Jeremy Taylor

Schools  Jeremy performing for a classroom

Jeremy is a hit with young audiences. His songs and stories in schools and colleges have been a endorsed by scores of educators and students. He has inspired, informed and motivated young people around the globe. Jeremy matches the format of his appearance to the needs of the audience, including:

For booking information...
in the UK and Europe contact Jeremy at TaylorsJandS@yahoo.co.uk.
in North America, contact Rich Ball at JeremyTaylorUSA@gmail.com.

Please read the endorsements below and read Jeremy's personal statement regarding his life and work.

 

Types of Appearances

Concert/Lecture Presentation

Jeremy tells his story of South Africa—its history, its peoples, its cultural and racial divides, its struggles for supremacy—all revealed with humour and humanity through his songs, poems and stories. Audiences will gain a warmer view of a complex land.

Duration One to two hours as required.
Venue Virtually anywhere, theatre, lecture-theatre, hall, classroom, according to numbers and availability.
Amplification Two microphones - one vocal, one guitar (if necessary at all).
Props A glass of water.
 

Discussion Groups

Jeremy chairs discussion groups for students anxious to explore further the issues raised in the presentation. In particular he highlights the relevance of South Africa's story to the rest of the modern world. These groups are open-ended and can be tailored to fit existing general studies programmes.

 

Songwriting/Performing Workshops

Based on his two-semester appointment as artist in residence at Wellington College, Crowthorne, UK, Jeremy guides putative writers, songwriters and performers in the exploration of their craft. He draws on decades of stage experience in one-man shows, plays and concert apparances.

Ideally this should encompass a full day, with time for individuals to work through on their own. A repeat session, days or a week later, can also be very useful.

 

Endorsements

“Jeremy Taylor kept our entire Sixth Form mesmerized. His superb storytelling and singing skills enabled him to give a picture of life in South Africa in a most powerful and entertaining way. ”

— St. Edward’s School, Oxford, UK

 

“ My students responded with great enthusiasm to Jeremy Taylor's sharp, playful wit and piercing wisdom. His presence is irresistible, and his songs really moved the kids. They were singing along with one of the songs, and at the end of one concert, all the students stayed beyond the bell to listen to the end. I've never seen that amount of extended, respectful and rapt attention at an in-school field trip before.

We would like to have him back next year. Besides a concert, I could imagine him doing some sort of workshop with a small number of serious, creative students. ”

— Steve Gevinson, English department
OPRF High School, Oak Park, IL USA

 

“…It is really a mixture of some history, some entertainment and a challenge to our students to think for themselves.”

—Whitgift School, UK

 

“Dear Mr. Taylor, thank you so much for contributing so generously to our community! We feel enormously blessed to have had the opportunity. ”

— G. Williams
Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, IL USA

 

“I would strongly commend Jeremy Taylor of any school. His concert was an experience what will long be remembered…

— Geelong Grammer School, Australia

 

A Personal Statement from Jeremy Taylor

I first went to South Africa in 1959 immediately after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in modern languages. I took a job as a teacher at a school in Johannesburg and virtually at the same time began writing songs. I became involved in staging a musical revue, "Wait a Minim!", which surpassed expectations (it was meant to run for two weeks) by finishing its life, seven years later, in Australia after running for two years in London's West End, a year on Broadway and a further year touring the United States. The revue featured "Ag Pleez Deddy!", a song I had written in the cheerful vernacular of my pupils. It went to the top of the SA charts virtually sealing my fate until the present day. It was printed in full in the New York Times but banned from the SA airwaves on the grounds of linguistic pollution. It nonetheless became an unofficial anthem for white South Africa. Meanwhile "Piece of Ground", penned in 1962 and later recorded in the US by Miriam Makeba, became a rallying cry for black protest movements of the seventies and eighties. From whatever angle I was considered by the South African authorities, quite correctly, as subversive. In 1970 I was banned from re-entering the country.

In the wake of a government reshuffle nine years later I was permitted to return. My one-man show "Back in Town" played to full houses and I resettled in the land to continue chronicling life under apartheid, its dramas, its tragi-comic turns of fate, its fundamental humanity forever at odds with the continuing struggle for political ascendancy.

It seemed meaningless to take sides. Anyone with a concern for justice could not but recognise courage and decency where they found it, often in the most unexpected places. My inability to take sides left me, after fifteen years of touring my shows, marginalised by the euphoria of "freedom" which, with the elections of 1994, ostensibly marked the end of the "struggle". Talk of rainbows and other wish-fulfilments seemed worryingly at odds with the reality I had been rubbing shoulders with for thirty-five years. Instead of hard-headed governance South Africa was suddenly awash with sentimentalism. The longed-for nirvana was fast becoming, quite simply, reverse apartheid.

Whither South Africa now? Can a land with the highest murder rate in the world (over 22,000 in 2005) be considered a success? Where has it gone wrong? And what has it to do with the rest us?

I like to celebrate the many things that were right with the land and the many qualities that were paramount among its peoples. And I pray that somehow they will prevail.

— Jeremy Taylor