Blah’s Big Weekend: The Poetry Machine

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Tap, clatter, ping! Follow the patter of typewriter keys to discover The Poetry Machine, creating beautiful live poetry before and after the Harry & Chris show. Simply give The Poetry Machine a word or idea and receive a free poem, created before your very eyes in just a few minutes. Beth Calverley, ‘The Poetry Machine’, will read it aloud and give you the typewritten poem to take home.

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. She has won several slam titles including the Hammer & 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 with Movement by Lucy Bairstow, Produced by Liz Counsell

Saturday’s performance will be BSL interpreted
Running Time: 1 hour (no interval)

The Dizziness of Freedom: Book Launch

Shortlisted for Most Innovative Publisher in the 2018 Saboteur Awards, Bad Betty Press presents a night of live poetry to celebrate the launch of their ground-breaking anthology on mental health, supported by Arts Council England. The Dizziness of Freedom showcases compelling, strange, beautiful and startlingly honest stories about mental health, written by 50 of contemporary poetry’s most exciting voices.

This launch features live sets from a few of the book’s contributors including Deanna Rodger, Jolade Olusanya and Kathryn O’Driscoll. Hosted by Jake Wild Hall and Malaika Kegode (Milk Poetry).

The Dizziness of Freedom came about to encourage conversation about mental health, help break taboos and challenge stigma. Contributors include Lemn Sissay MBE, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Rob Auton, Mona Arshi, Caleb Femi, Mary Jean Chan, Luke Kennard and R.A. Villanueva.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Harry & Chris Save The World

After sell-out runs of their 2016 and 2017 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Harry Baker and Chris Read have been featured three times on ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ (Sky) and have been touring regularly around the UK. Last year they prevented a apocalypse and got a panda pregnant, so they are now drunk on comedy-rap-jazz power, intent on bringing love and laughter to a world that needs both more than ever.

“Amazing, fabulously entertaining.”
Jonathan Ross

“A wonderful blend of infectious songs packed with sharp, clever wordplay… Harry and Chris’ family friendly
set leaves the audience with a smile on their face and the catchy tunes stuck in their head for the rest of the
day.”
★★★★★ The Sunday Post

“The numbers are upbeat and feel-good, and all of them are about surprising and inventive subjects or points
of view.”
★★★★★ Fringe Guru

“The pair are inspiring Instagram posts in human form.”
Chortle

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Blah’s Big Weekend: Young Blah Showcase

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Following our decade-long success of Blahblahblah, we are excited to invite you to our Young Blah showcase. A host of the brightest emerging talent in the South West. Featuring Jasmine Gardosi (BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and Birmingham Poet Laureate).

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Blah’s Big Weekend: Poets vs MCs

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Collaborating with Raise the Bar and Poets vs MCs, we’ll be pitting a team of rappers and poets against each other to bring you Brighton’s infamous battle of wits. Join us as we smash stereotypes in an event which combines the UK’s sharpest and most unusual collective of lyrical warriors.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Blah’s Big Weekend: Harry & Chris (with support from Erin Bolems)

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Having played together for over 10 years, World Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker teams up with jazz musician Chris Read for the imaginatively titled Harry and Chris. After sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a feature on The Russell Howard Hour (Sky), they are excited to be returning to Bristol to delight audiences with their combination of comedy, jazz and rap.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Blah’s Big Weekend: Young Blah Workshop with Jasmine Gardosi

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Poet, performer and seminar extraordinaire, Jasmine Gardosi will be hosting a workshop. All welcome, whether you’ve never done this before or you’ve been writing for years. You’ll also have the opportunity to perform at the Young Blah showcase.

Please note that there are only 15 spaces available for the workshop
To book your place please call Bristol Old Vic Box Office on 0117 987 7877

Blah’s Big Weekend: Salena Godden & John Berkavitch

Featuring some of the biggest names in spoken word, Blah’s Big Weekend returns this June for three days jam-packed with alliteration, assonance, metaphor and rhyme at its finest

Blahblahblah is excited to be able to support two established artists in developing brand new shows this year. We’re offering a preview of both shows for one price – a double bill with an interval.

Salena Godden: Mrs Death Misses Death
Blah and spoken word alumni Salena Godden returns to our podium with her new experimental piece, Mrs Death Misses Death. A live collaboration of new poetry and fiction by Salena Godden with music by Peter Coyte, this is a rousing call to arms and a celebration of loving this life and our short time here.

Salena Godden and Peter Coyte met and formed ska-punk-dub duo SaltPeter in 1997. This live performance marks the 20th anniversary of this highly original and trailblazing partnership.

John Berkavitch: Pokeman G.O.A.T
John Berkavitch was never a gamer. He was a troll in gaming chat-rooms. But somehow, after becoming hooked on Pokemon Go, he has risen to the top 1% of players in the world. In this newly developed performance, John explores the inherent tribalism and toxicity of augmented reality through spoken-word poetry, immersive projection and physical contemporary circus as he attempts to become the very best. A story told through a combination of spoken word, poetry and immersive projection that draws on physical elements of contemporary circus performance. This truly is a story about one man’s quest to be the very best.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)

Blahblahblah: Imaginary Advice – A Live Podcast presented by Ross Sutherland

Launched in 2014 as a way to explore new forms of storytelling, the Imaginary Advice podcast has grown into one of the most popular storytelling podcasts in the UK. Written and presented by Ross Sutherland (BBC2’s Missing Episode; Standby for The Tape Back), this live podcast presents a selection of brand-new stories, both true and imaginary, with some very special guests.

Featuring support from art writer and curator Gemma Brace and spoken word artist Saili Katebe.

GEMMA BRACE is currently based in the History of Art Department at the University of Bristol. Her writing focuses predominantly on contemporary art practice, often exploring ideas around memory, materiality and a sense of place.

SAILI KATEBE (often writing under the pen name The Blissful Nomad) has found a home in the Bath and Bristol Poetry scene, recently headlining at Milk Poetry and appearing as the ‘spotlight’ act at Raise the Bars.

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval)