I am a writer and T’ai Chi and Reiki practitioner, and a member of the Performance Ensemble, where I work as a dramaturg and performer. Our recent production, ‘Crossing’, is currently being worked into a larger piece, to be performed at Leeds Playhouse in October 2020. I live in Leeds, Yorkshire. I teach independent classes across the city in Creative Writing, and run regular workshops in T’ai Chi and Chi Kung at Leeds Buddhist Centre and the Quaker Meeting House in Roundhay, Leeds. In autumn 2018, I opened a Reiki Room in Oakwood, Leeds where I see people for one-one sessions. (See my Reiki In Leeds page and Classes with Barney page for details.)
I have been part of the Leeds Playhouse Creative Engagement programme since 2009. Leeds Playhouse is a Theatre of Sanctuary, and I have run workshops there called ‘Finding Your Voice’, to encourage confidence and performance skills in the refugee and asylum seeker community. Also, I collaborate regularly on two exciting projects: Heydays a dynamic programme for older people; and Our Time, groundbreaking creative work for people with dementia and those who support them.
For the Every Third Minute Festival 2018 at Leeds Playhouse, I co-wrote a short play, ‘A Horse Called Freedom’, with Rosa Peterson, a woman living with dementia. Despite the public perception of this complex condition, our work together was surprisingly poetic and uplifting. And we laughed (and cried) alot!
Rosa and I continue to write together – and most recently wrote and performed monologues for a piece called Bus Ride, brainchild of director Alan Lyddiard, and his company the Performance Ensemble. You can read more about that here.
As an arts journalist, I have written regular freelance features for the Guardian, Psychologies Magazine and Femail, some of which you can read by going to my Blog and Features Archive page, and have published three books.
The first, way back in 1986, was Flowers in Hell, an investigation into women and crime.
The second, A Handful of Earth, came out in 2007. This was a diary of grief and recovery in the garden. (For five years I was garden correspondent for On:Yorkshire magazine, and now write for them online, regularly reviewing books and covering all things green and arty!)
My most recent book, Old Dog, was published in 2013, and is about the exceptional bond between dogs and humans – in particular, one special mongrel called Muffin. It is also a deeper meditation on life and death, bereavement, and recovery from loss.
Currently, I am working on a new book, with the working title, ‘Wild Goose Flying’. This is a memoir of the body and what it teaches us, in sickness and in health.
I am also a linguist, am studying Hungarian – very hard language, wonderful country – and love singing, travelling to Eastern Europe, and messing about in my garden. I’ve just joined a ukulele band which is quite delightful.Communication is really important to me – in words, in movement, in voice. So having a blog gives me the chance to write, informally, sporadically, enthusiastically, whenever I choose, about whatever I like… And maybe someone will read it too!
Facebook, Author: @BarneyBardsleyAuthor
Facebook, Reiki: @barneybardsleyreiki
‘A Handful of Earth’ (John Murray)
‘Old Dog’ (Simon and Schuster)