Sunday, 13 March 2016

SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS – Caves, Chaos, and International Women’s Day

Blimey O'Riley! It has been a super-busy week for me! I managed to book three events in three consecutive evenings this week, and I’ll tell you something: I am knackered!

On Monday night, I went down to the Orange Tree on Shakespeare Street, to take part in Too Deep for a Monday, a female centric evening of spoken word.

The evenings are hosted by Sarah Crutwell, and the event blurb says that they’re intended as a supportive and friendly space for people to express themselves creatively. That sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? And the nights are loosely based on issues that affect women, but all genders are welcome to attend and perform.

This time around, we listened to poetry from Afrah Yafai and Charlotte Hodkinson, and comedy courtesy of Helen Knott and Sarah Johnson. There were also some fantastic open mic performances, including poems about depression, female identity, street harassment, lost love, and even a piece about a women with antlers! We also got to hear a fantastic a cappella performance of ‘Dance with my Father’, which was absolutely beautiful.

Making a pretty weird face while doing poems

All in all, it was an absolutely lovely evening, and I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

Check out the Too Deep for a Monday facebook page for details, and I’ll see you down there on Monday 4th April!

Then, on Tuesday evening, I helped out at the Women Say… Stuff event at Rough Trade. The event was organised by some of the female members of the DIY Poets collective, to help celebrate International Women’s Day, and all the money collected on the night was donated to Nottingham Rape Crisis Centre, and POW Nottingham.

We were completely overwhelmed by how many people turned up to watch, with around one hundred poetry fans packed into the event space above Rough Trade. It felt very much like a form of organised chaos, and despite a couple of technical hiccups – including a wonky mic stand, and CD-based difficulties – our featured acts absolutely shone on the night!

Emteaz Hussain was first on stage, and her frank and funny monologues about growing up really resonated with the young audience. After Emteaz, we had a set from Michelle ‘Mother’ Hubbard, who really got the crowd going with warm and witty words about every topic under the sun, including a great poem about boobs!

Our final performer, Panya Banjoko, was absolutely marvellous. I really enjoyed her whole set, but her final poem, about her personal experience of racism at the hands of customs officers, really shocked me, and Panya conveyed her shocking treatment with incredible dignity. The imagery in that poem will stay with me for a long time.

We also had an open mic, but, due to the closing times of the venue, we were only able to squeeze in six of our twelve open mic participants, but those who did get a chance on stage were really inspiring. We had some really brave poems about the issues of emotional abuse and eating disorders, as well as powerful poems about identity and defiance.

In the end, we raised £251.58 for our charities, which is amazing!

Thanks to Lytisha, Hazel, Clare and Orla for all their wonderful organisation skills, and to Panya, Emteaz and Michelle for their wonderful performances. Thanks as well to everyone who attended, performed, and gave us some money towards these fantastic causes!

The DIY Ladies after a job well done!

There's a brilliant review of the show on the Left Lion website too!

Then, on Wednesday, we had the second ever Crosswords open mic night, in the sandstone caves underneath the Malt Cross.

This is steadily becoming one of my favourite events to host and promote. The location is just so cool, and the space is really suited to small, intimate gatherings, which makes the whole thing a real pleasure to organise.

This time around, we had an excellent crop of performers: Trevor, Ashley, Sam, Jeff, Jacob, Helen, Martin, James, Clare, T.C. and Steve. And, because we had fewer performers than usual, everyone got the chance to read a few more poems than usual, which was really nice.

Plus, we had a fab featured act in the form of Sez Thomasin, a gender-queer, autistic poet from Sheffield, who came all the way down to do some poetry for us. Their poetry was witty, fast-paced and engaging, while packing a huge punch on issues like misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and autism.

You can catch Sez on their website or on their youtube channel for more poetry goodness!

So yes, it definitely was a very busy week indeed.

Next week, I’ll be giving a poetry workshop at a school in Cambridgeshire, and I’m really looking forward to it! I’m planning to do a bit of sonnet writing with them – so we’ll see how that goes!


  1. Thankful to you for sharing this wonderful post here. I am a member of a women’s well fair organization and celebrated this year’s women’s day at a venue Houston. All had a great time in the event and was an amazing experience.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mark. The event you mention sounds brilliant!