October 20th, 2016

Shakespeare to hip-hop at Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival

Shakespeare to hip-hop at Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival Shakespeare to hip-hop at Stratford-Upon-Avon Poetry Festival
Paapa Essiedu, seen here in his acclaimed role as Hamlet at the RST, will perform reading at this year's Stratford-upon-Avon. (Photo by Manuel Harlan - RSC).

SHAKESPEARE in space to hip-hop feature in this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival.

Organisers the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) are promising a few contemporary and unexpected twists when the UK’s longest running poetry festival returns for the 63rd time from September 18 to 25.

Highlights include readings from acclaimed Shakespearian actors Paapa Essiedu and Natalie Simpson, an experimental evening of hip-hop, poetry and performance with Birmingham-based rapper Juice Aleem, bookbinding and creative writing workshops, a poetry choir with a programme of classical and contemporary choral work, an open-mic night, and a cheese and wine evening with readings from Venus and Adonis in Shakespeare’s Schoolroom – the very place where his genius was nurtured.

And youngsters and the young at heart can also join in the fun, with a lively, ‘intergalactic’ musical poetry workshop featuring Shakespeare in Space.

This year ten acclaimed poets have been invited to be poets-in-residence at venues across Stratford as part of the Unexpected Encounters programme – including Jo Bell, Matt Black, Roy McFarlane, Gregory Leadbetter and Arjunan Manuelpillai, taking inspiration from observations and interactions with people and their surroundings to produce new works.

Special guest poet-in-residence is Danish poet Cindy Lynn Brown, who will be writing poems inspired by Hamlet. At the end of the festival the poets will perform their work and share experiences at a special showcase evening on September 24.

Festival director Dr Paul Edmondson, festival director and head of research at SBT, said: “We’re really excited by the variety and diversity of this year’s programme, bringing a fresh, contemporary approach to poetry for the enjoyment of people of all ages.

“Featuring works by established artists alongside plenty of new writing from up and coming talents, there will be plenty of opportunity for people to take inspiration and try their hand at creative writing. We look forward to welcoming people from near and far to enjoy this fantastic celebration of poetry in the hometown of one of the greatest poets of all.”

Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/poetry-festival for tickets and further details.