Sunday, 8 June 2014

SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS - Fen Speak at Strawberry Fair

This week, we had the pleasure of taking seven of our Fen Speak open mic performers on the road, heading out of the safety of the Fens to visit Midsummer Common in Cambridge, and take part in this year's Strawberry Fair.

We were delighted to be given an hour-long performance slot on the Wild Strawberries stage, and our Open Mic-ers really rose to the occasion!

Dominic O'Sullivan
Dominic O'Sullivan kicked things off with some of his fantastic satirical poetry, taking a wry swipe at local government in his home city of Ely. He was even brave enough to have a little dig at Cambridge University in one of his poems, but the audience took it in good spirits!

St Ives' Poet Laureate Chris Morgan joined us next with a fantastic ecological poem, and a great, energetic performance! He was followed by William Alderson, whose delicate, lyrical poetry is always a joy to hear.

Lowen Warrington gave us some wonderful Vogon Poetry and really enthused the crowd by asking them to boo and hiss after each poem, rather than applaud.

There was also a short set from our current Fenland Poet Laureate, Poppy Kleiser, who created such vivid imagery in her poem 'digging' that the audience did a little gasp at the end, before bursting into applause.

Ashley Fox
The call and response poem that Ashley Fox performed, in which she spoke candidly about an experience of sexual assault, was incredibly moving, and her performance was as confident and sure-footed as ever I have seen.

Finally we heard from Meg Burrows, a poet, singer and songwriter who joined us at the very last minute, dashing up the A12 from her home town of Ipswich. And I was very glad that she was able to make it, because her poetry was fantastic!

My lovely co-host Elaine Ewart also performed a few of her poems as part of the Fen Speak take over, and I always enjoy hearing her poetry read aloud. She looked amazing too, in a very fancy dress and bustier, with a brilliant blonde wig! I felt a little under-done in my frock and fairy wings!

Elaine Ewart - looking a little different

Thank you to all of our wonderful performers and to everyone who came along to support Fen Speak on the day. Thanks also to Fay Roberts from Allographic and Wes Freeman-Smith from Shindig for allowing us to crash the Wild Strawberries Stage!

Our Fen Speak Performers

But it wasn't all about Fen Speak! There was music and poetry on the Wild Strawberries stage all day! I managed to catch excellent spoken word sets from Nikki Marrone, Jody Lee, Hannah Chutzpah, Elaine Ewart, Justina Kehinde, Rychard Carrington, Tim Knight, and Paul Eccentric, as well as great music from Mouth, Moth Conspiracy, Hamza Beg and Daniel Moore.

I also performed a few of my own poems and I got a very warm response from the crowd. I even managed to do a couple of poems from memory, including one that I've been learning for my next Poetry Slam competition at the end of this month, so I was really chuffed with that.

Photographs courtesy of J.S. Watts

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