Poetry as spoken word performance is sweeping the world as the new live entertainment.

A few years ago, three local poets Rachel Doré, Chris Gallavin, and Tim Saunders combined forces with four-piece Celtic-style band Ceol Manawatū, to present Magpies – The Poetry Show, designed as a dynamic mix of original poems and original music.

After wowing audiences in Whanganui with their blend of soulfulness and irreverent fun, and with Gallavin and Doré each having successful solo performances under their belts, Magpies are in Manawatū for one show at Café Royale on Sunday.

The trio of poets, Manawatū farmer Tim Saunders, Massey University's Chris Gallavin, and former Aucklander, facilitator and writer Rachel Doré were brought together by their love of poetry.


The idea to perform as Magpies with Ceol Manawatū came up when they were discussing the power of poetry as multi-layered story-telling that could be accessible to everyone.

Magpies' spokesperson Rachel Doré said although the three are distinctly different individuals, they are convinced that poetry can be far more enjoyable than people realise.

"Chris, Tim and I have an interesting friendship. Alongside the music of Ceol Manawatū, I think it's our differences that makes Magpies entertaining.

"Our original poems are different, and we each have distinct performance styles.

"We keep one another on our toes. It can all become a playing field for a bit of banter between us.

"After one of our shows, a member of the audience said she'd only come for the band, and then discovered poetry can be far more exciting than she ever thought possible. That is satisfying to hear."

Musician Paul Turner says Ceol Manawatū is focused on performing songs and tunes connected to the Manawatū region.

"The collaboration with Magpies supports the local poets by integrating local compositions with their original poetry," said Turner.


Ceol Manawatū music reflects the band members' Celtic heritage.

They have recorded three CDs so far, and can be heard on digital platforms such as Spotify.

Magpies perform 6.30pm, Sunday, October 20 at Café Royale in Square Edge. $10 entry.