Mouthy Poets is Changing

21 Sep

Hello Mouthy Universe –

After 6 years of existence, Mouthy Poets is undergoing change – reducing its staffing capacity and returning to a more voluntary participant lead model. We will still be running weekly sessions for our core collective, kicking off this Friday! (There are still spaces!)

But we are also reducing to a third of the size in terms of staffing and activity so there are quiet a few changes I want to update you on:

  • Mouthy Alumni and former Artistic Development Intern, Chris McLoughlin has stepped forward as a new Artistic Director of Mouthy Poets CIC! He is committed to the Mouthy Ethos and also has a range of really exciting new ideas and initiatives to refresh the development of the organisation, especially with consideration of our shifts in funding and scale.
  • Our founder, Debris Stevenson, has moved back to London and will be stepping into a board/consulting role supporting the evolution of Mouthy Poets. Debris will still be around on a monthly basis supporting in this transitionary phase.
  • Former Professional Development Manager, Anne Holloway and Education Officer, Hayley Green will continue working for Mouthy Poets but in the new shared role of Office Manager – they are both going from 3 days a week to 1 day a week and all our professional development and education activity will only happen when external organisations can fund it. PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS when contacting them.


We are excited at the opportunity to return to a model of Mouthy Poets that genuinely gives all ownership and responsibility to the young people within the community. If there is any skill/support or time you feel you can offer to help Mouthy Poets thrive, please get in touch:


Artistic Director, Chris McLoughlin

Office Manager, Hayley Green,

Office Manager, Anne Holloway

Founder, Debris Stevenson



Peace, love and poetry,

Mouthy Poets Staff Team


Chris McLoughlin – Artistic Development Internship: Final Blog Post

8 Sep

Hello Mouthy followers and family!

As part of my contract to the Mouthy Poets for the post of AD Intern, they asked me to do a final blog post about my experiences with the internship.

So, let’s begin with the professional side of the internship. The run up to Say Sum Thin 10, Mouthy Poets show in February 2016, was probably the most exciting and enlightening period. Mouthy Poets were having a staff shortage, and there was a lot of work to do towards the show. The great thing about this was I could pick up different tasks and learn a lot of skills in a short period. These included assisting writing the copy for the Nottingham Playhouse promotional material, and setting up and facilitating one-to-one’s for Mouthy’s to help them practise their performance, push themselves artistically, and overcome any worries or doubts about performing. This model of 1-1 support is something I will take forward in future projects. The not so great thing about this was it led to quite a lot of stress for the team and interns, which was unavoidable, but made me realise how structure and contingency plans can help an organisation. Also, shadowing Deborah Stevenson was crucial during this period, as it led me to gain skills not only in the organisation of large events, but the techniques to do so with a sense of calm, which was needed due to the added stress. Now, I open most performances with asking the audience to join me in a breathing exercise, just as the Mouthy Poets start their show do to each other before a show.

This balance leads me into how the internship benefited my artistic side. As part of the internship, I helped organise and facilitated a trip to Battersea Arts Centre in London. This helped me to learn how to book gigs, as well as beginning a London presence for my work. Also, the 1-1’s with participants helped my own art a lot, learning how to apply different techniques to different situations.

Moving on to the personal side of the internship, another thing that was provided as part of the internship was life coaching with Anne Holloway, Mouthy Poets’ Professional Development. Although I only took up one of these sessions, it came at a crucial time in my career and my personal life, and the session helped immensely.

Lastly, an addition to the year, I was asked by Hayley Green to shadow a poetry project at Nottingham Emmanuel School with her. This culminated in a showcase during Say Sum Thin 11, along with her company . To watch these young poets evolve in confidence, life skills and performance was fantastic, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it.

So, I handed in my MA dissertation and ended my AD internship in the same week , so, to the next step, and a bit of rest I hope!

Chris McLoughlin
Artistic Development Intern

Eff is for Flight by BeaBop 

8 Jul

​F is not in my vocabulary
It’s not an English thing

It’s sticky

Makes me feel fudge, freshly, 

fixing feather to feet.

I force fortunes into fried cookies.
Eff it.
Before now, my heroes were always within Mouthy
Poets who wore cloaks held at the throat with stanzas

Throbbing with dead good poetry 

Cast into a press of oozing mud

Writing for their minds

To be frank

I needed to fear the feeling of the sunset shearing my confidence into splinters 

Of honey grating my ideas

There are limestone rock cliffs jutting out of Northern Vietnam

I want to lick them

Embed all my prose into each crevice 

Peel off my skin

Don a cloak 

And be the travelling heroine

Written in those lost leaves

Of thyme, mint and oregano.
An F now sits in my vocabulary 

And it’s about to take flight

That Morning, Tech Script, Ingrid

23 Jun

That Morning


Black out


That morning: the girl


“I will kill. I will kill”


Fade up soft edge spotlight


I looked outside and saw the toad from the pond next door whispering these words,

so I shut the window because it was kind of creeping me out.

I went to get breakfast,

greeted my mother who looked like a ripe peach this morning

then got into my car and drove to town,

I ran some errands.

When I returned, I went through the gate to the back garden.

Then I saw her there, my mother, lying faced down

in a red Atlantic on the grass.

How unusual,

no one could have looked through their windows yet.


That morning: the toad


The girl didn’t acknowledge me.

She should have. Her expression was so nonchalant

She has no idea of her guilt

and this weaved me into my torment,

made us one being.

She drove over my love’s body,

No one should ever have to see a loved one like that.

She will atone.

I will make a deal with the warlock

for the ability to destroy her.

Destroy her and make her destroy me.



That morning: the child


In the mornings I play with the toad in the garden.

I haven’t seen his friend in a while,

they seemed to be good friends.

I think he loves her

more than my parents seem to love each other.


This morning I had to call him,

but after a while he came under the fence

and hopped towards me.

I sat crossed legged on the floor

and cupped my hands in front of me for him to climb up.

He hopped into my hands.


It felt like we’d been sat there for a long time

This isn’t how we usually play

While he was in my hands

I saw nothing but kaleidoscope colours.

Then he decided to go about his day

Leaving some old seeds behind in my hands.


I got up, walked into next door’s garden,

went through the back door.

I climbed on a chair

And dropped the seeds into the granola.

Then I went back through to my garden,

ran my fingers through the pond water

And went to play in the sand.


That morning: the mother


I have a lot to do this morning

I looked out the window

Saw the sky looked like a pink and blue tiger

I quickly got dressed so I could get outside

Start work on the car while in the midst

of something spectacular.

The tiger disappeared, the air started to open my pores

I know my daughter will be awake soon.

I went back inside to wash my hands and

at the same time, she came down the stairs,

mumbled something and left.

This was typical of her; she’ll be back soon.

I went upstairs to have a shower

Then dressed in a brick red t-shirt and

some baggy jeans before tying my hair up.

I went down stairs and poured out some granola

with soya milk and relaxed into a chair.


After a few spoonfuls, I started to feel nauseous

So I got up to check the date on the milk.

Mistake. Everything around me started to warp and spin.

Water. I grasped onto the kitchen counter

a desperate attempt to stay upright

then dragged myself

threw myself

over the sink

turned on the water,

then it started happening.

For some reason

I was still seeing specks of engine oil on my skin

they grew into thick blots and began boiling

and this is when I started screaming

arm in water, pain not subsiding.

I glanced out the window behind the sink

and saw my mother

who has been dead for five years

standing in the garden.

She beckoned for me to come outside

Her face more accepting than it ever was,

making me almost choke on the longing.

I stumbled along the counter to the back door

and went through too get a better look at her.

At this, her face changed and she shook her head

before brushing her finger across her throat.

I felt warmth pouring down from the new wound on my neck.


That morning: the girl continued


My gaze shifted from the windows to the floor.

In the corner near the flower bed,

I saw the toad from this morning.

Curiously, I walked in its direction.

It bravely sat there facing me.

I stopped in front of the toad, and stomped on it six times.


I didn’t realise that the neighbour’s child had been watching.

His little face red, his lip trembling

Every effort to barricade his tears.

I walk over to him,

crouch to his level, and try to tell him it’s okay.

It felt like I’d been crouched there a long time.

All I saw was kaleidoscope colours.

Then he turned and walked away

as if nothing happened.


I stood up, turned around

and saw my mother on the grass in a red Atlantic.

I collapsed to my knees, felt a stone dig in,

which made me fall onto my side.

Everything hit me like being booted in the face with New Rocks

I remember doing this to her,

How could I have done this to her?

I love her,

I loved her.


Liaurie tec

22 Jun

TEC recording on mums voice. Microphone     Soft spotlight


Mummy –mum – mother You raised me from the womb Nursed my battle scars
Tuting at my Clumsy movements One day I Asked you
Through the furrowed 5 year old brow Why at school do they say That my hair isn’t okay
I think they think I am strange They touch my hair
As you comb through my hair you say Your hair is s gift from your history The thickness of your hair represents a battle survived Each curl passed down from survivors When I told you they make fun Of the Hur of my skin you replied Your skin is a gift from the sun The rich melanin within you is beauty I later questions
Why the teachers called me special Special needs
By the way they Say the words I know they think I am stupid You say
Although you think differently to them You can find a way to explore worlds and words They could never imagine You have me strength to defy their predictions You guided Me through the journey to womanhood I ask you where do I go from here? How do I turn away from
All my fears?
What does it mean to be a woman? You tell me
You are daughter and sister One day wife and mother You are strength
Ferocity and gentleness

I embodied my battles
Wear my scars with pride I will forge my path
To find my own truth
They still touch my hair

Jahrel Patterson SS11 final draft-success

20 Jun

Jahreal Jahrel
Success. What is it? What’s the real meaning?
One answer can sound uplifting. One answer demeaning.
Success. Why is it always a mention?
From your own triumphs. To your own intervention.
Success. Where does it start? Where does it begin?
When you overcome your losses. Or when you always win.
Success. How is it actually rewarded?
Through money, power or simply being applauded.
So I went around and asked people…Success. What’s your definition?
N’ it was interesting to see/hear peoples very own ambition.
Firstly I asked a few students on the fellow course
And well…a couple said money of course.
So I then asked teachers, DJ’s, producers
Managers, parents as well as my tutors.
And they said…
To be happy is key.
When I’m happy with my achievements and my family,
with my growth and those around me.
Mentally, physically and spiritually”
Now I didn’t ask Will Smith, but most have a pursuit for happiness,
where different experiences and decisions act as a catalyst.
So happiness doesn’t mean a smile so big, there’s no more room,
Whilst skipping down the road arm-in-arm like Dorothy and her goons!
So what does he mean? What is it she really meant?
Well One man put it simple. It’s to be content.

Imagine two elderly men sitting around a table.
Both had fulfilment in life and times where things have been unstable.
They’re both retired…and tired.
Except one hired and the other was hired.
This is because one man was the CEO of NEP enterprises.
Whilst the other man was a sales manager at NEP enterprises.
(who’s more successful?)
One man drives a Ford Fiesta…Not his dream car of choice.
But it does still roll like the other man’s Royce.
(Who’s more successful?)
One man owns a mansion in the hills, LAYING with his 25 year old fiancée,
whilst the other man owns a bungalow, LIVING with his 25 year old marriage.
(Who’s more successful?)
“I don’t want to leave all this behind! I worked for all this…to then have nothing?!
There’s a man in in MY place who got there bluffing!
My fiancée…I know she’ll go for another rich man who’s much younger,
When the day comes, when I’m buried 6 feet under.

And my 10 bedroom mansion, if you saw you’d be in awe…as you stand and stare,
but now in my old age I can barely walk up the stairs!
I tell you what happens, when you make more than a mill.
Absolutely…EVERYONE…wants a mention in your will”
As the one man spoke in fear and began to rattle.
It’s like my father said that being successful at what you DO. Is only half the battle.
“I ain’t made of money, I ain’t got a degree,
But I tell you where I live, no stairs for me.
I worked hard and overtime for many hours,
Over many years and that came with many flowers.
Because at home waiting was those hot dinner plates,
as I was grafting so hard to keep that place.
Now I have my love. And at work earned my respect.
I can lay down and rest.
I’ve had more, I’ve had less, and now I’m content.
I can lay down and rest.”

Is one complete when the end is accepted? As It’s difficult to accept the unknown.
is that why it’s easier to look at other people outcomes…that it is our very own?
Is that why we put people in certain positions on a pedal stool.
Ricky Gervais said that in this country we tend to say ‘it can’t be you.’
Why we obsess over celebrating lives of people we call celebrities.
LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE. Be grateful for your own achievements and abilities.
I believe to ANY success…you must get your foot in A door.
And if there’s a KEY to success…better go find that door.
Without walking through you’ll never know where that door proceeded.
So what is success…?
I guess you’ll find out when YOU’VE succeeded.

Dee’s Production SST11 tech script advice

19 Jun

Hey guys

So, the final tech deadline for SST11 is near. As you know, due to artists struggling with some of the deadlines, we decided to push the auditorium one up one more time so now the studio tech script and auditorium ones are to be handed in on the same day, by midnight of the 20th. Please note that these have been pushed already so if there are any problems, please message me. This is my advice for the June 20th performance draft and tech aspects confirmed with production deadline.

Basically, what I would need for this, is an annotated script of your Say Sum-thin 11 performance piece in order to pass this over to the playhouse (as I too have a deadline with them).  If you do not require much tech, that is fine, I would still like a copy of your piece emailed over to as a word doc. A few things…


·         Think about it as if you were reading a play minus the acting directions and trying to set the scene.

·         Even if you are simply focusing on performance and require just a mic and a stand a tech script still has to be sent as a word doc with the title ‘tech script’ over to me.

·         Keep in mind that studio tech is a little more limited than the auditorium but all wishes made so far are fine, projectors, UV lights etc for both spaces.

·         Perhaps if your poem has a shift in tone/mood, you could change colour but this is not a must, and the poem is still fine without

I have put together examples of the 3 ways I would like this information passed over to me using bits of my last Say Sumthin piece as an example.


1: If you do not have any requests, send over your piece with just highlighting tech at the start and end so ie….




“I venom through

soliloquy, confessions strangled, snake-like

by breath.


—————-rest of the poem in between with no changes or shifts till after the last stanza———–


“and say ‘I did not pull the trigger

I did not pull the trigger?


Fade to blackout.


2: Highlight the poem due to shifts in tone/feeling or intensity. For a full example of this, please check Chris’s second draft but emotions can still be evident with just a neutral light.


Red Wash (Confusion)


“Maybe my ears gave in.

Maybe sorrow darkened the moon

from my room but ‘ I can’t cry’.


Emily spills from the world

(Slow transition to neutral)

Last words lie dormant in my mouth

I whisper to take them back”


3: For the more tech reliant pieces, please provide full detail of tech (props, staging, audio) and where you would like change. Went a bit OTT on this one aha



Chair positioned center stage. DIM light over the stage. Woman walks over to chair and sits.


CUE- Heart monitor sound effect/screen projection. (12 seconds)




“I wind back! I wind back!

I wind back, rewind, minutes spilling in time

She was fine, soul confined?

I wind back and back and back

and it’s funny, how the truth is a blood stain

licking my wrists out.




“13th November 2015

A medical team, find Emily



Cue spotlight on dancer 1, 2 and 3


Note: These are the availabilities of the studio show. Please keep in mind that the auditorium will also feature the same and possibly more possibilities to play around with. 


Want to be precise on your light settings and tech script? Here are some aspects to think about and refer to in the script if you want and the effects it may have on your piece.

1: Lighting Position

·         Front light= a light from above at an angle close to 45 degrees. Great for lighting faces and eyes of performers. It is important for a performance requiring high visibility. Be sure to state the degree of intensity for these lights during the tech rehearsal.


·         Top Light= meaning light from directly above. A very dark and dramatic angle on its own to create silhouette and casting colour. It can be used with other lights to deepen images and getting colour on stage.


·         Back Light= From the back at an angle of close to 45 degrees. Used on its own, this too can create a dim atmosphere for creating silhouettes. You can also use it with other lights according to the atmosphere you wish to set.


·         Up light= lighting from the floor. This will be done with a moving profile light to create dramatic and unusual shadows. When used in combination with other angles at a low level, it can brighten or light objects and performers.


·         Side Light= This is lighting from the side of the performance space. Great for emphasising movement. Performers often glow without casting shadows on floors or walls.


·         UV lighting in order to illuminate. Please note that it may at times take some time to brighten so consider the performer before you and exactly when you need this light on.


·         ‘Flooding’ of light is making it larger and ‘spotting’ is getting this smaller if you want to be more specific.


·         LED Wash= Any colour you wish to create is done on a spectrum dependent on the primary colours. The intensity of this can also be discussed.


·         Gobo Lighting= This manipulates the shape and effect of the light such as casting a window projection or stars etc.



-The intensity of the light can greatly shape the performance. Given in percentages from 10% to 100%. Think about the ambiance you would like to create and how much light will be necessary.


·         Intensity can also include fade. How quickly do you want one light to switch to the other? This can be timed for seconds.


·         If a scene is set in the dark but performers still need to be seen consider using dim colours, a back light or dim front light to indicate this etc for visibility.


·         Bold colours are great to indicate mood though it is advisable to use this in moderation and in contrast.


·         A Smoke Machine is also available in order to create ambiance. Please ask for this in the script if you want it.


·         A gel frame may be added to some of the lights. This simply adds colour correction for temperature. So an example would be blue to make the scene and light appear colder or orange to add a warmer feel to it. Again, usage is limited for the studio show.


NOTE: Whilst some people may indeed change their lighting specs during the tech run, this is usually on intensity, visibility and the light used. 


·         If you require props please consider what these are and mention them beforehand so we can try and source these for you. This is not always guaranteed so consider finding some props on your own. Remember: The larger and harder it is to find, the less likely for it to be provided last minute.


·         Use of music and audio is greatly restricted for both shows due to copyright. If sourcing audio, please ensure it is yours or free of use.



·         Light, colour and intensity can be used together to a certain degree. It all depends on the image and ambiance you want to create.


·         Think about the location, time, mood and main source of light.


·         Think of the products and performers on stage and the kind of visibility required.


·       If some of this makes little sense, please do not hesitate to speak with me about it.