Keely is a poet, writer, producer and place-maker.
Performances and titles: She was Peterborough Poet Laureate in 2009 and has performed across the UK, but her favourites so far are at: Edinburgh Festival, the Houses of Parliament, Grow Heathrow, Village Green (Southend) and whilst laureate she opened the John Clare Cottage with Benjamin Zephaniah. She has performed and worked with excellent writers and poets such as Kate Tempest, Scroobius Pip, Ross Sutherland, Rob Auton, Attila the Stockbroker and John Cooper Clarke. She has produced Speakeasy with Mark Grist in conjunction with Norwich Writers Centre and she is currently a team captain for Write Club in Peterborough. She has partnerships with Three Acres and a Cow, which is about land rights in the UK and the other is Traveller’s Tales which is hi-lighting stories and issues faced by Gypsies, traveller’s and Romany’s.
Residencies: She comes from a small village and she thrives in residencies where she can create a village in places where they don’t normally exist. During the Green Festival in 2013 she was poet in residence for all bus routes in Peterborough and that work was played in the city market, staff canteens and the major flyover in the city. She is also Poet in Resident for Peterborough Lido, where her work was played under the water and people could swim into the poems. In 2017 and’ as part of Planet B she and Charley Genever created a piece of work called Pickers, Pluckers and Packers which celebrated and explored the contribution of women and EU migrants to our food production, people experienced the work during a set of tours. She is currently completing a mixed media residency in Epping Forest which has resulted in a exhibition, publication, postcards and workshops.
Play writing and devising: In 2017 she wrote two plays, her first play ‘The Trials of Mary’ was a retelling of the N town cycle of Mystery plays and she collaborated with 4 other poets and this was performed at Peterborough Cathedral and across Peterborough. Her second play ‘We aren’t that different’ was a devised play with Small Nose theatre and was commissioned for Black History month. In 2016 she worked on a set of plays with Eastern Angles, director Poppy Rowley, artist Jim Tovey and the Green Festival, these plays were called ‘Future Floodlands’ and she helped new writers produce plays about what East Anglia will be like in the extremes of climate change. These plays were performed as part of a huge art installation in front of Peterborough Cathedral. In 2015, she developed her own show with Trestle theatre and Ross Sutherland, called ‘You can’t be surprised by a Selfie’ which examined the effect of social media on our relationships and also the idea of the global village vs the real village, the show featured masked characters that were designed by the artist Ann Bellamy.
Public Art and working with Visual artists: She has worked with visual artists to produce examples of her poetry as public art, the poem, ‘There is Poetry in the Walls’ & is on The crescent Bridge leading to Peterborough train station and my poem, ‘This City is Full of Lions’ is painted onto a life size lion as part of the 2012 Olympics, this is at the Key Theatre in Peterborough. She has also worked with Froglife to create a trail and poems that were installed onto benches in Nene Park in Peterborough. In 2017 She also worked with Jef Winter a illustrator to produce visual art for the Paths Unseen exhibition. Also lines from her poetry residency at Peterborough Lido will be painted onto the walls of the swimming pool by May 2018.
Commissions: Keely has written poems for commissions and for the Heritage lottery fund, The John Clare Trust and cottage, a Peterborough council report into regeneration, Olympics 2012- Torch procession, Mental health awareness day and National poetry day.