Our inaugural Spoken Word Festival continues our programme of exploring process in the arts. Take your seat in an agora – a central public speaking place key to ancient Greek cities, literally meaning ‘gathering place’ – in the largest 13th century barn in the country and listen to some of spoken word’s leading exponents in a day of recitals, performances and learning.
Of all the arts, the spoken word is arguably the most widely recognised but least appreciated. Its techniques often remain a mystery despite the power of the performance, yet like any craft it has its masters and willing students. By hearing first hand about how different techniques can be put to use across a range of events we are the beneficiaries of greater understanding and in turn greater enjoyment of the art form itself.
In a time when so much communication is completed on digital platforms is it not time to ask what value exists in the spoken word. It has the power to empathetically form bonds between groups of people, and its techniques when mastered offer more in terms of social mobility than sets of grades.
The festival is programmed into a series of events covering the spoken word from declamation to stage, story and poetry. Learn about public speaking or pick up a personalised poem, perambulate to a pentameter or just take in the pleasures of the spoken word.
Come along to individual events or a day ticket for Sunday 15 July includes a set lunch, tea, coffee and use of our VIP lounge and free access to the events of the day.
TALK/WORKSHOP: Communicate with confidence, influence and authority with voice coach Caroline Goyder Sunday 15 July, 10-11am, £10
Caroline Goyder is a leading voice coach and keynote speaker. She has worked at Central School of Speech and Drama as a voice coach since 2001 and has over fifteen years of experience providing training to celebrities, teachers and broadcasters. Supported by students from England’s leading drama schools, this is an active workshop based talk with audience involvement and participation. Expect to come out knowing more about communicating with confidence that at the beginning. Who knows it may be the start of something!..read more
TALK: Writing the Voice with author Barney Norris Sunday 15 July, 11:30 – 12:30pm, £10
In conversation with Chloe Fox (journalist and author), local success story, author and playwright Barney will be talking about writing voices for the stage and the page. Drawing on readings from his latest novel, Turning for Home and performances from his breakout play, Nightfall (part of Nicholas Hytner’s summer season at the Bridge Theatre, London), Barney will explain, illustrate and ellucidate how phrases and words can be sculpted and conveyed…read more
PERFORMANCE: Recitation of John Betjeman by Edward Fox OBE Sunday 15 July, 1:00 – 2:00pm, £10
Monastic contemplation and one of this country’s greatest voices couldn’t be more appropriate for a barn built to store the tithe belonging to the Abbess of Shaftesbury, daughter of Alfred the Great.Sit in a state of meditative peace as Edward Fox, stage, film and television actor, recites the poetry of the late Poet Laureate, John Betjeman. Questions and discussion for 10 minutes at the end.
PERFORMANCE: The Devil, The Tsar & 3 Biscuits: storytelling with Ben Haggarty (suitable for all the family age 8+) Sunday 15 July, 2:30pm, £10
Take your seat in an ancient Greek inspired agora in our 13th century tithe barn and enjoy a magical storytelling performance for families. Fast paced, brimful of rich metaphorical imagery, sometimes dark and laced with humour, it’ll have children and adults alike practicing their Russian salutes, and some of them up on the stage to help with the proceedings!
PERFORMANCE: East Meets West: Recitals by the Hottest Young Poets from London and Bristol Sunday 15 July, 4:00pm, £10
A poetry performance showcasing the best young talent from London and Bristol.Take your seats for a passionate, energised recital from some of the most exciting young ambassadors of the spoken word. From Bristol: acclaimed novelist and poet, Lucy English introduces three of the West Country’s most visceral voices – Jose Alford (part of Bristol’s final team in this year’s national Hammer & Tongue slam), Connor Macleod (host of Bristol’s premier spoken word event, Raise the Bar) and Danny Pandolfi (poet, rapper, proponent of a spoken word-hip hop crossover and founder of Raise the Bar) From London: Sean Mahoney, himself one of the brightest young names on the poetry scene, introduces the hottest new talents from the capital…read more
PERFORMANCE: The Fate We Bring Ourselves: grown-up storytelling with Ben Haggarty Sunday 15 July, 5:30pm, £10
The closing highlight of our Festival of the Spoken Word. Take your seat in our medieval barn in a Greek style Agora -the original meeting place for story telling – and listen to a grown-up tale inspired by fairytale and myth performed by storyteller Ben Haggarty. Renowned for his passionate physical performances, Ben Haggarty is one of the world’s leading storytellers. He tours widely and has been a guest artist in over one hundred International Storytelling Festivals in 26 countries. Contains adult content: not suitable for children.
EVENT: The Poetry Takeaway Sunday 15 July, free event throughout the day
Pick up a poem to take away. Bored of the burger? Done with the Doner? Try something to feed the mind.
Leading writers are on hand to take your order and serve up something that will nourish the soul. Can be consumed on or off the premises.
PERFORMANCE: Poetry Perambulation with the Running Poet Sunday 15 July, 11am & 3:30pm, free event
Join others at the creative temple (brightly coloured building in front of the Barn you can’t miss it) to hear words from British athlete and poet Verity Ockenden about how she writes poems whilst running, then take to the fields on a poetry peramulation, to learn how rhythm and recital can be linked to movement. Open to all ages and aimed at young children aged 8 and up. Parents, grandparents and minders with their dogs all welcome – Be prepared for a walk in a field! Duration: Half an hour.
Messum’s Wiltshire is a pioneering multi-purpose gallery and arts centre celebrating the creative endeavour.