What's On

Manchester’s Spoken Word in October 2016


Absolutely spoilt rotten, you lot are. Manchester Literature Festival rolls into town on the 7th – make sure you check the formidable programme and get yourself to some unmissable nights. National Poetry Day is the 6th, and the Manchester-adjacent Axis Arts Centre in Crewe will be hosting a belter of evening. Featuring twelve stellar poets from London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Yorkshire, as well as the luminous talents of guests Brian MacMahon-Gallagher and Victoria McNulty. This slam is not messing around. Towards the end of the month sees an exciting Experimental Words event at the Eagle Inn in Salford – poetry meet science in a unique, one-off event from the guys who brought you last years Science Slam. Feast your eyes on the list below.

3rd October / FLIM NIGHT presents ‘Ghostbusters’ / 3MT / 7:30pm / £2 suggestion donation
The wonderful FLIM night is back with Ghostbusters this time, featuring the talents of KateMcCabe, Dominic Berry, Joe Cooper, Patricia Snak and Thom Bee. “Each of our performers has been given a chunk of ‘Ghostbusters’ to turn into something new. Come and watch as our acts transform a catchy-theme-tune-‘d spooky action-fantasy into something unrecognisable for your viewing pleasure. We will not be showing a movie. We will be making a flim.”

3rd October / The Other Room: Experimental Poetry / The Castle / 7pm / Free 
Featuring Maggie O’Sullivan, Susan Bee and Charles Bernstein.

4th October / Word War 3MT Heat Nine / 3MT / 7:30pm / £3 
Let’s get ready to rumble! 8 poets will battle it out for the chance to win £20 and a place in Decembers final where they can win £200 and the coveted Word War 3MT Trophy!

5th October / Word Central / Manchester Central Library / 6pm / Free
Word Central open mic poetry. A semaphore-exploding mind flow hosted by Tony Curry [Tony Sheppard], with special guests Melanie Rees & Sarah Miller.

6th October / Speak Easy XII / Stretford Sip Club / 7:30pm / Free
Speak Easy returns for a National Poetry Day special. All our acts will be asked to bring along and read out a poem by one of their poetry heroes – be it Byron, Ginsberg or even their best mate from down the road. Expect some classic masterpieces alongside our usual readings of original poetry from spoken word veterans and newcomers alike. Free entry, no tickets; just turn up on the night and get your fill of fantastic verse from the passionate folk who practice the art today.

6th October / Axis Slam / Axis Arts Centre in Crewe / 7:30pm 
Technically Manchester-adjacent, but well worth the travel. 12 poets from around the UK compete for top prizes. Featuring international guests Brian MacMahonGallagher and Victorai McNulty.


7th October / Manchester Literature Festival / Various Dates/ Times / Various 
The 2016 Manchester Literature Festival hits town from the 7th-23rd October. Full programme available on the website with some picks selected in this list.

8th October / Bad Language / International Anthony Burgess Foundation / 7:30pm / £8/£6 
At this Manchester Literature Festival event, poet, screenwriter and Manchester Poetry Festival founder Henry Normal will be joined by three other poets: 2016 Northern Writers’ Award-winners Melissa-Lee Houghton and Mark Pajak and fixture of the Yorkshire spoken word scene Genevieve Walsh.

10th October / Evidently – Dan Simpson and Sam Illingworth (3rd Anniversary Special) / Eagle Inn, Salford / 7:30pm / £3  
Join Salford stalwards Evidently for their special 3rd birthday featuring Dan Simpson and Sam Illingworth. Forget what you learned at school, this poetry is entertainment at its finest.

11th October / Valley Press Poets / Central Library / 1pm / Free (booking advised) 
Part of MLF featuring Jo Brandon, Jonathan Davidson and Matthew Hedley Stoppard.

11th October / Manchester Cathedral Poetry Prize / Manchester Cathedral / 7pm / Free (Booking advised) 
Part of Manchester Literature Festival, this celebratory event comprises a specially commissioned talk on the connection between the spiritual and the poetic by acclaimed poet Michael Symmons Roberts, as well as readings from the shortlist, judged by Jo Bell.

11th October / Quiet, quiet, LOUD / The Lloyds, Wilbraham Road / 7pm / Free 
Celebrating the Quiet Compere’s 40th Birthday, not only is entry for this event free, but it will also feature six year old Frank Dixon as special guest.

14th October / The Fuel Word Cup / Fuel Café Bar / 8pm / £3 
The Fuel Word Cup is a competitive spoken word event held in Fuel, Withington, Manchester (which has great food by the way). All proceeds are going to the winner of the poetry slam!

15th October / An Evening with Jackie Kay / Hallé St Peter’s / 8pm / £12/£10 
On the heels of her widely celebrated appointment as Scottish Makar, poet, author and playwright Jackie Kay hoss this intimate event as part of Manchester Literature Festival. She will read and discuss her work with Observer writer Rachel Cooke.

18th October / Poets & Players: Ian McMillan, Mona Arshi and Blind Monk Trio / Hallé St Peter’s / 7pm / £8/£6 
Join Manchester Literature Festival for a celebration of contemporary poetry and music in one of Manchester’s most beautiful venues.

19th October / Hollie McNish & Salena Godden / Gorilla / 7:30pm / £10/£8 
MLF presents an evening with two stars of the UK performance poetry scene reading exciting new work that shocks, surprises and amuses.

20th October / Ode at Odd feat MC Kash & Steph Pike / Odd Bar / 8pm / Free 
Featuring firebrand feminist Steph Bike, house band Ode:eep, Busha Mann and Jaydev Mistry, at this event one performer will be crowned Ode:mon of the month and receive an extended slot at next month’s event. Last month’s inaugurated Ode:mon Trevor Meaney occupies the extended slot this time round.

Young Identity: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Contact Theatre)

Young Identity: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Contact Theatre)

22nd October / Young Identity: Standing On The Shoulders of Giants / Contact Theatre / 7:30pm / £11/£6 
Talented collective Young Identity have been forging a reputation as some of the most magical young poets and performers in the city for the past decade. Their work draws on a long-established initiative in Manchester to support the work of young performance poets. Join them for this one-off celebration of young people’s voices in the city, past and present.

23rd October / Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs! BOOK Launch! / Salford Arts Theatre / 2pm / Free 
This is the launch of the new Dommy B poetry book with Flapjack Press! Joining the titles ‘The Dragon Who Hates Poetry’, ‘Spark, the Goblin Wizard’ and ‘When Trolls Try To Eat Your Goldfish’, here comes the conclusion to the Dragon World quadrilogy. A full performance of Dommy B’s brand new show, plus a second half of silly verse – with LOTS of joining in!

28th October / Experimental Words / Eagle Inn, Salford / 7 pm / £4 online 
Biology meets balladry, physics encounters pentameter and chemistry confronts cadence as leading scientists are paired with some of Manchester’s finest spoken-word artists to compete in a science slam show. The result? A diverse display of rhyme, rhythm and reason, which celebrates the creative similarities between science and the performing arts. Delivered by scientific poet Dan Simpson and poetic scientist Sam Illingworth – and ran in conjunction with Salford’s premier spoken word night Evidently – this year’s Experimental Words aims to build on the tremendous success of 2015’s sell out Science Slam event.

31st October / When the Darkness Knocks / Chetham’s Library / 7:30pm / Free 
It’s Halloween, and there is a darkness calling from a building that has witnessed the shadows of history flood the city. Chetham’s Library has soaked itself in secrets and stories, and now First Draft are coming to let the building speak. The incredible line-up of performers will be sharing new music, stories, poetry and drama to tell the tales that the building cannot speak itself, exploring the creepy, strange and dark in this thick-walled, medieval building. Can a place ever shake its past? And if that past is as a priest’s residence, a prison, a gunpowder factory, a stately home and a school — what happens when all those histories wake up at once?

Chetham Library

Chetham Library