Saturday, 11 July 2015

Loudly Poetic Dramaturgy: Miko Berry @ Edfringe 2015

We like it loud!

And so do all the people devoted to the Loud Poets, in Edinburgh and beyond. It's hard not to really, they have completely changed the spoken word scene in Scotland with their revolution; bringing poetry to the masses with fun, dynamic and professional shows! After their utter success at Edinburgh Fringe last year they are getting ready to rock the Scottish Storytelling Centre with their unique performance, filled with humour, attitude and sheer passion for the language. With a different mix of Loud Poets every night and some special guests, all accompanied with live music courtesy of the Loud Band, Edinburgh audiences are in for a treat. 

The show has slam-style, fist-thumping, pint-drinking, side-tickling, heart-wrenching poetry, showcasing the very best spoken word performers from Scotland and beyond from its original poetry collective.

It all started two years ago, when they set out to change the scene. But who are they? 
MiKo Berry founded the Loud Poets two years ago. He became Scottish Slam Champion in 2014 and then went on to come 4th in the World Slam Final in Paris.This year he won the European Slam Finals.
Agnes Török  has wonpoetry slams in multiple languages and continents. Her very own Sorry I Don't Speak Culture won the 2014 (PBH) Award for Best International Spoken Word Show. 
Catherine Wilson won the Aloud-QMU Glasgow Student Slam and competed at Scottish Nationals. She recently won a Vaclav Havel Scholarship for creative writing with University of New Orleans in Prague.
Originally from Texas, Carly Brown came to Scotland to study but quickly became Scottish National Slam Champion (2013) and went on to come 4th at the Coupe De Monde, World Slam Final in Paris that year. 
Doug Garry is a founding member ofLoud Poets. He captained the Edinburgh University team to victory in this year's Unislam and has competed in several slams as the LoudPoets resident 'Darkhorse'.
Kevin Cadwallender is one of the most accomplished and influential poets in the UK. He's performed all over the world, published countless books and won more awards than we can name. Legend.
Joe was part of the winning Edinburgh team for this years UK Unislam. He also won the wildcard slam at Scottish Nationals and placed third in the national slam itself. Look out for him at Nationals. 
In the last two years Kevin Mclean has been crowned Glasgow- and LitSoc Slam champion. He's twice competed at The Scottish Slam Championships and was a finalist at last years' BBC Slam.
Katie Ailes is from Philadelphia. She recently won the StAnza Slam, the NLS Burns Night slam, and the Rhyming Optional Slam. Katie placed second in the 2015 Scottish National Poetry Slam. 
Sara Hirsch is based in London, a former UK Slam Champion and ranked 3rd in the World at last year's Slam World Cup.This Fringe Sara is also doing her first ever solo show "How Was It For You". Go see it!
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Venue 30A
6-31st of August at 21.00
Duration: 1 hour
Age suitability 14+

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Miko Berry: We wanted to bring poetry to the masses

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
We are based in Edinburgh anyway but during August, this city is a different beast. It's an incredible opportunity to get your work seen by people from all over the world.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The audience can expect to feel a LOT. There are hilarious poems that can have the crowd in hysterics and there are heartbreaking pieces that may well leave you in tears and more personal or political poems that will make you want to scream "fuck yeah!". Above all else, they can expect to leave feeling impassioned, uplifted and pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed a poetry show (that turned out to be nothing like what they expected).

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
There are a lot of great spoken word artists out there. As a group, some of our favourites include; Shane Koyczan, Sarah Kay, Aniston Mojgani, Scroobius Pip, Maya Angelou and Kate Tempest.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
We start with figuring out a narrative for the show to avoid it becoming just a series of poems. After we have the theme, we spend a long time thinking about structure. How do we make sure the audience gets the most out of their experience? How do we ensure each poem has the best possible impact. The majority of the show is created by the 4 core organisers (myself, Kevin Mclean, Doug Garry and Agnes Török ) but we collaborate with the other performers as well as our design team.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?

A lot of poetry is designed so you can enjoy it and absorb it in your own time (as is a lot of theatre) but the style of spoken word we do is designed for live performance.

We call our audience the #LoudCrowd and they are crucial in helping create the atmosphere of a Loud Poets show. Especially for the first timers. Anyone who has been to our shows before will know it's ok to whoop cheer and stomp your feet and that really helps the newcomers feel comfortable doing the same.

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