Lara Kirsten is a pianist and performance poet. She balances the strict discipline of the art music with the writing and performance of her own poetry in Afrikaans and English. On occasion she combines her poetry with movement, visual art, photography and music.
In August 2007 she made her debut as a performance poet with the one-woman piece Ingrid Jonker Dans Weer. She performed her first extensive installation art and poetry piece, Frames, at the Fook Festival in Somerset-East in 2008. This work consisted of eight poems which were performed in eight different rooms with dialoguing installation art, costume and movement. In 2009 she made her debut in The Netherlands in the show Op het Punt van Aanraken (featuring music improvised by Francois le Roux, photography by Carmen Gonzalez and poems written and performed by Lara). In 2009 she was commissioned to write and perform poetry for the 60th Anniversary of the Voortrekker Monument Pretoria, taking a strong view on what it is to be an Afrikaner today. In September of 2010 and 2011 she had the privilege to perform as pianist and poet in the Baxter concert hall in Cape Town. In 2012 a highlight was performing in the Guy Butler theatre at The Settler’s Monument in Grahamstown. She has been invited to write and perform poetry for part of the opening ceremony for the International Aquarium Congress hosted at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) in September 2012. From 2010 to 2012 Lara has conceived and performed one-woman poetry happenings at the annual AfrikaBurn festival hosted in the Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape.In 2014 she was invited to perform as pianist and poet at the McGregor Poetry Festival. Since 2009 Lara has performed as featured poet at the Off the Wall poetry sessions in Observatory, Cape Town.
Since 2007 Lara’s poetry has been published in various editions of the South African Literary Journal New Contrast. In 2008 she became part of the Eastern Cape poet-group, Ecca, who presents readings and publishes collectively each year.
For more on Lara’s music career, poetry, photos and creative projects please visit her blog at http://laraafrika.blogspot.com/