Spoken Word Theatre: A Must-see at Glastonbury 2024

Spoken Word Theatre: A Must-see at Glastonbury 2024

Guest feature post by Poetry&Words blogger Lauren McNamara about this year’s new Spoken Word Theatre Shows at Glastonbury Festival

By Lauren McNamara
Poetry&Words Stage (2022) · Credit: Poetry&Words website

The Poetry& Words tent at Glastonbury features some of the must fun, innovative, inspiring, and challenging poetry sets you will find anywhere around the world. While a little lesser known, it also showcases some superb spoken word theatre shows.

My name is Lauren McNamara. I am a performer and the resident blogger at the Poetry& Words tent at this year’s Glastonbury festival. At Glastonbury 2022 I brought my Spoken word show ‘Hello My Name is Single’ to the Poetry& Words stage.

It was the experience of a lifetime and one of the best live crowds I have performed in front of. Spoken word theatre takes elements from poetry and storytelling and combines it with theatre and numerous different art forms to create something engaging, captivating, moving and a lot of time a lot of fun.

This year we have five different Spoken Word shows at the Poetry& Words Tent and they are going to be a festival highlight for anyone who gets to see them. Check out the shows below!

Naomi Wood – ‘Gobbess’
– Saturday 12:00

Gobbess Naomi Wood
Gobbess Naomi Wood

She doesn’t want to be a Goddess, she wants to be a Gobbess. This is a kaleidoscopic one-creature show, a story about creativity and identity, of queerness and self-expression in the social media age and why we should sometimes just embrace being rubbish.

Poetry and original spoken word combine across a backdrop of circus skills, to tell a tale of one person’s rage and becoming, of their search for lightness and depth, amongst creativity and cat-calling.

Gobbess is a personal, moving and funny story about learning to fully live and to embrace imperfection, following a cancer operation. The Gobbess herself learns to love people again through their weird habits, acerbically examines being a creative in a patriarchal society whilst climbing all over the furniture. She talks about queer identity as well as depression, anxiety and OCD, irreverently replaying rave stories and being left alone with your own thoughts during lockdown.

A superb and unique show which comes highly recommended!” – Brighton Rock Photography

Sam Danson ‘Bi-Topia’
– Saturday 19:10

Bi-Topia
Bi-Topia

BI-TOPIA is the debut five star show by the exciting, new northern writer and comedian, Sam Danson. Directed by the award-winning Rikki Beadle-Blair and listed at one of the top 10 things to see at Glastonbury 2024, BI-TOPIA is a ‘Must see, laugh-out-loud, and honest’ coming-of-age story, hilariously exploring the highs and lows of the Bisexual experience.

Join Sam; a self-confessed people-pleaser, in the war room as he embarks on his biggest mission yet. Shame is coming in from the west flank and gay thoughts are sailing in from the east… This is war!

BI-TOPIA challenges why LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health, and the awkward struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality when growing up in a military family.

‘Absolutely Brilliant!! Funny, moving… seamlessly performed, directed and written, just brilliant!’ -Sophie Willan, BAFTA winning writer/performer.

★★★★★ ‘Compelling storytelling’ – Reviews Hub

★★★★★ ‘Captivating and hilarious’ – Quays News

Black Liver ‘Miss Nobodies’
– Sunday 12:00
(Ruth Cockburn & Keith Carter)

As seen and heard on BBC R4, Sky and BBC1
‘Iconic’ Forgotten Arts Festival

Black Liver – ‘Miss Nobodies’

Ruth is from Blackpool. Keith is from Liverpool. They is Black Liver!

Formed during the Lockdown of 2020, Black Liver started as a few videos Keith and Ruth made for friends and family.

Cut to present day and Black Liver are a professional touring company; playing to sell out audiences with their shows ‘Miss Nobodies’ and ‘Support Your Local Library! A Gothic Pub Rock Opera’, headlining gigs on UK’s cabaret and spoken word circuit, writing and starring in BBC Radio 4’s ‘Where To Mate?’ and being commissioned to create bespoke songs, poems and stories for anyone that needs them.

They were nominated for Best Theatre Production at the Buxton Festival in 2022 for ‘Support Your Local Library! A Gothic Pub Rock Opera’. And Best Comedy Show in 2023 for ‘A Soirée of Black Liver’.

Joe Sellman-Leava and Dylan Howells – ‘It’s The Economy, Stupid!’
– Sunday 13:30
Directed by Katharina Reinthaller

Joe is an award-winning writer and performer, who grew up in Devon, on a diet of Star Wars, Beanos and Nintendo games! His solo shows – including Labels, Monster and Fanboy – combine performance poetry, storytelling, and innovative design, and have all toured nationally and internationally, including to Glastonbury Festival’s Poetry& Words stage. Joe likes to perform stories and poems where the personal meets the political, and heads and hearts collide.

It’s the Economy, Stupid is Joe’s latest collaboration with designer and performer Dylan Howells – a Linbury Prize finalist, based in Liverpool. Joe and Dylan previewed Fanboy at Poetry& Words in 2022, before its Edinburgh Fringe run, national tour, and transfers to Soho Theatre, VAULT Festival and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

It’s The Economy Stupid is produced by Worklight Theatre, and developed with and directed by internationally acclaimed director Katharina Reinthaller.

Sophia and Heleana Blackwell ‘Wife Material’
– Sunday 14:45

Wife Material
Wife Material

Through a blend of humour and spoken word, Wife Material throws a comedic lens on the lives of two women navigating love and marriage in a world that doesn’t always accept their relationship. Wife Material is a celebration of queer joy, chosen family and finding someone whose eccentricities are a match for yours.

Heleana Blackwell is a stand-up comedian and writer who has performed at top London nights such as The LOL Word and FOC it up. In January 2024 she recorded a 40-minute comedy show for FROOT TV.

Sophia Blackwell is a performance poet, radio and podcast host for Resonance FM and The Polari Podcast. She is the author of three collections of poetry, one novel and a guide to poetry and publishing from Bloomsbury.

Come join us and see not only these amazing shows but also a wide array of some of the best spoken-word artists nationally and internationally. Keep an eye on all the announcements at the Poetry& Words Blog poetryandwordsblog.wordpress.com

Poetry&Words 2024 Lineup Poster · Designed by Scotty Tyrrell
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