Derived from hip-hop, spoken word is an alternative type of performance that when performed using voice inflexion, wordplay and intonation, can be incredibly moving. So, if you’re intrigued, dip your wandering toe into the somewhat underground world of spoken word poetry and bring it to the surface and to the top of your social calendar, by trying out one of these spoken poetry events in London.
Where to Hear Spoken Word Poetry in London
The Southbank Centre
As part of their Literature Summer Season, The Southbank Centre has a whole programme dedicated to spoken word and poetry events. Highlights include National Poetry Library Lates, which are evenings of spoken word and poetry performed by Don Mee Choi, Kim Hyesoon, and Mary Jean Chan. Set in the Hayward Gallery Cafe, this is a great intro for any spoken word poetry newbies. In a new year-long partnership with Out-Spoken, who organise some of London’s best live music and poetry evenings and celebrate diversity in voice, the Southbank Centre will play house to various monthly events and masterclasses, starting from May. Find out more at southbankcentre.co.uk.
Farr’s School of Dancing
Rhymes With Orange is a monthly spoken word event with a residency at East London Farr’s School of Dancing, where guests are encouraged to get up and showcase their poetic skills in front of a very kind, non-judgemental audience. Book an open mic slot and you could win a 10-minute featured slot at the next event! Find out more and keep tabs on the next event at orangesrhyme.com
Bang Said The Gun
‘It’s not pornography but it’s pretty good’. Bang Said The Gun put on stand up poetry events across the country including at Brighton Festival and Latitude, and frequently at Soho Theatre. The next event is at Vault Festival on March 15th, followed by a night at The National Poetry Library on May 8th, and a whole selection of summer events. Find out more at bangsaidthegun.com
Jawdance, presented by ‘spoken word trailblazers’ Apples and Snakes, is a month-long spoken word poetry celebration. The evenings are free and boast line ups that showcase both seasoned talent and emerging poets. Plus, they have an open mic segment, if you choose to brave the stage. Find out more at richmix.org
Hammer & Tongue
Hammer & Tongue are a touring poetry slam company. Shows include an open-mic segment, performances by some really talented poets such as Desree who has toured internationally, performing at some of the world’s most famous arts venues, and Robert Garnham, a Devon-based comedy spoken word artist who has headlined at Bang Said The Gun. The best event to see from Hammer & Tongue is the National Slam Final at the Royal Albert Hall, which is coming up this June. Find out more at hammerandtongue.com
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