bramston Show”. He was also “Narrator Neville” in the first season of “The Aunty Jack Show”.)

John will be performing his show “More Than A Sentimental Bloke” at “The Singing Gardens” on Saturday evening. Late in the afternoon, just before dinner, he will also be performing a show, “The Singing Garden”, based on Dennis’ last book, of the same name. The title comes from the many different species of bird – both native and introduced – that regularly visited Dennis’ forest home. He will also be with us for the other events that will take place over the course of the weekend.

The programme, therefore, will be (roughly…) as follows.

We will kick off, as usual, with the Awards Ceremony for the Written Poetry Competition at 2pm on the Saturday afternoon. This will be followed by an ‘open mic’ session, though this may be a little truncated this year due to the fullness of the programme. (We also have a surprise musical component to the entertainment on the Saturday afternoon this year.)

John will perform “The Singing Garden” from about 4.30pm, after which dinner will be served. He will then perform “More Than A Sentimental Bloke” from around 7.30pm. The show will finish around 9pm, after which a very light supper (tea and biscuits) will be served.

Sunday will kick off with the usual Poets’ Breakfast (perhaps more appropriately called a “Morning Tea”), after which lunch will be served. C. J. Dennis, Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson will then personally take guests on a guided tour of the gardens. This will also include a ballet performance from local school children, and John will also be there, of course, to make sure we do not stray too much from the track…

Afternoon tea will then be served, during which another ‘open mic’ session will be held.

It promises to be a truly fabulous weekend!

Here is a reminder of last year’s festival, with Banjo Paterson (aka Jim Brown!) in full swing.

Jim Brown - Moving Theatre 27.10.2013 copy

For further information and bookings, please contact Jan Williams at “The Singing Gardens” on 0359629282.

2 responses to “7th Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival”

  1. Val Wallace says:

    Sounds Good!
    Val W

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