Say Sumthin 5 with Lemn Sissay

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I am very excited to be working on another show with The Mouthy Poets. Our headliner this time round will be the wonderful Lemn Sissay – Google him, there is only one. We, The Mouthy Poets, host two main shows a year, one in February and one in June.

As we have sold out the Neville Studio at Nottingham Playhouse in previous years, we were able to perform for two nights this February. The Friday was a straight forward show, and on Saturday we took over the whole building, all day, for a kind of festival of words, culminating in a performance in the evening.

On June 15th, we will be hosting a day of events in the Playhouse and our show will be on the main stage at 7pm. This is a fantastic opportunity for many of the young people, who may only have performed to small numbers until now. Part of the ethos of Mouthy is that all participants are involved in the running of the event itself, organising workshops, making and selling merchandise, marketing and advertising the show, as well as writing, editing and working on the performance itself. Many of the performers will be collaborating this time round, working with musicians and film makers as well as each other.

We ask a lot of our headliners too, they can’t simply turn up and do their set, they commit to being with us throughout the day, they watch our run through and critique us before the final show. This is one of my favourite things about working with the Mouthy Poets, getting to meet and work alongside some incredible names in the spoken word scene. To date we have been privileged to work with Inua Ellams, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Tshaka Campbell and Kayo Chingonyi as headliners, as well as having workshop sessions with Roger Robinson, Francesca Beard, John Berkovitch, Caroline Bird, Niall O’Sullivan, Jon Sands and Ken Arkind (from USA) and even Roger McGough who dropped in to join us before he performed at his show at Nottingham Playhouse. Have I forgotten anybody? I bet I have.

The thing that I am most proud of is that many of these artists who meet the young people, are so impressed by their talent and dedication that they ask to return and work with them again. I think it is vital for any aspiring artist to meet those who have forged a path ahead, to realise that it is possible to make their own career happen.

The collective allows each participant to grow as an artist, writer, performer, as whatever they want to be, and I watch in amazement as each and every one grows in stature and confidence – now I know I’m sounding evangelical, but it is true!

So now, we have the incredible Lemn Sissay. The theme of our show will be Journeys, and let’s face it everyone of us has a journey to share. For some of the Mouthys, Lemn is a very pertinent guest to meet as they share similar stories to his. 

If you are in Nottingham that weekend, or if you can get here, please do – we have 700 tickets to sell!

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