Hello there! Welcome to my site where you will find all the information you need about my work in poetry and performance.
Whether you are a school looking for an author visit and poetry workshop to inspire your pupils or a group looking to commission some new writing, then you will find all you are looking for on these pages.
Have a good nosey about, then get in contact so we can have a chat about what I can do for you!
I’ve been on the stage since I was knee high to some sort of proverbial grasshopper so hopefully I should know what I’m doing with it all by now. If you want me larking about pretending to be someone else – this is where to look.
From novels to poetry, from plays to classroom resources and then back again. Find out what I’ve been working on at the coal (keyboard) face and see if I might be the kind of chap you’d want producing material for you.
I’ve written pieces for performance throughout my career, whether it be for an educational setting or for fringe theatre events all over the country. Sketches, history plays, murder mysteries and more – take a look here to see if I might be able to produce something for your company or event.
PJ the Poet
I originally began working as a poet (yes, I know – its an actual job) when I took on the role of Schools Co-ordinator on the ‘Picture the Poet’ schools tour in 2015. Run in conjunction with the National Literacy Trust, my workshops use free writing and a little reverse learning to help pupils achieve all those pesky outcomes on the curriculum but in a fun, exciting way.
I place a big emphasis on participation and confidence building helping pupils to develop poetry as a group based on their own experiences and then using simple performance techniques to share the work.
My own poetry work caters for a wide range of audiences and I have performed and worked with everyone from nursery chidlren to residents of care homes. Whoever I’m with – we always have a lot of fun!
If you’re looking for a day of creative learning driven entirely by wordy fun, then please get in contact and we can organise for me to come in to work with your group.
“The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the activities, and you made it really accessible for children who have special needs.”
Acorns Primary School, Preston
“Just to say a massive ‘thank you’ for the year 6 poetry day last Wednesday. The children (and adults) had a fantastic day! They all learnt so much and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of working with you.”
Belle Vue Primary School, Carlisle
“Paul supported the creative residents who live with dementia, sight loss and other conditions to collaboratively write a beautiful poem entitled ‘Lavender Hills’. As the end of the enjoyable session, enthusiastic resident, Barbara Hibbot, who is 93, stunned everybody by reciting a number of poems that she can remember from her school years!”
Lavender Hills Care Home, Ramsbottom
PJ the Performer
I’ve been on the stage ever since a friend and I decided aged 8 that our primary school assemblies weren’t interesting enough. We asked our schools deputy head if we could do a play instead and that’s it. I was off. I earned my stripes with Basildon Youth Theatre before heading to the University of Kent at Canterbury.
During my time at University I was president of the campus Drama Society and took productions on two occasions to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as an actor with ‘Gangster No 1’ in 1997 and as a director/producer in 2000 with Harold Pinter’s ‘A Slight Ache’. I also directed Shakespeare’s ‘The Comedy of Errors’ and Alan Bennett’s ‘Green Forms’ – both for Canterbury’s Gulbenkian Theatre.
Working freelance has given me the opportunity to return to the stage and I have acted both nationally for Splats Theatre Company (Midsummer Nights Dream, Shakespeare’s lost Panto) and on corporate entertainment projects for the Activ Events Company (Murder…and all that Jazz). I have also trialled new writing at Scratch Preston (Doorstep) and at a host of Spoken Word Evenings across the North West. During the autumn months, I work with the Shakespeare Schools Festival as a stage director.
As well as being available for new acting projects, I continue to work in schools to help pupils and teachers get the very most out of performance work, particularly specialising on bring Shakespeare’s stories to the stage. If you would like me to come in to your school or organisation to deliver a one off work or longer project – please drop me a line!
PJ the Playwright
I have written plays and short sketches throughout my career, whether it be specifically for an educational setting (assemblies, presentations and school events whilst working as Head of Drama) or for local fringe shows.
At University I wrote a number of pieces for Canterbury’s OTK Theatre company including two community pantomimes (Elves & the Shoemaker, Emperors New Clothes) and a number of Theatre in Education plays. (The Life of a Book, Colin meets the Victorians).
Since leaving full time teaching I have had my work performed by the Bolton Octagon Theatre as part of their WWI heritage project (Peace in our Time) and my first Murder Mystery (Murder…and all that Jazz) was performed for the Activ Events Company in December 2015.
In 2018 my new ‘Play in a Day’ workshop day for Primary schools will debut with Splats Theatre Company. ‘The Splats SPAG detectives’ is a new piece helping KS2 children to understand the maze of issues around Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and will tour schools across the country.
I am available to accept commissions for short plays and am happy to discuss tailoring my existing body of work to your needs if you think it may be of use to you – please do get in contact if you have some ideas!
PJ the Published
I have worked solidly as a writer since leaving education in 2015 when I began a small blog that told tales from behind the classroom door. Following the life of ‘fictional’ Drama Teacher Jim Tovey – “Requires Improvement” was a satirical view of education in 21st century Britain and received fantastic reviews. That project grew and reached full publication in May 2016.
Since then, my output has been pretty non-stop! My fourth collection of poetry, ‘Wibbly Wobbly Words’ is due for release in Spring 2018 following on from the hugely successful ‘My Bottom Did A Burp In Class’. Both books have been accompanied by a nationwide schools tour and are now being developed into a show which will tour to festivals and theatres in 2018/19.
I also produce community poetry and write regularly about my home town of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. Both volumes of the ‘Poems from Villagetown’ series reached the Kindle top 5 and I regularly perform selections for them within the community. This has led to me working with other charity and community groups to prroduce bespoke poetry for their own events. Clients have included Coffee4Craig (a homeless chairty based in Manchester), The Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the Lead Learn Lancs education conference.
Alongisde all of that (I told you I was busy) I continue to write classroom resources for both Primary and Secondary teachers. Clients have included –
- 14-18 Now (Poppies project)
- The Literacy Shed (Poetry resources),
- Resources4Drama (drama schemes on mental health)
- National Literacy Trust (Picture the Poet)
- The BBC (Comedy Classroom and Young Commentator of the Year)
I am always happy to discuss new commissions so please do give me a call!
If you’d like to work with me on a new project, want to know more about what I do or even if you just want to chat about what’s cool in the arts world, please fill out the web form and I’ll respond within 24hrs or give me a ring on 07772 524357 if you want to speak to a real person!