A poet laureate, a storyteller and a musician Say it with Flowers on a tour across Aotearoa this November, brought to you by Arts on Tour New Zealand.
Backstage Pass is bringing the tour to Waipā — the show at the Cambridge Town Hall is on Thursday, November 19, at 8pm and the Te Awamutu show at The Woolshed Theatre on Saturday, November 21, at 8pm.
In this travelling poetry and song cabaret show, David Eggleton, the official Poet Laureate of Aotearoa, presents his own wry, comic take on Kiwiana, alongside stand-up storyteller and former Bard of Christchurch, Steve Thomas. These two veterans of the performance poetry scene in New Zealand are accompanied by master musician Richard Wallis.
Say it with Flowers is a title inspired by the English artist Banksy’s famous wall image of a youthful masked flower thrower, flinging — not a Molotov cocktail, but a colourful bouquet of flowers, representing our common hopes for the peaceful resolution to the global issues of our time.
On this tour, the performers will throw words, sometimes barbed, and often beautiful, or beautifully barbed, with a similar aim of emphasising our common humanity.
David Eggleton is well-known as a poetry performer since the 1980s.
He first gained attention as part of the punk rock scene, performing on the pub and cafe circuit.
A South Auckland pathfinder, his Pasifika heritage and passion for performance has led to poems that are dramatic, lively and featuring a strong oral and rhythmic quality.
Poetry reviewer Alan Loney wrote in New Zealand Books: “David Eggleton is unique in New Zealand in his chosen mode. And he is to be valued for that.”
David now lives in Dunedin/Otepoti. A writer, critic and winner of many awards, he is the former editor of Landfall magazine.
The New Zealand Poet Laureate is a poet appointed by the National Library of New Zealand to represent New Zealand’s community of poets and to advocate for poetry in the community as a public good during their tenure as Laureate.
The Laureate receives a tokotoko, a Maori ceremonial walking stick, carved by Hawke’s Bay master carver Jacob Scott, upon appointment.
The tokotoko is paired with the matua, or guardian tokotoko which is retained and displayed by the National Library to signify their joint guardianship of the award with the Ngati Kahungunu.
Based on the tradition of the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom receiving a “butt of sack”, the NZ Poet Laureate also receives a stipend of wine from Te Mata Estate.
Steve Thomas was raised in Cardiff in Wales, downwind from a brewery and a pickle factory and the legend of Dylan Thomas.
Educated at Brunel University in London, he performed on the same stage as the Moody Blues and Fairport Convention.
He later performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“A lively display of versatility delivered with style … Steve does some brilliant send ups,” said The Scotsman.
In New Zealand in the 1980s, he presented the poetry cabaret shows Pink Bits and Over the Wall and Out at rock festivals and on TVNZ.
More recently, he has been general manager for Arts on Tour, as well as regularly appearing as a performance poet and raconteur.
Richard C Wallis is a Dunedin-based musician and classical guitarist.
He has a background in punk, pop and rock, but began studying classical guitar at Otago University in the 90s and says it has given him the freedom to play a number of styles.
Richard has released his own music, as well as collaborating with a number of artists — including with David Eggleton on the 1993 album Poetry Demon.
The Arts on Tour Backstage Pass shows are just $15: Tickets from Eventfinda or Te Awamutu and Cambridge i-Site Centres.
PHOTO: From left: David Eggleton, Richard C Wallis and Steve Thomas will Say It With Flowers in Waipā.