Martin Heslop is a composer, writer and sound artist based in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He collaborates across art forms, with poets, playwrights, film makers, visual artists, composers, actors and dramaturgs. He has written words and music for publication, for release on record and for performance.
3/10/20 – TO THE END OF THINGS RELEASED ONLINE
To To The End of Things is a narrative sequence of audio-visual poems by Martin Heslop and Helen Tookey begun during a residency at The Elizabeth Bishop House in Nova Scotia in September 2019. The work uses sounds recorded in Canada, films made in north-east England, early recordings of Nova Scotian Gaelic songs, and Martin and Helen’s writing. It was made in response to vivid, evocative land- and soundscapes on either side of the Atlantic, both still echoing with the remnants of industry, the marks it has left and the effect of its loss on the people that live there. Parts 1 – 5 are released by Newcastle Centre For Literary Arts during November 2020. Click on the page above (in the work menu) to watch and listen to the films.
8/6/19 – TWO WEEK RESIDENCY IN NOVA SCOTIA, SEPTEMBER 2019
Martin and poet Helen Tookey have been awarded a prestigious two-week residency at Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood home in Great Village, Nova Scotia, Canada during September 2019. They will be developing a new music and text work using field recordings made during their stay. More to follow.
31/4/19 – LISTEN TO SQUALL HERE
New text and sound work, Squall by Martin Heslop and Helen Tookey. Listen here:
4/4/19 – SQUALL TO BE PREMIERED ON RADIOPHRENIA 2019
Martin and Helen’s new work Squall will be premiered on Radiophrenia 2019 during May. Find out more information here: https://radiophrenia.scot/
5/12/18 – NEW WORK IN DEVELOPMENT
New sound and text work in development – working title Squall – uses text from Helen’s upcoming collection City of Departures forthcoming with Carcanet in July 2019.
*UPDATE* – City of Departures has been nominated for the prestigious Forward Prize for Best Collection. Well done Helen! More information and see the other shortlisted collections here: http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/2019-forward-prizes/
9/10/18 – ALTERNATING CURRENTS: NOW ONLINE
ALTERNATING CURRENTS | featuring voices of W. N. Herbert, Fiona Sampson, Sean O’Brien, Helene Gelens, Elma van Haren and Menno Wigman.
Commissioned by the Poettrio Experiment for Newcastle Poetry Festival 2018.
7/7/18 – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM: ALBUM RELEASE
Music/Text/Song/Visual work by Alan Dunn, Martin Heslop & Jeff Young in collaboration with Mariners’ Park.
This new album captures The Lighthouse Invites the Storm performances and has been produced in a numbered edition of 1000.
To request a copy of the CD, email Alan Dunn at email@example.com
The CD is free, but any contributions towards p&p are welcome and can be made here: http://alandunn67.co.uk/lowrycd.html
See here for The Lighthouse Invites the Storm project page with audio-visual documentation.
16/3/18 – NEW POETRY/SOUND WORK FOR NEWCASTLE POETRY FESTIVAL
New work ALTERNATING CURRENTS: TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE NORTH SEA to be presented at Newcastle Poetry festival at Sage, Gateshead on Thursday 3rd May.
Commissioned by the Poettrio Experiment (more info: here), a new immersive sound work in response to collaborative poetry translation from leading Dutch and British poets. Imagined as an intercepted cross-border broadcast, Alternating Currents explores the intersection of language, code and music.
See here for more info and tickets: https://www.newcastlepoetryfestival.co.uk/
16/3/18 – UPCOMING RELEASE – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM
Album of electronic composition, spoken voice and song to be released in July.
Drawing on the stories of merchant seamen, sea-voyages, journeys through the Liverpool night and the rise and fall of Mersey tides, this experimental cross art form composition, was initially commissioned by the Bluecoat and Liverpool John Moores University for live shows in July 2017.
Music and songs by Martin Heslop
Visual art by Alan Dunn
Text by Jeff Young
With Jack Roberts, Mersey Wylie and Vidar Norheim.
More information to follow in the next few weeks.
16/3/18 – UPCOMING TOUR: HORNY HANDED TONS OF SOIL
Horny Handed Tons of Soil, with words by Lizzie Nunnery and music by Martin Heslop, Martin Smith and Vidar Norheim, goes out on tour in a few weeks. Here are the dates and links:
28th March – Unity Theatre Liverpool 8pm
29th March – Bury Met, Bury 8pm
13th April – The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University
19th April – Milton Keynes, The Stables (two person version) 8.45pm
29th + 30th April – London, New Diorama Theatre
2/7/17 – THE LIGHTHOUSE INVITES THE STORM – LIVE AT THE BLUECOAT, LIVERPOOL AND MARINERS’ PARK, NEW BRIGHTON
Reconnecting Malcolm Lowry to his New Brighton birthplace, each side of the Mersey will play host to a new commission marking the seventieth anniversary of his seminal novel, and the sixtieth anniversary of his death.
The performance The Lighthouse Invites the Storm will encompass live music, film, spoken word and songs. Drawing on the stories of merchant seamen, Lowry’s sea-voyages, his journeys through the Liverpool night and the rise and fall of Mersey tides, this experimental cross art form composition will be performed at Mariners’ Park Care Home in New Brighton and the Bluecoat over two nights, Fri 28th July (Bluecoat) and Sat 29th July (Mariners’), alongside an exciting programme of events.
Commissioned by the Bluecoat and Liverpool John Moores University, artist Alan Dunn, composer Martin Heslop and writer Jeff Young have been working with retired seafarers at Mariners’ Park over the past six months, uncovering hidden stories and adventures which have inspired the work.
More info here and full programme of events here: http://www.thelighthouseinvitesthestorm.com/
Tickets for the Bluecoat here: https://uk.patronbase.com/_Bluecoat/Productions/4SR/Performances
Tickets for Mariners’ Park here:
2/7/17 – HORNY HANDED TONS OF SOIL – LIVE AT THE UNITY THEATRE, LIVERPOOL
The city is alive. Wandering the streets, The Child, The Poet and Death trace memories and map dreams onto a landscape shifting under the spell of time.
Inspired by the eclectic work of Adrian Henri in the 50th anniversary year of The Mersey Sound, ‘Horny Handed Tons of Soil’ fuses beat poetry with folk song; electronic composition with live brass and percussion; documentary film with theatrical storytelling.
Extract performed live on Front Row on Radio 4:
Book Tickets here: https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/hornyhanded-tons-of-soil.html
20/02/17 – UPCOMING: 3 NEW PROJECTS
The Lighthouse Invites the Storm will be a large scale installation and live performance by Alan Dunn, Martin Heslop & Jeff Young in collaboration with poet Helen Tookey, retired seafarers from the Wirral and sound artists from Mexico.
Fort Perch Rock & Lighthouse, New Brighton, 24-30 July.
More details to follow.
(Image copyright Hidden Wirral 2014)
Horny Handed Tons of Soil at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 13th – 15th July 2017.
A theatrical collaboration combining poetry, live music, storytelling and film, exploring themes of destruction, construction and memory within the stories of what has been lost and found in the re-sculpting of the Liverpool landscape over the last fifty years
Written by Lizzie Nunnery, Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim with Martin Smith.
Film and Video by Tim Brunsden.
Tickets and more info here: https://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/hornyhanded-tons-of-soil.html#about
The Sum is a new play by Lizzie Nunnery, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, with live music from Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop, at Liverpool Everyman, 6th – 20th May 2017
More details to follow – more info and tickets here: https://www.everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/the-sum
29/11/16 – LONDON ROAD – THE BALLAD OF RAY AND JULIE
Photo by Alan Dunn
To mark the last few months of RAY + JULIE, artist Alan Dunn, musician Martin Heslop and writer Jeff Young have produced a limited edition 7″ single LONDON ROAD ’66 + ’81. The record, with photography by Vesta Hex and design by Martyn Rainford, brings together two spoken word RAY + JULIE pieces from Electronic Voice Phenomena and Composers’ Laboratory at METAL. With additional voice by Emma French, it is released in an edition of 300.
For more, and to listen to the tracks, see http://alandunn67.co.uk/londonroadtheballadofrayandjulienovember2016.html.
24/11/16 – THIS THURSDAY LIVE AT THE EVERYMAN, LIVERPOOL
15/7/16 – LIVE AT PROTOHOME
Performing live from 18.30 – 20.00 – Protohome, Stepney Bank, Newcastle
PROTOHOME is open to the public to visit and plays host to a programme of events including talks, exhibitions, public forums, film screenings, artist residencies, performances, workshops and more, examining the collaborative design/build process and wider issues concerning housing and homelessness in an austerity context, participatory alternatives and the politics of land and development.
See the website for more information, opening times and full details of the programme of events: www.protohome.co.uk // www.facebook.com/protohomenewcastle // firstname.lastname@example.org
18/3/16 – LIVE AT THE PHILHARMONIC
First outing for a newly commissioned work, Liverpool, I Love Your Horny Handed Tons of Soil. Words by Lizzie Nunnery, Music by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim.
It will be premiered as part of Liverpool Acoustic Festival tonight 18th March at 19.05. Find out more about the night here:
Photos courtesy of Edward Chambre Hardman and Liverpool Records Office.
28/9/15 – ARTHUR DOOLEY’S BLACK CHRIST RESURRECTED
Arthur Dooley’s statue Black Christ is resurrected on the Princes Park Methodist Church in Toxteth after restoration work. A commemorative booklet is available to buy featuring poems by Martin Heslop and Jeff Young inspired by Arthur’s work.
There’s an article about the sculpture here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2006/12/22/divine_art_dooley_sculpture_feature.shtml
And about its resurrection here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-sculptor-arthur-dooleys-black-10143897#ICID
26/9/15 – 23 ENIGMA RELEASED
Release of hand-sewn booklets with the text of 23 Enigma by Jeff Young alongside a live recording of the piece with music by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim on sale here:
Link to article about it here: http://www.bidolito.co.uk/content/issue-60
15/9/15 – NARVIK REVIEWS
The Guardian – 4 stars – “…..But it is the music – a skein of electronically filtered shanties and ballads performed by Nunnery and her regular collaborators Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop – that is used to most atmospheric effect. It’s almost a tease, as fragments of melody mysteriously appear and suddenly melt away, with the confidence of a writer who has talent to burn.”
See full review here: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/sep/11/narvik-review-liverpool-playhouse-lizzie-nunnery
And other reviews here: http://boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk/news/narvik-reviews-round-up/
1/9/15 – NARVIK
Narvik is written by Lizzie Nunnery, music composed by Martin Heslop and Vidar Norheim, directed by Hannah Tyrell-Pinder, designed by Maeve Black. Produced by Box of Tricks and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.