Poet set to perform for the public

By Antony Clay | 23/06/2017

Poet set to perform for the public
Nigel Downing.

A DEARNE Valley writer who told of his experiences battling bipolar disorder in a book of poetry is set to promote his works online and on the streets.

Nigel Downing (46), of Dearne Road, Bolton-on-Dearne, has already sold out the first print run of his book Life is Eximius Ordo which has received critical acclaim.

Now, the talented writer — who is working on his next collection All Smoke and Mirrors — is putting some of his works on the web.

He said: “I have recorded six of the poems (from Life is Eximius Ordo) as audio tracks in a studio as part of a Creative Recovery project in Barnsley and these are available on SoundCloud as well as my website nigelshaundowning.com which is still undergoing construction but is available to access.”

Nigel said that he owes his literary success to Creative Recovery, a mental health charity based at the Media Centre in Barnsley, which gets a portion of his book earnings in gratitude.

He said the group encouraged him to write his poetry to support his battle against health issues.

Nigel is also taking part in another Barnsley-based project called Spaces Inbetween 17.

He has recorded a professional video of his poem I Drink To... for the project which is taking place at the end of this month (June) in Barnsley town centre.

The Spaces Between project begins on Friday, June 30, from 2pm to 7pm when there will be a guided walk with the artists taking part. People should meet at Barnsley Civic Theatre.

This will be followed by a live music and entertainment event at the Panorama, Civic Theatre, from 7pm to 9pm.

On Saturday, July 1, from 10am to 5pm there will be an art walk with street performances and installations from noon to 5pm.

The two day event is free and there is no need to book. People can collect a map from the The Civic box office and head out onto the streets.

Nigel said: “This involves some 20 or so showcases of individual recovery through creativity on a circular route around the town centre, beginning and ending at the Civic Theatre, and promises to be an excellent weekend.

“My installation is this video recital on a large screen TV outside the No 7 pub.

“Also as part of the project on the horizon I will be having a song I wrote based on my poem Funfair in the Sky recorded in a studio by a professional musician.”

Nigel was raised in Swinton and attended Swinton Comprehensive School where he left with ten O-levels to work in engineering. He had a breakdown in 1998. 

But Nigel is now studying with the Open University towards a degree in mental health and pursues his interests in archery, mountain biking and motorcycles.

He said that his family and friends have been supportive.

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