Category Archives: Storytelling

Chapel Lates Cheltenham

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Chapel arts

I thoroughly enjoyed this event organised by Anna Saunders as part of Cheltenham Music Festival. I liked the idea of starting late, it certainly makes arriving on time easier!

Chapel Arts is an amazing renovated Baptist Chapel. The gallery space has been organised flexibly to allow for various events. chapel-arts-cheltenham-logo

Arriving early gave me a chance to have a good look around.

The space was set up perfectly for Poetry and complete with pews. The tables had fairy lights in vases, there was a bar and plenty of seating.

table

There was a good number of people who turned up for this FREE night of poetic entertainment and I daresay for the Headliners: Tyler Keevil and Bohdan Piasecki. I know that Bohdan does not perform as often as anyone would like him too (although he performs internationally & at Festivals), when there is a rare chance to enjoy the man in action it causes quite a stir. Having missed his final Hit the Ode as MC for Apples & Snakes, it was good to catch up.

 

Cheltenham-Music-Festival-1Tyler Keevil started the evening. Tyler Keevil is a novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer from Vancouver, Canada.  He is the author of three award-winning books: FireballThe Drive, and Burrard Inlet.

I know that performing at Spoken Word events falls slightly outside of his comfort zone, but anyone not privy to this would never have guessed. It is hard reading lengthy extracts and flash fiction, I have tried it! It was a captivating set and I could have listened for longer. Check out his website in related links.

There were lots of booked Open Mic-ers, the standard was high (which did not surprise me having attended the Cheltenham Poetry Festival and other events in the town), I know this to be a place of talent. We all missed the memo about it being a music themed evening, had I been on later I may have changed my set. There is one poem in Fragile Houses that I rarely perform which is really about something other than music but is all about music above the sub-text.

However, I had timed my set and knowing there were a number of readers was hesitant to make changes. My final poem fitted the theme and once I realised that none of us had realised there was a theme, I felt better.

Other performers included: Annie Ellis, Belinda Rimmer, John G., Dan Cooper, Neil Richards, Peter McDade, James Cornish in the first half.

I took the photos on my camera until the batteries let me down and will add these when I have uploaded them.

Poems which have stayed with me include Annie’s Young Deer poem, Belinda’s poem about the news story teenage boys protest about No Shorts policy by wearing skirts*, John performed an incredibly moving poem about carers, ‘Bricks’, Dan was unique with a mix between song lyrics and styles ‘I Hate Sunday Nights’ was amusing and entertaining, Neil performed his Grenfell poem and delivered a powerful set, Peter’s translated vocabulary super model poem hit all the funny buttons – he likes playing with language and dialect/ accents, I also enjoyed his ‘Everything is a Festival in Cheltenham’ – made more amusing by the fact that we were part of the Music Festival organised by Anna who is the founder and Leader of the Poetry Festival. James

James Cornish

James completed the first half opening with the confession he had consumed an espresso, red wine and gin to calm his pre-performance nerves AND he still managed to get all the words out! I remember the lines… ‘It’s all gone a bit Spike Milligan… what are you going to do now? Aerobics?’ his work was suitably dark.

After the interval we heard a set from Willis the Poet (a.k.a Rick Sanders) followed by the next Headliner, Bohdan Piasecki.

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Rick Sanders/ Willis the Poet

I always enjoy Rick’s sets and delight in a new audience discovering the humour bound in his collection of notebooks. Especially his fake commissions, an idea I like to remember as being conceived at Wolverhampton Arts Festival in my very presence! His Cheltenham SPAR poem deserves a mention too.

chapel arts

Bohdan’s set was incredibly moving and sparked lots of ideas that I needed to scribble into my notebook. He is a dynamic performer who plays with language and manages to stretch emotions. Nursing our hearts with his gentle humour between poems. Grounding us once more.

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Bohdan Piasecki

Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems to venues ranging from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Rep, from an underground Tokyo club to a tramway in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio 3 and 4. In the UK, he regularly features at the country’s most exciting spoken word nights, festivals, and readings. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events.

He’s completed three international tours (with stops in over twenty countries and counting); working with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project to engage people living with dementia; devising and delivering Palimpsest City, an ACE-funded live/digital spoken word show; and writing for the Spalding Suite dance/theatre/basketball crossover show produced by Fuel.

bohdanP

Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a doctorate in poetry translation theory. He works as a Lead Tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective in London and Bellows Poetry Collective in Birmingham. Bohdan worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University, and since 2012 has been a regular Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He also holds the post of Midlands Producer for Apples and Snakes, England’s leading spoken word organisation.

A busy man who has a lot of time for performers.

x chris

Chris Hemmingway

The evening was concluded with a few more open mic-ers: Chris Hemmingway, Fran Smith, Jonny Precious, Rod Griffiths and finished with Chloe the Storyteller outside the chapel in the graveyard.

Fran Smith

Fran Smith

Chris performed his political Gove Cam poem, Fran is a healer and she treated us to some poetry spiritual in nature, Jonny performed a moving poem about a letter sent home from a soldier

xjonny

Jonny Precious

and Rod performed an amusing story about a serial killer. The punchline of which recently resurfaced in my head.

x rod2

Rod Griffiths

Chloe the Storyteller was dramatic, her story was spooky… chilling in fact, which set me up for the drive home alone!

Thanks, Anna for such a fantastic evening!

x anna

Anna Saunders


RELATED LINKS:

http://www.tylerkeevil.com/

http://www.thechapelarts.com/

* https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/teenage-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-protest-no-shorts-uniform-policy

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Word Up, KAF Mouth & Music & 42

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The end of August saw a flurry of open mic events in Birmingham, Kidderminster and Worcester.

WORD UP 21st August

Word Up, Coffee Lounge, Birmingham: hosted a special I Am Not a Silent Poet event with Reuben Woolley, Marcia Calame and Jess Davies headling. The nature of our poems fitted into serious, often unperformed pieces which tackled big issues, which is the voice of Reuben’s online publication I Am Not A Silent Poet, protest, exposure.

word up

My set consisted of the poems he published earlier this year https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/ and some others that I shy away from performing.

It was a great night hosted by Jasmine Gardosi.

All photographs © Reuben Woolley 2015 – there were more performers who I haven’t shared photos of, apologises to them.

word up andrew fellows reuben Word Up Jodie Rose McLoughlin Reuben word up louise hart reuben word up reuben 2 Word Up Reuben 3 word up bernard reuben word up jess reuben Word Up Marcia Calame reuben word up me reuben word up reuben word up vlad reuben

Word Up 1Reuben After the event we went to the pub for a catch up, which was great because there is never enough time to talk to people at events and Reuben lives in Spain and only comes back to the Midlands for August. He was a national tour this year too, gigs up and down the country. I hope he is now having a rest!

 

MOUTH & MUSIC KAF Special – Slightly Circus 23rd August

MOUTH & MUSIC, Boars Head Gallery, Kidderminster:

KAF 2015

This event was originally in the open air/marquee positioned close to the main stage and the closed street of the festival. However, the weather left us with no option but to retreat into the Boars Head Gallery – which is always a great space to perform in I think. The bands were on downstairs and it felt exciting and intimate. There was optional fancy dress and I am so glad other people entered into the spirit of it.

© PTR Art & Design 2015

© PTR Art & Design 2015

I had researched my clown make up but sadly on the day I was too hot getting ready and the white base wouldn’t cover my skin – in the end this was a godsend really as Maggie Doyle and I ran from the car park to venue – me losing half my wrapping paper patches which were all over my PJs/trousers and most of my make up ran too. So imagine the carnage of a white base face!

© Heather Wastie 2015

© Heather Wastie 2015

The event was as exciting as dressing up. Headlined by Amy Rainbow and her wonderfully talent son, Merlin – who in spite of the small performance area, wowed the audience with his amazing Hula Hoopla skills.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

Dave Reeves was also headlining and performed a fantastic, enthusiastic set with Heather Wastie.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

It was lovely to perform as part of KAF (Kidderminster Arts Festival) for the 2nd time and good that this event attracted performers who had not previously attended Mouth & Music.

It was a lovely afternoon. Photo credits to Peter Williams, who also performed, treating us to a couple of songs.

MM Holly pwMM mag pwMM me PWMM polly PWMM mike pwMM heather dave PW The event was hosted by the wonderful Ringmaster, Sarah Tamar.

MM Maggie sarah Tamar PW

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/13576317.Kidderminster_s_Mouth_and_Music_goes_circus_crazy_for_one_month_only/

https://mouthandmusic.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/august-review/

42

42, Drummonds, Worcester: Hosted by Andrew Owens

I am delighted that 42 is pulling in such a wide audience and huge collective of poets and writers. It is always an exciting event and recently the list of performers has increased dramatically. The theme was ‘Altered States’ which was more open to interpretation than other themes and produced a varied feast of stories, storytelling and poems. It was a fantastic night, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

42

42 was my final event/open mic of the month.

Performers included;

Alison May
Myfanwy Fox
Suz Winspear
Sharon Carr
Andrew Owens
Polly Robinson
Dayna Norton
Nina Lewis
Kevin Brooke
Brian Comber
Timothy Stavert
David Harvard
Kieran Davis
Chardonnay Jade
Dan Hurrell
Liam Cortinias

 

Malvern Book Promoters – MAD MARCH Book Promotion Events

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Mad Malvern Book Promotion

I was asked in back in January to take part in this event, organised by Jill Peer.

MAD Malvern Book Promo Jill Peers 11 MAD MARCH events organised all over the beautiful tourist destination of Malvern, designed to promote local writers and their books. Many of the events were during the week and I hoped to get to some at the Cake Tin Cafe in The Cube, but work bookings came in thick and fast and I was practically working full time. I plumped for a weekend event, due to roadworks and unlit roads (and being a nervous driver) I went to the daytime event in the Lyttleton Rooms, before moving onto The Hive, in Worcester, to work with the Young writer Group (Writing West Midlands).

The events started on the 3rd March and I am in awe of Jill’s organisational skills in pulling this schedule off.

MAD malvern Book Promo

Tues 3rd March – Zinnia (shoe shop) Live Music

Tues 3rd March – Forget Me Not (Florists) – Live music, spoken word -Floral/Love

Tues 10th March, Cafe H20 Wyche Innovation Centre, (Malvern Hills Geo Centre) – Live music, spoken word -Getting Around

Thurs 12th March – Foley Arms – Live Music, spoken word Life, Mums and Health & a Healing area

Fri 13th March, Cafe H20 Wyche Innovation Centre, (Malvern Hills Geo Centre) – For the KIDS – Word & Songs, Storytelling, puppets, poems & tales

Sat 14th March, Lyttleton Rooms – Spring Craft Fair – Live music, spoken word -Springtime (the event I performed at) ^

Weds 18th March, The cake Tin Cafe, The Cube – Live Music, fun, Lifestyle

Sat 14th & Weds 18th March, Rachel’s Cowleigh Gallery – Live Music/ Mother’s Day/ Love

Thurs 19th March, The Beacon Dentist (not the name of a pub – an actual Dentists) – Spoken Word/ Music – Mum’s/ Springtime

Tues 24th March, The Malvern Book Co-operative Shop – Live Music, Books, Springtime

MAD Malvern

It was great fun! I love looking for more unusual events. I also enjoy craft fairs, so it really was perfect to perform at the Lyttleton Rooms Craft Fair. I enjoyed it very much.

Thanks for inviting me to participate Jill.

For more information on the local authors and the books promoted follow the link it should let you read the events page even if you haven’t got an account.

Bridge the Gap – an Intergenerational Tea Party

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Last Wednesday (20th) I went out for a morning on the canal in Birmingham as part of an event organised by Beatfreeks and Aysha Begum (OXJAM Slam Poet winner). The plan is to roll out monthly evening events with poetry that bring different generations together. The whole concept of the event was Aysha Begum’s and Jaden Larker and Matt Windle were particularly excited to see the idea come to fruition, having both been around at the conception.

I didn’t know what to expect other than my ticket included a 3 hour canal journey, workshop, poetry, a chance of performing and free tea/coffee and cakes. A perfect morning if you ask me. I love getting involved with performance and projects that are a little outside the box of a café or pub open mic, events outside that remit challenge you with new experiences and you get to see how your work/ writing can work on different levels.

aysha begum bridge the gap

I managed to get to the meeting point and was happy to see some familiar faces, including Beatfreek poets, Matt Windle, Jordan Ashley Ann Garvey and Jasmine Gardosi. We all boarded the boat and were greeted with a story from Jaden Larker (Seasick Fist), a Beatfreek poet. He then encouraged us to use the workshop time to mingle with people we didn’t know and the older people. Many people moved seats and as Matt, Jordan and I had sat near the top end by the time we were able to get up to move – there was nowhere to move to. Part of me felt guilty about not taking this opportunity to share stories with the older generation. I think I became the older generation for Jordan and Matt.

It was great though because Jordan and I hardly knew each other and although I have seen Matt perform often and he always has time for a chat, there is still limited time and topics at a poetry event – whereas on this boat we were being encouraged to raid our own past for stories.

The ticket cost covered refreshments and during this part of the voyage the team waited sandwiches, wraps, samosas and other nibbles to each table. We had tea and coffee from the bar (alcohol was available) and thoroughly enjoyed a good natter.

Later on we were treated to performances by Aysha Begum and Amerah Saleh – both poets I have seen in action at various events, both are Beatfreeks and both did well to raise their voices over the engine of the canal boat.

Then after some more cake and nibbles the Open Mic started – I bet we were all glad of the organisational decision to split the boat/ audience in half as the engine was still hard to hear over.

I enjoyed being exposed to poetry from poets who had joined the academy a week beforehand, there were performers I hadn’t seen before and some I had. It was great fun joining in. There was also time after the performances before the poets swapped over for a quick Q & A …. it is all too easy to forget how magical our world is to people who don’t write.

It was a fantastic event – if you are local enough to the Midlands, UK – look out for more of these!

 

 

Drummonds 42 – Elves, Pixies, Witches and Warlocks

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I wrote a piece especially for 42 this month, it was a bit of a rush because I spent the morning dealing with car insurance and the afternoon washing my car (caked in mud from River Cottage) before its MOT. 42

I tried to stick to the theme, wrote a very short fairy poem and then after researching got side-tracked by folklore. I became engrossed in discovering new knowledge of stories, traditions and superstition.

42 may

I started by trying to write a poem, it turned into prose and ended up a narrative poem. I was unsure about performing it as it is the first draft, but feedback was positive and it was an enjoyable experience.

I had a great night – quite a few poets turned their hands to prose and there were people who haven’t been for a while – it was good to see a mixed crowd and a bigger audience.

Then at the end of the night I was told that Sue Thompson (who was at Andrew Owens’s book launch) had posted her final artwork online, I couldn’t wait to check it out, I was sitting at her table so was lucky enough to see some preliminary sketches. They are great – look out for them on a new post.

The next 42 is a Worcester LitFest special and I am happy to have one of the eight floor spots. WLF&F logo concepts

Abstract Elements Photographic Exhibition – Photogiraffe

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abstract najma

A great night at Najma Hush’s, a.k.a. Photogiraffe, exhibition. As with her other shows she invited performers and created a spectacle to match the amazing artistic talent hanging on the wall!

As with her other work the photographs exhibited were thought provoking. The Abstract Elements collection was compiled by just 5 pictures, Some Kind of Blue was exhibited too, which I was excited about as this was the 1st in the present exhibitions and it made a full circle back to the start. I hadn’t seen these in real life, I had only just started back on my creative poetry path back in the Autumn, when she launched this exhibition and knew nothing of Najma or her talent.

Najma invited other performers to write material based on the same theme as her exhibition. This was the first one I have taken part in where I didn’t use the actual photos to write from. I used the elements themselves.

There was so much talent and a mix of storytelling, poetry, music, performance art and humour, mostly performers stuck to the brief and wrote thematic material exploring the 5 elements.

AE1

AE3

AE4

AE6

AE8

AE5

AE9

AE10

We were in the Warehouse Cafe in Digbeth, Birmingham, a friendly atmosphere & superb food! For a small charge we were all treated to a buffet of vegan / vegetarian cuisine, the food was good and the atmosphere relaxed.

 

Abstract Elements A beautiful video Najma has created showing her latest collection on the 5 elements. Read her own review of the exhibition here PhotogiraffeLive Opening

I had great fun performing my set with Tim Scarborough on percussion, people were positive with their feedback and many thought it was a well established collaboration. This was only the 2nd time we have performed together, although we have more in the pipeline. I am only performing twice next week (from choice, I need a bit of balance), both performances will be with Tim, one new set and one we have performed before (2nd time around).

 AE7

 

Saints, Sinners & Fools – Pigeon Park Press

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Last Wednesday night I skipped my usual performance/ Spoken Word night at 42 for a one off event in Birmingham – I say one off – Pigeon Park Press organise about 4 of these evenings a year. Open Mic to share stories, poetry, music and even an extract from a play.

pigeon park press The event took place downstairs at 6/8 Kafe, I took a few shots (which I still need to upload) so I am using other people’s photos – with credit to give you a flavour of the event.

What was nice about this event was that there were some new to me writers to sit and listen too.

I missed the Winter Stories event so I was flattered when Heidi Goody invited me to this event.

pigeon park press1 I had a great night and some fabulous feedback!

Thanks everyone.

End of the Month Review – February

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It has been another great month, busy, busy, busy!
Some events were managed and some were missed, the same goes for written submissions. I had fun though and that’s the main thing. waffle

•Blogging
We have 638 followers – that’s 33 more followers, thanks to all of you who have joined this month.
I have left contact cards on my library display and look forward to seeing if we have any extra traffic on the back of those.

Projects

I have continued Jo Bell’s 52 – write a poem a week and just keep going – I missed posting on time this past week, but have since written the poem ready, there are a few people who post late, I will try not to do it again.

Jo Bell’s 52 – which you can join up for and/or dip into throughout the year. Many people I know have now taken up the challenge based on the great things they have heard.

Fancy writing weekly poems this year? Get involved HERE
•Submissions

Wenlock Poetry for Shop Displays

  • Published

I had a poem published online.
Writing

I have produced lots of new poems this month, the folder is filling up well.
Performing Poetry

I missed a lot of events this month for a variety of reasons, I managed about 2 a week though, so that’s still good going.

Word Up Birmingham

Sunday Xpress Birmingham

Diverse dancers Exhibition – Performing Dance Poetry on the Opening Night

Hit the Ode (the BIG ONE!) Birmingham

Poetry for Lunch – The Library of Birmingham

Mouth and Music – Kidderminster

Laura Yates was the headliner and I met and saw Lorna Meehan perform for the first time. Both these women are in Decadent Divas and I can’t wait for next month in Malvern, where they are all performing together.

Confab Cabaret Malvern

KAF Creatives Relaunch – Kidderminster – Gallery Exhibition – 6 performers AND beer tokens – my first gig where there was token payment.

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

I missed several events – Poetry Alight in Lichfield, where my friend Michelle Crosbie had her Debut performance as a headliner, alongside Jo Bell and Matt Merritt, due to distance and work.

I missed Drummonds 42 last Wednesday as that was the first night with our American relatives.

I missed Stanza as I was performing at Diverse Dancing that evening.

I missed Poetry Jam, due to tiredness.

I missed Buzzwords in Cheltenham due to weather, floods and closed roads.

I missed SpeakEasy in Worcester due to Mr G’s birthday.

I also attempted to learn poetry off by heart for my set at Hit the Ode – I discovered I am a Page Poet rather than a Stage Poet at the moment.
Events

Library Display of ‘The Fourth Wall’ for Local Arts Network

I also saw Cat Weatherill perform at a storytelling event, Hungry Hearts. It was a great night out.
•A Writing Life

My Writing West Midlands job started. I had my first day at being an Assistant Writer at The Hive in Worcester. It was great fun and something I am looking forward to building on.hive3

 

 

 

 

I also celebrated Valentine’s Day, Mr G’s birthday, my younger brother’s birthday and Mr G’s goddaughter’s birthday and I SOLD my apartment! I also got back into reading and managed about 3 books this month. Including – Jasmine Somers Makes Amends, by local writer Amy Rainbow. Look out for the review – COMING SOON.

Hungry Heart Storytelling

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Last night I missed Buzzwords in Cheltenham, after last month’s aqua-planing experience I decided not to risk the journey, ironically the weather was much better than before.

Then I had a surprise phone-call and was invited out. Over in a village that I used to live in, 11 of us met us to watch this performance of Hungry Heart, which was story-telling from Italy with a seductive edge by Europe’s leading performance story-teller and MC of Tell Me On A Sunday at the Ikon, Cat Weatherill. catweatherillcouk

It was a superb show and a great night. I was delighted to meet her after the show and talked to her about Tell Me On a Sunday. It is something I may try one day, watch this space!