Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Below is a copy of a preview I wrote for YorkMix for their website:

28th October, City Screen Basement, 7.30, £5

S.O.S. is the brainchild of Henry Raby (@HenryRabyPoetry) and Stu Freestone (@StuFreestone).  We both consider ourselves ‘performance poets’ which essentially boils down to the fact we gig a lot.  Together, we’re proud to present SAY OWT POETRY SLAM.

The rules of a poetry slam vary from place-to-place, but our version will give 15 poets 3 minutes each to perform a piece.  There will be 5 audience members tasked as judges who will give each poet a score out of 10.  This means that poets are in competition, albeit a friendly one.  The top 5 poets will then perform once more and the highest score from those will be named Say Owt Slam Champ!

The stakes are raised, the energy is upped, the performance is sharper and the poems are stronger.  It also hands agency to the audience, even if they’re not judging.  A well-timed whoop or extra loud clap can affect the judges’ decision.  It also means afterwards strangers will debate who was the best poet (“no, you’re wrong, that metaphor was ace”).

York is very rich in poets and writers, with regular nights like Speaking In Tongues, Spokes, The Spoken Word and Speaker’s Corner, plus York Literature Festival and the yearly night I run at York Theatre Royal, Words & Whippets.  Hopefully, Say Owt Slam will be a melting pot for these poets, with the raw heat of a competitive night.

The response has been incredible.  Within 12 hours all our slots were filled.  It will be a bit nerve-wracking, but mostly very fun. Most slammers are from York, but some are travelling from Harrogate, Newcastle, Leeds and Hull!

Mark Grist, Girls Who Read:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWwXJT4LA5A

We also hope to bring a headliner each slam well-versed in performance poetry.  For the first one, we’re incredibly excited to have Mark Grist.  Mark was a teacher who became part of the Peterborough rap scene.  Mark brought his gentlemanly, nerdy and traditional poetry style to the rap battle circuit, and proved a cult favourite.  One recording of a battle went viral on youtube, attracting 3 million views.  He’s also done Bestival, Latitude, Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds and a host of other UK festivals.

This is the first York slam for at least 3 years (as far as I’m aware), and we’re already looking at a date for the 2nd slam in January.  If you fancy having a go at the second slam, or want more info, email us sosyork@hotmail.com.  Also, this looks like selling out so make sure you grab a ticket asap here:  http://www.thebasementyork.co.uk/event/2235/

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