LIFE in the Tees Valley 1,500 ago will be evoked in a unique evening of spoken word and live music at Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum.

The epic poem Leásungspell is set in the wilds of Northumbria in the year 657 AD and tells the tale of a monk walking from the Anglo Saxon monastery of Herutea (Hartlepool) to Streonshalh (Whitby) carrying secret letters from Abbess Hild (St Hilda).

The poem is written by Bob Beagrie in a synthesis of Old English, modern English and Cleveland, Yorkshire and Northumbrian Dialect forms.

What better way to experience it than to hear the writer narrate it, supported by a group of talented musicians and sound effects in the Museum’s Nelson Room surrounded by the birdlife of the River Tees, while following the published text.

“Here’s a fool’s tale you can trust – a powerful and surprising one. Set out if you will intrepidly with Oswin on the road from Hartlepool to Whitby, dark and dangerous as it was in the year 657. You’ll not be ultimately lost. The world of Leásungspell, envisioned here, gives back to us our own – with all its metaphysical, political and psychological complexity intact. Expect to stumble, though – intrigued, delightedly entangled in the ancient roots of English by the way.” – Gillian Allnutt

“Leásungspell is a work of sustained visionary imagination the like of which is rarely encountered in contemporary English poetry. Beagrie’s heteroglossic rhapsody (written in an entirely new idiom, a scintillating combination of Old English, modern English and northern dialect forms) is a psycho-geographical paean to the landscapes, languages and peoples of his native Teesside – his temenos and omphalos. The language rings like the clashing of broadswords – this poem must be read out loud – and from that energy and violence, a vivid new world, at once both archaic and strangely contemporary, emerges.” – Steve Ely

“Astonishing, haunting, ambitious in scale and impressive in reach, Leásungspell is a feast for the imagination.” – Pippa Little

Tickets are £6 and places are limited – book in advance from the Dorman Museum Shop.

Copies of Leásungspell are also available from the Museum Shop, £8.99.

For further information call the Dorman Museum 01642 358101 or visit www.dormanmuseum.co.uk