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On from 07 Mar 2010 till 01 Apr 2010
All Around Town
by London Word Festival
Genre(s): Stand Up, New Writing, Drama, Comedy


7 MARCH – 1 APRIL 2010 |

“I could easily imagine Dickens, Addison or Dr Johnson doing a brilliant ‘set’ at the London Word Festival."
– Richard Morrison, The Times
“ever wonderful”
– The Independent
“London’s alternative literature festival”
– The Guardian
"a gift from the linguistic gods"
– The Londonist
“the cat’s pyjamas”
– Kultureflash

Building on the success of 2009’s festival, with its sell-out commissioning programme that included live-Manga illustrated live-literature interpretive ‘Shakespeare in Shoreditch’ club event; Iain Sinclair’s site-specific perambulatory performance in St. Augustine’s Tower in Hackney; and the ‘The 14th Tale’, which transfers to The National Theatre this February, we return with a full selection of premieres, commissions and proudly participatory projects are brought to life on a selection of East London’s most interesting and stages and spaces.

Highlights include:

Josie Long and her good-deed amanuenses enjoy a knees up in a home-brew museum to toast self-improvement project One Hundred Days to Make Me a Better Person; hold tight to that cheap cigars of yours as film noir sensibilities go monochrome gangbusters with Led Bib, Toby Litt, Huzzah!! Noir and more on Toynbee Hall’s suitably art-deco stage in Avant! Noir. Tuck into a bespoke word print from the Henningham Family Press at their ersatz Chip Shop screen-printing workshop; Chris McCabe delivers a psychonavigational multimedia Docklands hymnal: Shad Thames, Broken Wharf, scored by Bartokian folk-drone composers Bleeding Heart Narrative and introduced by Iain Sinclair. Darren Hayman joins the Henningham Family Press, the Universettee, Murray Macauley and more for a hands-on mini-festival celebrating great British posters and Great British eccentricities in Keep Printing and Carry On; mish-mashed, moonshiney animation, shadow-play, puppets, poems and a hypothetical mannequin are a few tools employed by top yarn-spinners Matthew Robins and Terry Saunders who demonstrate the true Art of Storytelling. Tim Turnbull, Laura Dockrill & Luke Kennard head up a night of mischievous wit in a performance poetry best-of; Stuart Silver premieres his anecdotal world-view-shaking comic drama, You Look Like Ants. Join Robin Ince, Professor Brian Cox, Helen Keen and more to explore the cosmos in a space-craft shaped like a church full of comedians and musicians; Leafcutter John rewires Basil Bunting’s Modernist masterpiece Briggflatts; and join a creepy night of theatrical ghastliness in two ghostly performances 'Oh, Whistle and I'll Come To You, My Lad' and 'A Pint For The Ghost'. All topped off by industrial-design-meets-word-play as the Barbican Art Gallery plays host to poetic extremism and quizzical post-modernism from John Hegley and the Found in Translation poets.

7 Mar
Henningham Family Press
Toynbee Studios Arts Café and Bar

10 Mar
ONE HUNDRED DAYS TO MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON with JOSIE LONG The Pictish Trail, Isy Suttie & Sara Pascoe
+ The Museum of One Hundred Days & exclusive Alex Horne ‘One Hundred Days’ film
Secret East London Venue

11 Mar
+ Brian Cox, Helen Keen + more tbc
St. Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch

12 Mar
Toby Litt, Cathi Unsworth, Courttia Newland
Music from Led Bib
Visuals from Huzzah!! Noir
Toynbee Theatre

15 Mar
+ Nathan Penlington: Uri & Me
Courtyard Theatre

18 Mar
by Chris McCabe, with Bleeding Heart Narrative and
Jack Wake-Walker
+ introduced by: Iain Sinclair
Jamboree, Cable Street Studios

20 Mar
Henningham Family Press with Darren Hayman,
Murray Macauley + more tbc
+ The Chip Shop, Universettee lectures, ‘Sister Corita The Screen Printing Nun’ short film screening, Great British Cake Shop + more tbc
Stoke Newington International Airport

24 Mar
+ Laura Dockrill + Luke Kennard + ‘Instructions for Heartbreak’ by Francesca Millican-Slater
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club

25 Mar
+ Helen Mort’s 'A Pint for the Ghost’
Jamboree, Cable Street Studios

28 Mar
+ Peter Finch + MacGillivray + Hannah Silva
Stoke Newington International Airport

31 Mar
Terry Saunders' ‘Six and a Half Loves’
Matthew Robins’ ‘Death of Fly Boy’ & ‘Sad Lucy: a Fish Opera’
+ Henningham Family Press’s ‘The Chip Shop Poem’ with Special Guest Poet
+ Ignore the Forecast’s The Tree of Lost Things
+ more tbc
St. Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch

1 Apr
John Hegley
+ Found in Translation (Joe Dunthorne, Ross Sutherland & Tim Clare)
+ Barbican Young Poets
+ Rough Trade DJs
Barbican Art Gallery

Tickets for all shows are available from Wegottickets at:

The Courtyard Theatre
40 Pitfield Street | London | N1 6EUý

Cable Street Studios | 566 Cable Street | London | E1W 3HB

St. Leonard’s Church
Shoreditch High St. | Shoreditch | London | E1 6JN


Mon 15 Mar
+ Nathan Penlington: Uri & Me

‘There are too many opportunities to speak in life. We’re forced into making mistakes; repeating ourselves. If I repeat myself here, I’m worried you’ll think it’s the start of a large advertising campaign.’

You Look Like Ants is a show about the people that were there to inspire us in our youth. The role models and heroes who accompany us through life. It asks what happens when they grow old and fall apart a little? What happens when we have to pick up the pieces of our broken idols? It’s about the pressure to leave proof of our existence in and among everyone else’s proof; the idolisation of percentage and star rating systems; and about Sharon Davies MBE, Olympic swimmer.

Stuart Silver’s staged, conversational monologue lays bare his life and expectations amidst the lives and expectations of a series of decaying role models and one particular rabbit.

An interweaving, resonating series of theories and scenarios, sad landscapes and incidental ukulele that asks ‘how do we know if we’re spending our time on earth wisely?’

Stuart Silver is a writer and performer who works across theatre and gallery venues, public venues, television, radio, written work and in educational contexts. He is the co-founder of (nobleandsilver), a Perrier award winning multimedia, comic performance group. His live work has seen him appear at Latitude Festival, Summer Sundae, Battersea Arts Centre, the Barbican, The Soho Theatre and BBC Electric Proms. Stuart has stared onscreen in The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place and the (nobleandsilver) Channel 4 Special.

Following the huge success of the Inspired by Uri range of collectables, poet-magician Nathan Penlington presents a brand new show about the man who became an international superstar through his ability to bend spoons with the aid of his mind.

Uri and Me looks behind the cultural icon that we all know and love, to reveal the subtle, complex, and caring nature that has created a boardgame, a folding bike, a range of porcelain plates, over fourteen books, a line of jewellery produced exclusively for QVC, a collection of psychically energised teddy bears, and a pop album.

“If I could write a book exposing myself as a fraud and a charlatan I would readily do so…but unfortunately I cannot do this because the things that have happened to me…are real”, Uri wrote in the introduction to his 1987 book Fortune Secrets – telepathy, clairvoyance, ESP, dowsing for oil, bending metal – Uri and Me will make those things real for you too.

If you’ve never wondered what Uri has been up to since 1971, then this isn’t the show for you.

You Look Like Ants is funded by Arts Council England

Courtyard Theatre ⋅ £9 ⋅ 8pm

Thu 18 Mar
by Chris McCabe
with Bleeding Heart Narrative and Jack Wake-Walker
+ Iain Sinclair

The history of the Docklands is that of a city building upwards, from the monstrous bunkers of the docks themselves to the glass pillars at Canary Wharf. Whenever the means of profit-making have changed, Docklands has always been prescient and protean in its survival instincts. The success, and failure, of the current financial centre echo the creation of the original docks: control of local communities for global trading, the hegemony of private investors and monolithic architectural statements of presence.

Set in a pub that has stood on the site since the sixteenth century, Shad Thames, Broken Wharf eavesdrops on a conversation between three characters – Echo, a middle-aged woman who has lived her life in the area; Blaise, a northerner who finds resonances with the more familiar docks at Liverpool; and the gregarious landlord, a Londoner with ‘the knowledge’. Breaking into the dialogue, The Restructure is a sinister, all-knowing Public Service Announcement with ‘advice’ to share with anyone who’ll listen…

Shad Thames, Broken Wharf is a newly commissioned work by acclaimed poet Chris McCabe that spans centuries of changes across the Docklands, allowing past ghosts to be heard above the white noise of the polemical present. With accompanying tipsy folk melodies from Bleeding Heart Narrative’s Bartokian piano, strings, synths and sample set, and film from Jack Wake-Walker, Shad Thames, Broken Wharf resonates with what the Docklands might mean. Cult London author, poet and filmmaker Iain Sinclair introduces the performance with a special reading.

Commissioned and produced by London Word Festival

“The lower-case lightness of Tom Raworth and the northern comic realism of Simon Armitage”
– The Guardian on Chris McCabe

“an enviable sense of beauty and dense, inspired musicality.”
– The Quietus on Bleeding Heart Narrative
"Iain Sinclair is our greatest guide to London. He explores the mighty labyrinth on foot, from Canary Wharf to Hasidic Stamford Hill, mixing social surrealism with pavement-pounding satire."
– Ian Thomson, The Spectator

Jamboree ⋅ £8 adv / £10 door ⋅ 8pm

Thu 25 Mar
+ A Pint for the Ghost by Helen Mort

Over a century after they were first published, the ghost stories of M.R. James retain their power to terrify and amuse. Following his critically acclaimed one-man show A Pleasing Terror, Robert Lloyd Parry brings James' classic spine-chillers back to life. Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad – a tale of nocturnal horror on the Suffolk coast – is considered by many to be the author's masterpiece. Oh Whistle… was the winner of the Dracula Society’s 2007 Hamilton Deane prize for best dramatic presentation of the gothic. Previous winners include Guillermo Del Torro & Mark Gattiss.

A Pint for the Ghost is the winner of the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice award for Spring 2010, and has been nominated for the Ted Hughes award for public contribution to poetry.

Helen Mort’s work has also seen her win an Eric Gregory Award and Manchester Young Writer Prize. She has performed at both Latitude Festival and Buckingham Palace.

“Lloyd Parry's beautifully modulated performance is perfectly judged to send an enjoyable chill down the spine.”
– Metro on ‘Oh Whistle…’
'A writer who knows the value of the past, and how to set it against the present to illuminate them both.'
– Ian McMillan on Helen Mort

Jamboree ⋅ £8 adv/ £10 door ⋅ 7.30pm

Wed 31 Mar
Terry Saunders' ‘Six and a Half Loves’
+ Matthew Robins ‘Death of Flyboy’ & ‘Sad Lucy: a Fish Opera’
+ Henningham Family Press’s ‘Chip Shop Poem’ with Special Guest Poet
+ Ignore the Forecast’s ‘The Tree of Lost Things’
+ more tbc

They say the art of the story is in the telling. But a little help from friends never went amiss. A coterie of skilled and award-winning yarn-spinners augment their narratives with puppets, cartoons, gift-tags from the audience and a live printing press.

Critically acclaimed comedian, storyteller and hopeless romantic Terry Saunders premieres his brand new Six And A Half Loves, a tale of perfect couples who never get to reach their perfection. Using animation, stand-up, storytelling, video and possibly a mannequin, he will tell the story of three of the most perfect couples to have ever lived and why exactly none of them have quite managed to make it.

Voted one of the top ten comedians in Time Out’s reader’s poll and winner of Chortle’s Best Show award at Edinburgh 2007, Terry’s oblique whimsy has found expression in shows about lonely people leaving adverts for each other, a boy who speaks only in Pulp lyrics and an Elliott Smith obsessive who can see into the future.

With a Tim Burton-y, Raymond Briggsian imagination, Matthew Robins is a restless animator and musician. Matthew and his band perform episodes from The Death of Flyboy, a science-fiction romantic shadow-opera. The sad story of half-human, half-insect Flyboy; unpopular at school, mocked by his peers and dealing with the unrequited affection of a giant robot, while his friend Mothboy is busy knitting a lovely new spaceship for them. Recently seen at the National Theatre, the V&A, Roundhouse, Shunt Vaults and De La Warr Pavilion, take off into Flyboy’s wonderful world. Matthew will also perform from his new show Sad Lucy: a Fish Opera.

Decorating the nave of St Leonard’s like creeping ivy, Ignore the Forecast’s participatory art project The Tree of Lost Things collects things mourned for and misplaced by 8000 members of the public. Some funny, some sad, some strange, this installation is a poignant chronicle of loss. The Tree of Lost Things was the Sunday Times’ critic’s choice from Latitude Festival 2008 and part of Battersea Arts Centre’s Gala programme 2009.

Tying things off neatly, a reading of the Festival’s official Chip Shop Poem by a very special guest poet in collaboration with the Henningham Family Press.

"effortlessly funny"
– Metro on Terry Saunders
" . . . as borderless as its creator's imagination, the universe of Matthew Robins's shadow plays is simultaneously homely, sinister and one of the most engaging live experiences you'll encounter this year . . ."
– Time Out on Matthew Robins

St. Leonards Church ⋅ £8 adv / £10 door ⋅ 7pm

London Word Festival is produced by Marie McPartlin, Tom Chivers & Sam Hawkins. London Word Festival Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation, limited by guarantee. Company No. 6745201 Registered address: 53 Arcadia Court, 45 Old Castle Street, London E1 7NY.

London Word Festival is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund.

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