During the morning sessions, Tuesday to Friday, 9.30 – 1.00pm, we will explore various avenues into unlocking creativity, while also considering multiple ways of shaping what we find for the eye and ear, with attention to poetic craft and technique: awareness of rhythm, internal rhyme, line breaks, the tone of the poem, understanding of form and free-form etc. Time will be given to writing exercises and challenges during each session and responding as a group to what has been produced. Throughout, participants will be encouraged to take risks, stretch their boundaries, while at the same time developing core skills and techniques. The overall aim is for each writer to work towards identifying and developing a personal poetic voice.
The four 90 minute evening sessions (5.00-6.30pm) will be given over to one to one sessions with the course tutor, Pete Mullineaux. Participants are asked to bring three previously written poems they would like an in-depth response to; (bring two copies of each). While Pete is hosting these one to one sessions, the rest of the group will be invited to enjoy a communal meditation session with Pete’s fellow writer/facilitator Moya Roddy.
Note: for these one to one sessions participants can choose to substitute one or more of the poems they write in the morning sessions.
Meditation Workshop – Into the Body
In a relaxed and nourishing atmosphere, through practices such as body scan, balancing chakras using sound and colour and silent meditation, those participating will make a journey to a place of inner silence and stillness.
The Garsdale Retreat provides an inspiring place to develop as a writer. Our courses offer opportunities for new, emerging and experienced writers. The tutors, all professional writers, lead group work and also give one-to-one tutorials to help the individual student. In the remote and beautiful setting of The Yorkshire Dales, The Garsdale Retreat gives a wonderful opportunity to escape from the daily stresses of life and to draw inspiration from fellow students, tutors and the landscape itself.
All courses start on Monday afternoon, arrival time 4.00 – 5.30pm and finish after breakfast on Saturday, 10.00am
Although there will be slight variations, according to the type of course, students can generally expect the following outline.
Each day begins with a morning workshop at 9.30am where students explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. Tutors also write alongside the students, sharing and developing work with participants. The immediacy of hearing or reading an expert’s emerging work gives invaluable insight and inspiration into the art of writing. All students have opportunities to share their work with the tutor and fellow writers in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment in which individual work is respected and confidence developed.
There is a mid-morning coffee break and the session finishes at lunchtime (1.00pm)
After lunch, participants are free to do whatever they like, such as: relax, go for walks, enjoy The Dales, nap, draw, paint, read or work on individual writing projects.
All students have at least one individual tutorial which usually takes place in the early evening after tea and homemade cake.
Each evening there is an after-dinner event. The precise nature of this vary varies according to the type of course but participants can typically expect a tutor reading on Tuesday followed by a reading from a visiting writer on the Wednesday. There is an informal activity on Thursday such as a student ‘open-mic’ night, or a tutor devised activity. On Friday, students and tutor take part in a reading of their work from the course-produced anthology. This is followed by an informal celebration where participants are welcome to play music or sing etc. The Retreat has a grand piano, key-board and acoustic guitar but students are free to bring any instruments along with them.
After-dinner events for performance style courses will usually involve workshop performances by participants of work accomplished in the day.
All courses will conclude after breakfast on Saturday.
Writing Course Anthology
An integral part of a course, is the production of an anthology of the week’s writing. Tutors and students have an equal allocation of pages (usually two sides ofA4) and select the work they include. These pages can be illustrated or decorated. Each participant takes ownership of their pages and is free to determine the overall look and style which may be hand-written or word-processed. It is, of course, accepted that work may not be completely polished and there is an element of work-in-progress about it. However, the aim of the anthology is to reflect a flavour of the work accomplished on the course by both tutor and participants and to provide them with an attractive record of their time at Garsdale. The Retreat stores copies of anthologies in the library, providing pleasure and inspiration for future students.
Musical Theatre Courses
These are essentially the same as the writing workshops in terms of the structure of the day. The main difference is that the evenings are devoted to performance of work produced each day. An informal concert of work produced over the week is given on the Friday evening.
Musical Theatre Course Recording
For musical theatre and performance poetry based courses, an audio anthology is produced. Each student selects work they’ve produced over the week to be recorded. As with the written anthology, the audio version is not expected to be a complete and polished work but more of a work-in-progress which reflects the week’s endeavours. A copy of the anthology recording is given to each student at the end of the course. The Garsdale Retreat will archive the anthology, providing pleasure and inspiration for future students.