Greetings Readers. I have returned to the friendly familiar fold of the Mslexia blog for three months only.
Read all about it.
Some of you may remember me from a year of blogging as Mslexia‘s Literary It Girl (2010-2011). This time, instead of blogging about launches and literati parties, I shall be blogging about penning my first very own One Woman Show to take on the road, and hopefully to Edinburgh Festival.
I went to Edinburgh Festival for the first time this year where I performed a few poems at a friend’s fringe gig and crammed in seeing as many shows as I possibly could. I loved it. I want to go back. Living in Cardiff, although there is a thriving literary scene, there has been a lack of spoken word solo shows and of big names including a stop in Wales on their UK tours.
Old regulars include Seren’s monthly First Thursday poetry event which includes performances, readings and an open mic and the Dylan Thomas Centre’s Poets in the Bookshop on the last Thursday of the month in Swansea which has a similar format. The charming music and word collaboration In Chapters sees writers and musicians write new material on a theme and has been graced by authors Rachel Trezise, Catrin Dafydd, Dan Rhodes, Niall Griffiths, Rob Lewis and myself whilst the ever-popular late night The Crunch continues to be held at Mozart’s in Swansea. Newer editions include National Theatre Wales’ Word4Word and The Unemployed Daytime Disco in Cardiff and the Folk Collective in Newport. I also host two literary salons – Uplands Literary Salon at Noah’s Yard in Swansea and Cardiff Literary Salon at Cardiff Arts Institute which offer performances, readings and good literary conversation.
More recently the range of performers competing in the last John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry raised the game with two women taking the top prizes – my awesome mate Rhian Edwards won both the Final and the Audience Award whilst newcomer Naomi Alderson took second prize. Rhian Edward’s much-hyped first collection Clueless Dogs will be launched in May 2012. Alderson was also one of the performers at another excellent recent night – Literary Pecha Kucha, the poet Mab Jones’ regular event run in association with Literature Wales. During the event each speaker talks about 20 slides for 20 seconds a piece. Alderson joined T S Eliot prize winner Philip Gross and Saturday Live’s Susan Richardson for the event. You can see the videos on Literature Wales’ YouTube Channel.
As part of my research for putting together this one woman show I plan to travel about to see shows and gauge audiences across the country. I have been impressed by Sophie McKeand’s experimental spoken word event The Absurd in Mold, and also hope to get up to Manchester and Liverpool as well as West Wales, Bristol and Bath. Improved last train times have meant I’ve been able to enjoy events at Bristol’s Old Vic including the excellent recent festival Ferment that nurtures new shows and new talent. I particularly enjoyed a double bill of spoken word works-in-progress – there was comedy and singing and insightful musings on mental health from rising star Jack Dean (‘Rain’) and then a layered and haunting triptych of sound pieces that make up ‘Prosthetics’ by the vocally inventive Hannah Silva; who proved comedy is not essential to hold an audience’s attention.
I also plan to grab top tips from industry experts on voice, learning lines, booking venues, nerves, costumes, props, sets and all manner of other things that come up along the way. Later this month I shall be attending the Edinburgh Fringe Roadshow in London to see what advice they have for me. I am supporting Luke Wright at the aforementioned The Absurd in Mold on 27 March where I shall be showcasing some of the new material, and following that I will be putting together a show reel film and a promo website to send off to festivals and venues to try and get some gigs. I’ll be blogging about the highs and lows and the top tips I find here.