Sunday March 4th 2013 - Kate Fox Standing Up for Hull Poets
By Michelle Dee.
Stand-up poetry or spoken word, call it what you will, is on the rise in Hull. Joe Hakim, curator for Northern Elements, said as much at the Kate Fox show held on Sunday night at Fruit.
You can't fail to have noticed the many venues and night dedicated to this vibrant versatile and increasingly popular art form. Poetry is everywhere.
Whether it is mixed in on a variety billing of live music and theatre, at nights such as Off The Road and Skit Row, or on nights solely dedicated to the performing and showcasing of original verse, like Fresh Ink and Away With Words or the numerous theatre-based stand-alone events bringing new voices to the city, there is no escaping the spoken word renaissance.
Kate Fox returned to Hull to perform audience favourites and new writing, from her latest anthology, Fox Populi. She delighted the audience with her tales of running and writing, at the Great North Run 2012 where she was poet in residence for the annual event. The quirky Bradford born poet - now residing in Thirsk - took inspiration from literary luminaries, parodying Sylvia Plath's angsty and tortured style.
In Being Sylvia Plath, Kate imagines scenes of Sylvia and Ted Hughes' domestic life. 'Whoops Ted I burned the chips: They lay blackened like elm trees with their branches hacked off.'
Kate's delivery and language is very grounded, very accessible, akin to that of comedienne Sarah Millican - herself a big Kate Fox fan - and that of radio favourite, Pam Ayres.
Her everyday observations chime with the Fruit audience, sending ripples of laughter around the warehouse venue on Humber Street. This being an Arts Council England supported event, a new work was commissioned especially for Northern Elements. Recently Kate has being exploring the world of call centres; finding out how these hothouses of customer services tick.
Out of this investigation and research the multifaceted Only Connect has emerged. This piece is much more learned than previous work, based upon historical accounts of the work of pioneering journalist and Socialist Harriet Martineaux and her belief of the curative powers of mesmerism.
Kate debuted this piece in a radio-theatre style using recordings gathered on Newland Avenue earlier in the week. By splicing the verses with vox pops and those from the call centre staff she interviewed, she has created a strange hybrid poem that demands full attention.
Having someone as prolific and highly regarded as Kate Fox actively supporting spoken word in Hull, will almost certainly encourage new and existing writers to aim higher and achieve more.
The Northern Elements initiative is very much about supporting emerging talent, and this aim was evident when looking at the other
names, who entertained the Fruit crowd on Sunday night.
Catherine Scott is steadily building towards taking her first one-woman show to the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. She brings to the fore office politics and deeper social issues around mental health, isolation and abandonment, whilst mixing in a healthy dose of humour and light-hearted fun.
Ruth E. Dixon made a name for herself with a number of spoken word videos, including the infamous Famous at Forty film where the ex-BBC broadcaster can be seen, unashamedly, laid out naked on her kitchen table, reciting the provocative poem, with nothing but a fish supper to protect her modesty.
Outrageous behaviour, wholly appreciated by a growing number of supporters. This brave and inspired piece of theatre brought her and her increasingly risqué performances some local press attention. The exposure then followed her to Edinburgh last year, where she shared a stage with published Hull writers Mike Watts (tonight's compere and amiable host) and Northern Elements curator Joe Hakim for the month long run of Reclamation.
In keeping with the ethos of supporting new writing talent, new name Alyx Tamminen took to the stage to share her thoughts on modern
life, relationships and her own changing views on politics.
Being in such illustrious company didn't phase the young Kirkella writer and Alyx held her own throughout, endearing herself to a supportive and
And finally, in a world where the Arts is continually populated and dominated by men, it was refreshing to see an all female line up.
Look out for more events under the Northern Elements banner, coming soon.
Reviews, Theatre Thursday 5th July 2012 - Fred Voss and Joan Jobe-Smith - The Longbeach Connection at Hull Truck - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Tonight's poetry performance was the culmination of three years effort, to bring the highly respected Californian writer Fred Voss to Hull.
All week I'd been hearing reverential murmurings about the two visiting poets, particularly from the writers in my midst.
Wearing dark shades, dressed in black from head to toe, the flame haired Joan Jobe-Smith,
Reviews, Theatre Theatre Brothel 2.0 at Hull Truck Theatre - Saturday 29th September 2012 By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
In recent years, film and theatre reviews have become littered with the following: Spoiler Alert! So what can I tell you about
Theatre Brothel 2.0
without giving the game away?
The Theatre Brothel experience begins as you walk the back corridors and passageways of the theatre. Which two of the four shows you
got to see in any given night, depended on what answers you gave to some probing questions.
Reviews, Theatre Tuesday 3rd July 2012 - Hannah Silva and Helen Mort at Fruit - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Not very often I'm lost for words after a performance. I can usually begin to frame my response, think in terms of genre, style, influences.
Not so for Hannah Silva. Ghost Running was a special collaborative spoken word performance with renowned Yorkshire poet Helen Mort,
and took place at Fruit in Hull's historic Fruit market area, for the Humbermouth Literature Festival.
Reviews, Theatre Monday 2nd July 2012 - Ross Sutherland: The Three Stigmata of Pacman at Fruit - Humber Mouth Literature Festival By Michelle Dee
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
The annual Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull moved into its second week; a week filled with innovative and acclaimed spoken word artists curated by Write to Speak and Fresh Ink in the Hard Rhymes & Great Exclamations strand of the festival.
The performers are arriving in Hull from as far afield as York, Devon, Los Angeles
Reviews, Art Revelations On The Edge by Sarah Pennington at Red Gallery - June 2012 By Michelle Dee. Photographs courtesy Sarah Pennington
A whale bone washed up on a distant shoreline; a battered old tin found loch side returning to its place of origin; strange crab claw tools; methodical
arrangements of chalky bone fragments from fish and fowl. These are just some of the curios that await you when you visit Revelations on the Edge.
Artist and sculptor Sarah Pennington left her home in Hull and spent 3 months on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
Reviews, Theatre Reclamation at Hull Truck Theatre, Saturday 23rd June 2012 By Michelle Dee
Getting to Edinburgh Fringe is a milestone in every artists career, and performing at the
Arts and Culture Festival presents many challenges; least of all financing the escapade paying for travel and
lodgings while you attempt to put on a marathon of shows in a month.
Reclamation by Joe Hakim, Mike Watts and Ruth E. Dixon is about self discovery not in the namby-pamby
Reviews, Theatre Poems and Pints at The King's Arms, Salford, Friday 3rd February 2012 By Melanie Fullard
Poems and Pints; the brainchild of Paul Heaton ( The Housemartins, Beautiful South ) and his partner, Zena Barrie is a new monthly poetry event held in The King's Arms,
Salford, Manchester. Paul, who has recently become the new landlord was also in the line-up to perform.
Myself and thisisull's Cilla Wykes accompanied two of Hull's leading poets, Mike Watts and Joe Hakim who had both been invited to the opening night.
The King's ArmsRead more...
Reviews, Arts - The Liberation of Barton - A Poetry Evening at The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber - Saturday 8th October 2011 By Melanie Fullard
The Ropewalk in Barton is a listed building which was once used in the manufacturing of rope. It now doubles as an art space and performance venue. It's really awkward to find, sandwiched between Tesco and a housing estate (especially in the dark!) but it's well worth the trouble.
Tonight sees performances from the pick of Hull's finest poets and the debut of Barton's very own Lady Blah Blah (aka Ruth Dixon).