Blahblahblah: Zia Ahmed, Maria Ferguson and Kareem Brown

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Roundhouse slam champion and Channel 4 playwright in residence Zia Ahmed steps onto the Blah podium to share his linguistic dynamism alongside Maria Ferguson‘s (Fat Girls Don’t Dance) unique blend of theatre, storytelling and killer moves. Sharing the stage is Barbican’s Young Poet Kareem Brown, known for his hard-hitting combo of challenging wordplay and stylistic sensitivity.

Blahblahblah: Ben Norris, Bridget Minamore and Jonny Fluffy-Punk

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UK All-Star Poetry Slam Champion Ben Norris (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Family) heads up the April Blah line-up with his charismatic presence and complex, emotional verse. Joined by Bristol favourite Jonny Fluffypunk with his funny, absurd and oddly moving performance, accompanied by the profound poetry of British-Ghanian writer Bridget Minamore, this riotous round Blah is one you’d be a fool to miss!

Rob Auton: The Hair Show

A show for anyone who has, or has had, hair and hairs.

Award-winning stand-up comedian and poet Rob Auton (Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe award-winner, Glastonbury’s Poet In Residence) returns with another heart-felt and offbeat comedy/theatre/spoken word show that explores hair and hairs.

Rob casts an introspective eye over the world of hair, underpinned by leaving his head hair and beard to their own devices until he has performed The Hair Show for the final time. Join Rob as he explores the importance of appearance and how people react to someone who looks like he has checked out.

For the past six years Rob has used his command of words and distinctive unconventional humour to explore seemingly mundane subjects: sleep, water, faces, the sky and the colour yellow. These shows have given rise to a cult status at the Edinburgh Fringe. His unique world view has been acknowledged through being shortlisted for the prestigious Spoken Word Award by the Arts Foundation, receiving a Best Short Film nomination for the The Peamaster, which he co-wrote and starred in, at the Milan Film Festival.

★★★★ The List
★★★★ Fest
★★★★ Three Weeks
★★★★ Broadway Baby
★★★★ Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
★★★★ Darkchat
★★★★ Fresh Fringe

“A genuine original.”
The Guardian

“One of my absolute favourites.”
Daniel Kitson

“Charming, eccentric and uplifting, Auton is a talent to watch.”
Independent

“His delicate turn of phrase is a delight to hear and he has a truly unique voice, which, among the hundreds of acts at the Fringe, is no mean feat.”
British Comedy Guide

“If you’re new to his work, The Hair Show is an excellent start. It’s a warm, wonderful hour that proves there’s no one quite like him.”
The List

“An engaging and, above all, highly original show.”
Edinburgh Festival Magazine

“The Hair Show is delightful, funny and unique, and underlines Auton’s talent.”
Chortle

Sexy

‘Oi, you. Sentient flesh owner.
I have some questions for you.
Do you think you’re sexy?
What do you find sexy?
What does sexy even mean?’

As a young woman who loves poetry, smashing the patriarchy and a well timed slut drop, this has been a question that has plagued Vanessa her whole life.

Sexy uses truthful wit and clever verse to explore our conflicted relationship with our bodies and sexiness, exploring our obsession with what is sexy through comedy, spoken word, dance and various states of undress.

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer, performer, burlesque artists and general empress of blag, based in Bristol. Vanessa has won several slam titles including the Hammer and Tongue National Slam and Roundhouse Poetry Slam. She has performed at an array of festivals, including Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party and has been invited to support the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Kate Tempest, Dizraeli and David J. You may have seen her ‘alter ego’ Shonda Rhymes, smashing the patriarchy through the world of battle rap league Don’t Flop. Vanessa is the recipient of the 2017 Leverhulme Arts Scholarship.

Directed by Rob Watt, movement by Lucy Bairstow and produced by Liz Counsell
Developed with support from Arts Council England, Camden People’s Theatre and Bristol Old Vic Ferment

Story Slam

Story Slam is where you can hear peoples amazing true stories told live on stage. All stories are told by volunteers from the audience. Put you name in the hat for a chance to tell your story, or just enjoy everyone else’s! The Story Slam is held on the third Sunday every month and starts at 2pm. Doors open at 1.30pm.

We are a Pay What You Want event, with a suggested contribution of £4, but this is totally not mandatory! It can be more or less than this or nothing at all. We’d way rather have you here sharing stories than at home crying about capitalism.

Please be aware that there will be some flash photography at the event.

Recommend in Guardian’s Alternative Guide To Bristol

My Top 5 Bristol Favourites – Maisie Williams (aka Arya Stark, Game of Thrones)
Bristol 24/7

‘Story Slam: Bristol’ weekly Podcast available with recordings from the live shows here:
Website: http://www.storyslam.co.uk/
RSS Feed: http://www.storyslam.co.uk/podcast?format=rss
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/story-slam/id1154736497

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HOW IT WORKS
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1.15: STAMPING
Our events tend to fill up early, so we open the box office to start stamping people’s hands for entrance from 1.15.

1:30: DOORS OPEN
Doors open and everyone is let into the theatre. If you would like to tell a story on stage, put your name in the hat! If not, just take a seat and enjoy everyone elses.

2pm – 4.30pm : STORYTIME
We pull names from the hat at random, and whoever’s name is pulled tells us a 5 minute story from their life! We laugh, we cry, we drink, we have another one! (20 minute interval at some point in the middle of all of this).

After the slam people tend to hang around at the bar, have a drink, and chat about the stories they didn’t have a chance to tell on stage. Our venue is attached to the amazing and affordable Old Market assembly, which is the perfect place for a pint or Sunday lunch!

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RULES
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The stories have to follow a few rules:
1. They must be *stories*! No rants, standup routines or monologues. We want a beginning, middle and end, and some change and conflict to occur.

2. They must be told in 5 minutes.

3. They have to be true (that time that you and Kylo Ren went on a whirlwind adventure and loved and learned and cried? Not going to cut it.)

4. They need to be genuinely 1st person. You should be a major player in the story and we want to hear your perspective.

5. Preferably no notes. This is about the good ol’ fashioned art of storytelling. Tell it to us like we’re round a campfire, or at a sleep over. (However you may use them feel this would be a significant barrier to sharing your story)

The rules are just there to make sure we get to hear as many awesome stories as possible. They’re not meant to be restricting, so if you’re unsure about anything just drop us a message or ask on the day.

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CRAFT TABLE AND CONTENT WARNINGS
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In the interest of making the story slam a safer and more comfortable place, we give people the option of putting content warnings before their stories. We read them out before each story and give people a chance to leave the room. If you do want to leave the main room at any time, we have a craft out table fully stocked with craft materials and usually some friendly volunteers too 😀

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STEP FREE ACCESS
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The venue has full step free access to the theatre and the stage. However, if you need to use it please let us know (via Facebook message) beforehand as we need a member of staff to open side doors etc. Also please feel free to message us if you have any questions surrounding that (or anything else!). You can also check out our photo album for details on the step free access here.

Sharp Teeth

For the last three and half years Sharp Teeth Theatre have been bringing together theatre, storytelling, poetry and music to create a night of riotous Sunday fun. They’ve had raps about stolen bikes, poems about cottaging, performances from drag kings, new writing about women who climb the shard, and improvised storytelling about Lance Armstrong getting lost in a bathtub of meat, amongst many other things.

Each night features four acts, recently including Spindle Ensemble, Malaika Kegode, Ellie Showering, Craft-D, Madeline Shann, Lucy Harrington, Claire Murphy, Katie Storer, and more – the best of local and not so local talent. And it’s all Pay What You Decide!

Check out line-ups online, and come on down for an evening of joyous art, like a variety show, but better, better, better!

“We were spoilt as the bill threw up outstanding humourous and thought provoking acts.”
The Fix Mag

PAY WHAT YOU DECIDE
Our recommended donation is £4 (that’s 1 quid per act), but many people give more. Remember there is no cash point at the Wardrobe Theatre or immediately nearby.

LINE UP

HEATHER AND HARRY BY STUMBLE TRIP THEATRE
Stumble Trip Theatre- The Newest Theatre company to be produced by the Jacques Lecoq school – consists of all-singing, all-dancing, multi-rolling female clowns.

Combing cabaret, mime and storytelling ‘Heather and Harry’ is an extremely silly unpicking of what it means to be human…. and in love.

Stumble Trip Theatre are here to make you feel warm and fuzzy with this genre-blending gender-blending love story.

EARWITNESS
Earwitness is a duo of 33 strings (Izy Ellis: double bass, Jausmė: kanklės, vocals). Each of their cinematic, experimental, minimalist, classical and post-rock inspired compositions are a different journey for your ears to witness. Influenced and inspired by minimalist, classical, contemporary, and electronic music, the duo adds elements of post-rock, grooves, odd time signatures and haunting vocals to their creations.

POLLY TISDALL
Polly is an award-winning storyteller and theatre-maker based in Bristol. She tells traditional stories for schools, museums, festivals, theatres and story nights across the UK and also abroad in South-East Asia where she recently created a new storytelling show in dialogue with Laotian communities.

Polly also works with theatres as a performer, deviser and director and is currently creating a new programme of story-based performances for the egg theatre, Bath. She is interested in the personal, the imperfect and the handmade.

www.pollytisdall.com // www.ramblingheart.co.uk

MELANIE BRANTON
Melanie Branton is looking for a boyfriend. And it’s not going well. Her poems about love, failure, stubbornness and being single in a couple-centric world chart a thirty-year epic quest that has included a brush with a psychopath, stalking various strangers on the internet, and a turbulent relationship with a verb.

Since taking up spoken word in 2014 at the age of 46, Melanie Branton has represented Bristol at the Hammer and Tongue and Superheroes of Slam national slam finals, had two collections of poetry accepted for publication (by Oversteps Books and Burning Eye respectively) and performed at Womad and Bristol Harbour Festival.

“When I first saw Melanie perform a set in Bristol, I was laughing out loud and leaning in on the edge of my seat intently to hear more all in the space of 20 minutes. A fantastic poet with a great mix of dry humour and real-life heart and emotion.” – Harry Baker

“Melanie Branton is an unexpected poetry slap. The kind that makes your face tingle and your eyebrows sky rocket. She is funny, clever, ironic, dry, gripping, needed and you won’t see her coming until she is standing in your face.” – Liv Torc

“Quite brilliant … clever, sad, funny, reflective, passionate. At the cloth-eared heart of it, is Melanie Branton’s ability to conjure light from the darkness, comedy among the tragedy, and a magical absurdity out of the everyday.” – Brian Bilston