The blog of Alan Summers, Recipient of the Japan Times Award (2002) and owner of With Words, a UK provider of literature, education and literacy projects, often based around the Japanese genres.
For events and workshops for families, children, and schools contact us through our With Words website: With Words.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Standing Up For Freedom, Matthew Hammond, the Stand Up Philosopher
Matthew Hammond, the Stand Up Philosopher, presents a unique
show, following the course of the over-used concept of freedom.
From ancient times to modern thinkers, the history of the
idea is traced in a sequence of inspirational performances that unpick the
concept that we think we know so well, and show it in a new and fascinating
Always powerful, sometimes hilarious and at times shocking,
philosophies are shaken from their covers and brought vividly to life as
Matthew Hammond jumps about, making theatre out of all those books you meant to
read but never got around to...
"Dynamic, dangerous and highly original."
performance poet and Wondermentalist Liv Torc.
"When something special comes along, and you might not have the chance to witness it ever again, you've got to get your skates on, and catch it!"
Alan Summers, With Words (Director)
TWO EVENTS :
At the Northcott Theatre Exeter as part of the Laugh Out
The shows are unique, remarkable, theatrical, entertaining
powerful. Below are the coming dates with brochure copy,
and a performer bio.
At the Northcott Theatre Exeter as part of the Laugh Out
Sun 3 February 2013
8pm in the Theatre Bar
And at the Bierkeller Theatre in Bristol on Monday 18th
Quotes on Matthew Hammond the Stand Up Philosopher:
*Dynamic, dangerous and highly original.* performance poet
Wondermentalist Liv Torc.
*Just wanted to say a big thank you for coming up and
performing atLitFest. Your performance went down really well, and was a
realtalking point.* Andy Killeen, novelist and organizer of the
*…a very dangerous man…loads of ideas kept popping into my
James Turner, Poet and Author of the poetry collection
*Incredible intensity.* Audience member at Poetry Unplugged
Poetry Café Covent Garden,
*Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!!!* Dan Stratford, viewer of
for Beginners video on YouTube
*It's the second time I've seen you perform and I probably
understandabout 5% or less, but it's FANTASTIC! It's not like anything
else, butso entertaining.* Audience member, Taking the Mic, Exeter
Matthew Hammond studied Anthropology at Cambridge and after
graduating realized that philosophy was what he actually wanted to do.
Perplexed as to how to proceed, he then trained as a maths teacher at Keele
University and became a certified mathematician, working as a maths tutor so
that he could study philosophy from 5am until 12pm most days, and be full time
carer for the partner he met as a student, an ME sufferer. At 27 he inherited a
crumbling C15th rectory, and started running an artistic community with an
environmental / recycling emphasis, where visual artists, musicians and
thinkers could live and work in the same place more sustainably. This led to
being effectively foster parents/siblings to some very disturbed folks and
having a heap of bizarre experiences, some of them pretty unpleasant.
Eventually some positive-minded artists who used the space as it was intended
to be used turned up, and the recycling and environmentally-minded arts
collective the Cartwheels Collective was born, named after the decaying
agricultural artefacts surrounding the property.
as teaching maths and making a difference to the lives of hundreds of school
pupils giving them confidence in maths and better grades, Matthew collaborated
on art projects, did historical cookery for heritage and arts events, held
workshops in willow and leather, and ended up teaching philosophy at Exeter
University and LSE Summer School, being called an inspirational lecturer by his
students. Such was his popularity, he even ended up teaching informal classes
in philosophy in café bars at the weekends! - but was never going to fit tidily
into academia because no one could ever make up their minds about his work, as
nothing he did could ever be neatly likened to anything or fitted into a box;
before becoming one half of Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre when his
partner finally recovered, and performing at all kinds of festivals and events
such as Glastonbury, the Big Chill and the Festival of History, for which he
has made huge bodymasks and figures. Two years ago he started performing solo
as well, and combined at last his two passions of philosophy and theatre as the
Stand Up Philosopher, and has been performing as festivals and venues large and
small from the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival of Philosophy and Music at Hay and
the PowWow LitFest in Birmingham to the Hatherleigh Festival in Devon and the
Poetry Café in Covent Garden.
delivered papers at conferences in philosophy and literature at venues such as
Warwick University, Greenwich University and the University of London. His
publications include a chapter in ‘Deleuze and the Fold – a Critical Reader’,
(edited by Sjoerd van Tuinen and Niamh McDonnell) and published by Palgrave Macmillan,
a number of chapbooks, and his book of essays ‘Not What One Was - A Brief
History of the Concept of Justice’. He has written over half a million words of
philosophy and philosophical literary criticism, some of it on the web, but
much of it still undrafted, as he is profoundly dyslexic which has hampered the
drafting his writings considerably, but which has also ensured a phenomenal
memory and a startlingly rhetorical style in the traditions of the Ancient
Greek philosophers and the C16th Ranters. There is a theory that he was dropped
on his head as a baby as his shirts often unbutton themselves and he is on his
fifth copy of Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’ as the pages always mysteriously fall out…but
his mother claims it was the drugs she was on while pregnant! His other
interests include history, cooking and making monsters ‘as it’s better for you
than alcoholism’…and possibly slightly cheaper. He calls himself ‘Philosophy’s
only tribute act’.
Matthew Hammond co-presents a fortnightly programme on
Phonic FM 106.8 and online, covering poetry, philosophy, history, legend,
culture and curiosities called ‘Widsith and Deor presents…’. Shows have
included the History of Philosophy, the Origins of the Idea of Democracy,
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Dark Age Britain, The English Civil War, the
Histories of the Saxon and the Norman Kings, Theatre, Cabaret and Circus, the
novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, history through the lens of art at
Kensington Palace, etc.. Currently the programmes are charting the Kings and
Queens of England from 800AD onward, and forthcoming is a performance of
Geoffrey Hill’s poetry sequence ‘Clavics’ for which Enitharmon Press have given
He is also the host of the weekly ‘Phonic Drama Show’ which
has included plays from playwrights all over the UK and his own solo dramatic
interpretations of Euripedes’ ‘The Bacchae’, the ‘Oresteia’ trilogy and other
Greek tragedies. He has also presented startlingly original and powerful
tellings of tales from many sources including the 1,000 Arabian Nights to
Viking Gods, often to techno beats and classical music. His most recent show
was an adaptation of a part of the C12th Njal’s Saga.