Listen and learn at spoken word festival in historic Wiltshire barn

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Come, listen, and learn this summer at a festival of spoken word in Wiltshire, over the weekend of 5-7 July. Messums Festival of the Spoken Word, at an arts centre inside a 13th century tithe barn, promises to be a special and atmospheric weekend, in content and setting.

The festival’s aim is to promote an understanding of how different techniques in spoken word can be put to use across a range of events. A schedule of workshops, talks, readings, music and performances from established, award-winning poets, means there is something for everyone -  from the curious novice, to the seasoned connoisseur of this most ancient of art forms.

The festival launches on Friday with ‘After Hours’, 6pm-late - a chance to meet the performers and poets taking part, and listen to slam poetry by Ben Norris, and a performance from Jade Cuttle. Ben is a poet, playwright and actor and a two-time national poetry slam champion. Jade has performed her poetry on BBC Radio 3 and in association with BBC Proms. She has been commissioned for BBC podcasts and spoken word specials and is a double recipient of the Foyle Young Poet award. She has also contributed a number of articles to Write Out Loud.

Saturday kicks off with a 10am, poetry-writing workshop with Tristram Fane Saunders, a writer and commissioning editor for the Telegraph newspaper. From 12-4pm Poetry Takeaway, a collective of ‘poetry chefs’ working from a converted burger van, is back by popular demand. Taking your ideas, hopes and dreams as ingredients, to create a personalised takeaway poem. From 12.15-1.45pm Performances and Reflections explores the craft of the poem from page to stage, and reflects upon the value of the written and spoken word in today’s world. At 5pm there’s razor-sharp poetry, from dynamic duo Sugar J and Bump Kinm blurring the lines between spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. Relationship struggles, diaspora, rum and love!

At 6.30pm it’s Laurie Bolger’s Talking to Strangers. The many venues that Laurie has performed at include the Royal Albert Hall and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Talking to Strangers brings stories and chats about comfort food, supermarket meltdown, tea and pub love, with her warm and witty poems asking the big questions.

Finally on Sunday, voice coach and keynote speaker ​Caroline Goyder will close a weekend of words with a workshop on how to find and justify your voice. A fun and interactive workshop with practical exercises, and a timely reminder that the well-delivered spoken word is as important as ever in today’s world.

You can find more details of the festival here

◄ Helen Mort to judge £1,000 Winchester poetry prize

'The shout across the garden to say another flower is about to break' ►

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