Last night Binham Grange was host to Ralph Hoyte's Epic 'Christabel Released', the evening was part of the Gallery4Art exhibition which built upon last year's successful show of new art works by south west artists. Binham Grange is in a stunning location, nestled between Blue Anchor bay and Old Cleeve, it's fabulous gardens and medieval rooms, sensitively brought back to life by the current owners, were the perfect backdrop for this Gothic epic - the Alabaster door frames being something to behold in their own right.
The performance began outside in the evening sun, then parts two and three continued inside, firstly in the grand dining hall, and then finally with coffee seated on soft sofas in the more snug sitting room.
Ralph explained how he had originally fought with the idea of finishing Coleridge's unfinished 'medieval' tale of demonic possession but whilst as artist in residence with the Quantock Hills AONB he was more and more immersed in the famous poet's world and simply had to go where he was creatively being led. So as the evening sun set we sipped wine as Ralph began his and Coleridge's epic with the added challenge of spotting the join!
Ralph's reading was three hours in total, which is quite some task to stay focused and fresh throughout, but he made it seem effortless. Moving the audience and allowing us time to eat our picnics between the different locations made the evening move swiftly and also enabled us to see more of this fine Jacobean house.
When the evening drew to a close there was a relaxed discussion about Ralph's work, the other poets and writers that had influenced his ending of Christabel and whether he would be taking on other great unfinished pieces - to which he replied that he was ready to find his own 'modern' poet's voice once more.
Ralph is also currently working on his GPS app that will re introduce the voices of the Romantic poets back into the Somerset landscape in which they lived and roamed; this is planned for release next year and you may read more about this project in an earlier post here.
If you were unable to attend this event and are curious to what fate awaits Ralph's Cristabel - will she do an 'Ophelia' and what becomes of the snake like, bi-sexual Geraldine, then you may purchase the poem for your Kindle and read it at your leisure - do visit Ralph's website for further details.