I am delighted to share this interview with Sarah Dixon, The Quiet Compere. Ever since I caught the Birmingham leg of the tour last year I have wanted to post an interview with her on the blog – and wishes DO come true, you have known that since my first jump, right?
I asked her all about The QC – her Arts Council funded project, now in its 2nd year with a possible 3rd year ahead.
It is an inspiring interview and I always feel we can all learn a lot from people who are already out there doing it (Art/ Creativity/ Poetry) – so here is the gold-dust!
The Quiet Compere National Tour 2015 – Stop 6
@ The Hive, Worcester
Featuring: The Quiet Compere, Mike Alma, Catherine Crosswell, Myfanwy Fox, Hayley Frances, Jasmine Gardosi, Neil Laurenson, Nina Lewis, Adrian Mealing, Carl Sealeaf, Claire Walker
TICKETS FOR THE WORCESTER TOUR (FRI 10th July) ARE NEARLY ALL SOLD OUT -£5 Book here;
Or you can book directly with the venue;
Fri 10th July at 7:00pm
© 2014 thehiveworcsorg
Bringing people back together. I have overheard conversations that start “I haven’t seen you for years, loved hearing your new stuff…” hoping this might rebuild some poetry bonds and new friendships and connections might be forged and old ones rekindled. This adds a bit of romance to the tour 🙂
I am presently pulling threads together in an attempt to get a bid in for next year – the final and third Quiet Compere tour – 2016 – the places she missed.
Possibly to set up a quarterly Manchester poetry writing day as I feel there is a demand for this.
The sells-out gigs. The more unusual venues this year – The Old Cinema Laundrette in Durham, The Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Oxford. The venues provide a different backdrop and a more intimate and cosy feel to them than a pub room or a featurelss arts centre space. The venue in Ulverston a week ago had striking curtains. I enjoy anything that links the photos to a place rather than the ‘could be anywhere’ feel.
Why 10 minutes? I found the leap between 2-4 minute open mic to full 15-30 minute guest spots was massive and the longer slots terrified me. At open mic nights I often wanted to hear more pieces by each poet (and found that as I was settling into someone’s style the night shifted and another poet took to the stage. My local night now has 3 guest spots and 5 support poet spots (6 mins each). I changed the format because I wanted to be able to charge a door fee and pay guests with a drink and a 6 minute spot for one guest if they want. None of the performers pay an entrance fee.
Why 10 poets? I think the attention span of a poetry audience starts to wane around two hours in (with a short break) and 10 x 10 had a ring to it.
I have learnt a lot about Press releases, interviews and how to use Twitter.
I have learnt the value of a colour-coded spreadsheet can also be applied to poetry tours – not romantic, but true. Running the tour has meant I have had more time to write, submit, polish and run workshops and attend workshops as I can carry out the tour admin in my own time.
I have become strict with myself about time-keeping and not spending too much time woffling on Facebook.
- Worcester 10th July – next Friday – Almost on us. Advance ticket sales going well.
- Hull 4th Sept and Exeter 12th Sept are both at the point of sending flyer details to designer and printer.
- Camden, Hackney and Norwich – I will be confirming the poets for these events in the next 6 weeks.
- Cheltenham is the final gig of this year and is the night before the stunning Medicine Unboxed Conference curated by Samiir Guglani. This year’s theme is Mortality.
Being away from home is… lonely, strange and scary.
b) Approach local councils for match-funding. possibly easier after first project when you have a track record.
c) Detail is important. Keeping poets/venues/funding bodies informed at all times.
d) Thank the people who are part of your project as cohosts, venue teams, performers, poets who help promote and thank them personally not in an impersonal message. Let them know you listen and take notes so you can thank them with a few lines of poetry you enjoyed or a particular touch that made the venue unique and memorable.
e) Detail is key to building reputation and brand.
b) I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of press releases and interviews to the get the tour info out there.
c) I find typing up the blogs boring, but necessary.
d) You can’t thank people too much. Thank them on the night. Follow this up with email or message.
e) Remind poets to stick to time at the point you send running order out (7-10 days before).
f) PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE.
I am presently reading books on an 18th century cholera epidemic and The Black Death and epidemiology and real life murder books fascinate me. Yes, the weird and the dark again.
Poets: My favourite performers at the moment are Clare Shaw (I love her delivery style, her themes and the words she chooses) and Rose Condo (who I saw win a Manchester Poetry Slam final in 2014 by taking us with her into a story and weaving words around us rather than firing them at us – this was my first slam (as audience member) and I didn’t know what to expect). The list changes every week. I discovered Brian Patten in the last year and love his stuff.
At present I need to thank four more poets from last week’s Ulverston gig and I put the piece of paper with notes of their lines down when distracted by a thunderstorm last week. One of my jobs this week is to find this and thank these poets.
I am in the middle of a last promotion push for Worcester in 5 days time and going to send out the running order either tonight or tomorrow.
I am trying to confirm a last couple of poets for Exeter and Hull and getting the flyers to printer hopefully in time to take them to a 52 poetry picnic on Saturday 11th July, as a lot of the Exeter crew will be there. 🙂
MANY THANKS TO YOU Sarah for taking the time for this interview, I cannot wait to see you and the other 9 QC poets on Friday and GOOD LUCK with the rest of the tour!