Poet Ian McMillan's tribute to Doncaster Darts art group - working with people from football fans to sex workers

One of Yorkshire's most famous poets has penned a tribute to mark the 30th anniversary of a well known town arts group.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:52 am

He may live just over the border, but the famous Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan has paid tribute to the Darts arts group, based at the Point Arts Centre, South Parade, with a verse titled Where Everybody Is.

The work is the first of what are expected to be a number of events to mark the anniversary of the formation of the group back in 1990.

Ian said he wanted to do something to mark the milestone, because he had been closely involved since its inception.

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Ian McMillan, at the first reading of his new poem to mark the Doncaster arts group's 30th anniversary

Performing the new poem at The Point for the first time to Darts workers, he recalled how he first worked with Darts before it moved into The Point, when its workers were based at a little space in Bentley. They asked him to come in and do some workshops.

He said: “One of the first things they asked me to do was football workshops, writing songs about football. I think it was at Belle Vue. It struck me that Darts seemed to be a great place to be.”

Ian is currently involved in two Darts projects, working with dementia patients in the town centre and with people with mental health problems, in Edlington.

He starts a third scheme at Mexborough Library in March.

Left to right Darts workers Dyzelle Sutherland, Victoria Ryves, Rick Bradbury, Bob Adams, poet Ian McMillan and Darts worker Sophie Regan, at the first reading of Ian's poem marking the 30th anniversary of the Doncaster arts group

But he said his favourite project was a scheme run to get sex workers creating art several years ago. He said: “It was working with a hard to reach group, and I admit I was apprehensive. We were working with people who did not make art of any kind. I was working with a sculptor called Bernie Rutter. But it was so great because everyone created amazing poems and stories. It was exactly the Darts ethos – showing people who don’t make art that they can make art.

“One day, I was double booked and had to be interviewed by Jimmy Young on the radio. I rushed out to the BBC studio in Doncaster Library, and then came back again. They didn’t believe me when I came back and said what I’d done.”

Ian McMillan, at the first reading of his new poem to mark the Doncaster arts group's 30th anniversary