Tuesday 3rd July 2012 - Hannah Silva and Helen Mort at Fruit - Humber Mouth Literature Festival
By Michelle Dee.
Photographs by Cilla Wykes
Ghost Running Leaves Audiences Breathless
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.
The evening is introduced by Hannah Silva with a piece called Talking to Silence; described online as a 'sound poem' she uses beat
box techniques and a loop pedal to produce a multilayered voice performance. The opening salvo has captured the audience's attention
and set the bar high for tonight's proceedings.
Sheffield born multi award-winning poet Helen Mort is well known for her ghost poems, her Tall-Lighthouse Press publication,
A Pint for the Ghost went on to receive numerous accolades. She is perhaps not so well known for her passion for running, particularly
of fell running, and how the act of running feeds directly into her writing practice.
I'm immediately struck by the perfect enunciation of Helen's vocal delivery. In the heady world of Spoken Word, too often clear,
concise diction is surrendered for the hip quick rhymes and buzz words. Single spotlight on stage, she introduces a poem that will
be familiar to many Yorkshire writers called Coffin Path.
The poem describes an ancient right of way tracking from Ambleside to
Grassmere which carried the dead to their final resting place.
Helen reveals that the rhythm of the running motion, helps her plan out her verse before putting pen to paper, she describes a
process of 'turning lines over in my head as the miles go by', and will purposely run around the block again and again until
the words take shape in her mind.
More ghosts, both the historical and the personal each make an appearance during the set, but when Helen recounts the story of
the trapped cavers in the Cumbrian hill's the blood begins to run cold.
The line 'Cast their voices out like pit canaries' remains fixed in my mind as I try to picture the scene.
The trapped men can be heard calling out, their would-be rescuers, powerless to save them but impelled to listen, as the poor
souls realise the awful inescapable truth.
Every time I hear Helen Mort read, I'm reminded that I should read more of her work.
Hannah Silva is a classically trained musician, she studied at the Purcell School and then the Amsterdam Conservatory.
Her instrument of choice? The recorder. It's true the humble school room instrument that every child of a certain age has blown shrill notes and squeaked through nursery rhymes on, has provided the grounding and the inspiration to pioneer a new experimental poetry form.
Tonight's headline performance by Hannah Silva is a one-off reworking, taken from the newly commissioned Marathon Tales a
feature length play broadcast in August on BBC Radio 3.
Opening with the sound of a heartbeat and breathing, Hannah rewrites the history of long distance running starting in
Ancient Greece and the Athenians, to Olympians dreaming of gold at London 2012.
It's all about the sound of the words, the shape of the mouth, the rhythm, the repetition, the race. Hannah casts a crisscrossed web of stories as expertly as Scheherazade herself, peopled with Gods and Goddesses, heros and villains all running full pelt, to fulfill a purpose, a dream, a destiny.
The musician/poet builds up layer upon layer of sound with the loop pedals, using her voice and complex articulation techniques to create the setting for each tale to take place in. Maintaining a superhuman level of intensity throughout the performance she takes storytelling to a new level.
The audience were transfixed, hanging on every word, every rhythm, every single step of the way.
Towards the climax, Hannah displays incredible vocal control and dexterity as her voice speeds up, the pace quickens, as the athletes each sprint towards their goal; be that gold, Goddess or girl.
After the 20 minute marathon solo performance I am left wide eyed in amazement. I'm as breathless as if I had just run said marathon myself. Mesmerised. Stunning. Incredible. Just some of the descriptions from the audience members.
'Phidippides, Phidippides, Phidippides'
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).
Reviews, Theatre Stags and Hens at Fruit - Tuesday 26th July 2011 By Melanie Fullard Photos by Neil Holmes
Have you been to the 3D cinema recently?
The characters are larger than life, there's surround sound and you become so engrossed that you feel like you're in the film. Well, that's what it's like watching Stags and Hens.
The audience is gathered - standing room only. A bloke walks down the middle aisle; he's swaying a bit and looks a bit pissed.
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Joe Solo is a prolifically and prodigiously talented Northern England singer-songwriter who since the turn of the millennium has produced a steady flow of stand-out albums.
The trouble with ol' Joe is that he is a dyed-in-the-wool uncompromising old-fashioned Socialist who refuses to 'tart' up his songs with ear-candy arrangements, so some day someone will make an absolute fortune
Reviews, Theatre Sunday 13th February Scratch Theatre @ Fruit By Michelle Dee
I was just one of the many people on Humber Street Sunday 13th February to witness the first Scratch Theatre night at Fruit. Eight separate ten minute shorts were showcased tonight, each one a new piece of theatre written by a local writer.
Feedback sheets were handed out to answer the questions; what in your opinion worked / didn't work; what did/didn't you enjoy; how could it have been played better etc?
Reviews, Books - Coming to a Street Near You by Mike Watts (Night Press)
Reviewed by Peter Knaggs
At 116 pages, 62 poems, here we have it, the hot debut from one half of the Write to Speak
duo, Coming to a Street Near You.
There are a clutch of writers at the moment; Martin Hayes, Dan Fante
and Tony O'Neill and they write poems, good poems, you don't see them rubbing shoulders with
Don Patterson and Jo Shapcott and it's unlikely that you would happen upon their work in Poetry Review. Read more...
Reviews, Books - Coming to a Street Near You by Mike Watts Reviewed by Melanie Fullard
Mike Watts is a guy who's glass is always half empty. Not only that, it was his last fucking one and it's nine days till pay day.
The poems in his debut poetry collection, Coming to a Street Near You reflect the kitchen sink dramas of the '60's like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and Billy Liar, Watts himself being a modern day Arthur Seaton.
Reviews, Theatre Write to Speak Presents Kate Fox News - Wednesday 12th January 2011 By Michelle Dee
The final Write to Speak of the current run saw writer/poet Kate Fox performing her Edinburgh Fringe Show Kate Fox News at the Hull Truck Studio Theatre. Tonight was ladies night so before Kate took to the stage the healthy Wednesday night crowd were given another chance to hear from the female members of the workshop poets.
Reviews, Arts - Write to Speak presents Kate Fox News at Hull Truck - Wednesday 12th January 2011 By Mark Walmsley
The last Write to Speakevent of the third season was crowned by a brilliant night's entertainment featuring BBC Radio 4's Kate Fox and 4 of Hulls very own up and coming poets, Catherine Scott, Kerry-Joe Pulford, Michaela Bamber and Pam Scobie .
Normally, it could be said that the likes of the very talented Kate Fox who has graced the Hull Truck