Clare's Journey by Terence Deadman



Music composed by Terence Deadman
Script and lyrics by Trevor Harvey

Created for the 30th Anniversary Concert of The John Clare Society
at Helpston, July 9th 2011

'... a delight to listen to.  One of the most poignant songs is 'He doesn't know me' ... and then, in real contrast, 'The Drovers' Song' is lively and rollicking!' - Reverend Ron and Janet Ingamells

‘Clare’s Journey’ tells, through narrative and song, the story of John Clare's traumatic four-day journey on foot from the asylum in Epping Forest back to his home village of Helpston. It is based mainly on extracts from his own Journal.

The work - lasting around fifty minutes - is scored for baritone, tenor, mezzo-soprano and soprano, with piano accompaniment throughout, and comprises solos, part singing and duets.  The work can be performed as a concert piece, score in hand, or staged if required.  There are sixteen musical settings (four of which are settings of poems by John Clare) that are linked by narrative, mainly through the warden of the Northampton Asylum who recounts Clare's story.  There are many opportunities for simple actions within the dialogue and songs.  Numbers taking part can be flexible, as many roles can be duplicated and part singing can involve as many as required; however, 'Clare's Journey' is written for a minimum of four singers (as detailed above) and a narrator.

This is an ideal vehicle through which to promote interest in John Clare in your area, in an entertaining and imaginative way.  Most amateur performances will be free of charge - full details will be sent with a copy of the score.

An inspection copy is available at £7.50 (USA dollars can be quoted) which includes p&p and a refundable charge of £5, on return of the score in a reasonable condition. Any number of copies of the score are available for rehearsals / performances at £7.50 each, under a similar arrangement. Contact Terence Deadman by email:, by telephone 01273-775729 or by post to 4, Alice Close, HOVE, East Sussex, BN3 1JH. Cheques should be made payable to Terence Deadman.


‘CLARE'S JOURNEY began (and ended) with 'The Seasons' ... a piece of music almost mediaeval, timeless, underlining Clare's own identification with rural Englishness.  The narrative of the suite takes us from his discovery by Stamford bookseller Edward Drury to his feting by literary society - and the fading of fame.  A major theme is Clare's naivety and vulnerability.  His own poetry is represented by settings of 'To Patty', 'Mary' and 'Childhood'. The final piece 'I Am', was poignantly set - at least one member of the audience viewed it through misted spectacles.'  Glenn Rose, The John Clare Society Newsletter, October, 2011

About the Authors

Terence Deadman studied piano and composition at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His main interest in composition is setting poetry, which has included Thomas Hardy and John Keats.

His particular interest has been the setting of the poetry of John Clare.  This led to three of his John Clare settings being studied at the International All Singing School held at Ardingly College in 2001.  In 2004, a CD of eight of Terence's John Clare settings, together with readings of Clare's poetry was recorded at St. John's Church, Smith Square, London, and at St. Botolph's Church, Helpston.  In 2008, the Peterborough Choral Society performed Terence's choral setting of 5 of Clare's poems at Thorney Abbey.  This work has also since been performed by Brighton Chamber Choir and The Watergap Singers in New Jersey.

Terence has also collaborated with American children’s writer Sandra Dutton.  He is a member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Trevor Harvey was born in London and has degrees from Sussex and Southampton Universities, and an LGSM in Drama.  He was a Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton and, over the past twenty years, individual examples of his short humorous verses have been included in nearly 200 anthologies and poetry books for children (Macmillan, Oxford, Scholastic, Puffin, etc.)  He has also worked with two other composers, Anthony Foster and Ian White, and has written the lyrics for a full-length musical, as well as writing one-act plays that have been performed at Arundel, Steyning and Brighton Festivals and by drama groups (Jasper Publishing).

Trevor has twice been one of the judges for New Writing South, for the best new play on the Brighton Festival Fringe, and is currently co-chair of the Sussex Playwrights' Club.