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This page contains information about Peter Sutton's translation of Piers Plowman, his plays Elgar and Alice and The Prebumptious Mr Punch, his poetry, his presentation on William Langland, and other plays.

The audio player at the foot of the page includes five live audience excerpts.

Contact Peter Sutton for performance enquiries: peterjsutton@talktalk.net.

William Langland’s poem Piers Plowman was completed 650 years ago. Peter Sutton’s translation of the poem into modern English alliterative verse preserves the energy, imagery and intent of the original, and retains the alliterative style of the original poem. It is published by McFarland of North Carolina.

Piers Plowman is a disturbing and humorous quest for how to live a good life and gives a unique insight into medieval life and beliefs, but is astonishingly fresh and apposite today. The characters are instantly recognisable as our present-day politicians and celebrities, friends and neighbours, and the poem confronts live social issues such as corruption, criminal justice and good government.

Book cover: Piers Plowman: A modern verse translation

Copies are available from the publisher (mcfarlandpub.com), from bookshops and from on-line suppliers: ISBN 978-0-7864-9503-0, ebook ISBN 978-1-4766-1817-3.

Click the book cover above for a PDF comprising four sample pages from the book.

"Sutton's translation succeeds as a highly readable rendition of the poem that may intrigue new readers"
Yearbook of Langland Studies

"I hope your book will receive a warm reception. It has something distinctive to offer and presents the poem in a very attractive and accessible way."
Carl Schmidt, Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College Oxford & editor of the Middle English original

"Congratulations on this major achievement. The rest of us Langlandians are in your debt!"
Lawrence Warner, Reader in Medieval English at King’s College London & Director of the International Piers Plowman Society

"Sutton’s translation succeeds as a readable, rhythmic representation of the original."
Choice

Peter Sutton has given readings from his translation of Piers Plowman at festivals and conferences in the UK and the US, and welcomes further bookings. Click above to see a sample video on YouTube.

"I'm still fuelled with inspiration"
Audience member, International Piers Plowman Society Conference

"Mr Sutton had the full range of character and colour in his voice... a masterclass in how to engage and hold an audience"
Peter Williams, Hereford Times online

"Able to connect perfectly with his audience and to hold our rapt attention"
Audience member, South Downs Poetry Festival

 

William Langland, poet and dreamer

William Langland, poet and dreamer

In the presentation by Peter Sutton about Langland’s life given in 2012 at Little Malvern Priory, Langland and his wife look back and find that folk have not changed. Their mordant remarks on money and morality are as apt as ever, and Langland’s own story, much of it previously untold, reveals the dark side of life in Merry England. The readers were Stephanie Connell and Peter Sutton, and medieval music was played by Tim Cranmore and Linda Hardwick.

The performance was part of the 2012 Autumn in Malvern Festival.

Peter Sutton was also one of five speakers discussing Langland and medieval life at a study day in the 650th anniversary year of the poem. See the Lecturer and Speaker page for details.

 

Poetry

Peter Sutton’s two poems Water’s Edge and Echo-o-o-o-o are published in the summer 2018 edition of the literary journal Orbis, No. 184.

In 2018, Peter Sutton is reading his poetry at venues including Ledbury Poetry SalonsWorcester Speakeasy, and meetings of Herefordshire Stanza. He recently performed at an Elgar Poetry Evening with poets Lesley Ingram, Nina Lewis and Michael Wyndham Thomas, and gave a poetry workshop for the Armenian Institute, London.

Click below for a PDF featuring examples of Peter's poems.

Click for PDF: poems by Peter Sutton

 

 

Click here to buy a copy of the playscript of Elgar and Alice

Peter Sutton's play Elgar and Alice was first performed on 5th June 2007 as part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Gerald Harper played Elgar (below - photo by John Twinning) and the Director was Gene David Kirk.

Gerald Harper as Elgar

Click here to buy a copy of the playscript of Elgar and Alice. 

"A superbly crafted play"
Music and Vision Magazine

"Peter Sutton has got right under Elgar’s skin"
Elgar Society Journal

“Sutton does a skilful job”
Birmingham Post ****

“Very neat. It’s neatly done, altogether”
Oxford Times *****

“My wife and I were absolutely bowled over”
Sir Charles Mackerras

“Congratulations”
Steven Isserlis

Elgar and Alice returned to the Swan Theatre Worcester during the 2011 Three Choirs Festival. The Director was Chris Jaeger.

Elgar and Alice programme cover 2016

Peter Sutton’s play Elgar and Alice received its third production in 2016, when Global Productions performed the play at venues in the east of England, directed by Michael Philips. The production was sponsored by the Elgar Society.

Click here for www.global-productions.co.uk.

Click here for further details of productions, full reviews, sample pages and performance rights.

The cast of Mr Punch

This is the story of a present-day Punch, full of jollity and jokes and pokes in the eye for justice. But now it’s prison that Punch faces, with its teacher and doctor and chaplain and governor. Will they reform him? Surely not when they’re figures of fun. What will Judy get up to while Punch is inside? Will he find that amusing too? And what will happen when he gets out? Will he go on laughing or will something nasty happen? If it does, who’s to blame? Punch or the rest of us? This funny and thought-provoking play bends the rules of theatre while providing the answers.

The Prebumptious Mr Punch was premiered at the Swan Theatre Studio, Worcester, by the Worcester Repertory Company in May 2013, directed by Chris Jaeger.

Cover of playscript of The Prebumptious Mr Punch by Peter Sutton, published by Worcester Repertory Company

 

Click here for sample pages from Mr Punch by Peter Sutton

The playscript of The Prebumptious Mr Punch is available from Worcester Rep. Send cheque for £9.49 (£7.99 + p&p) payable to Worcester Live, to Chris Jaeger, Swan Theatre, The Moors, Worcester WR1 3ED.

Further plays have also been given readings at Actors & Writers London.

OTHER PLAYS

A one-act play entitled The White in Between and an early version of Mr Punch won first prize in West Midlands competitions in 1998 and 2000. Mr Punch was then a runner-up in the Kings Cross playwriting competition in 2005.

In 2006 Peter Sutton was invited to take part in a Shakespeare Festival in Armenia, where plays were presented by actors from Slovenia, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Iran, Poland, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and the host country.

Shakespeare Festival

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