Tag Archives: sst8

Say Sum Thin Success

3 Mar


After months of planning and preparation, Mouthy took to the stage at the end of February to perform “Say Sum Thin 8”. It was a resounding success, with over 100 audience members for both nights! It’s hard to articulate how much energy was put into every bit of work needed to produce the shows and to name all that participated, in making them as good as they were, is to put every single Mouthy Poet name down.

We would like to thank you, however; as the audience you clicked, clapped and mhmm’d throughout both nights and for a poet to experience that is only going to make them grow in confidence and feel that the work they put in was worth it.

We were privileged on Friday night to play host to First Time Dave, on his ‘Good to Talk’ Cycle Tour. Dave is doing 10 gigs, in 10 cities in 10 days and by the time he had reached Nottingham he had already cycled hundreds of miles and he had many more to go. His charity of choice for Nottingham was Harmless, an amazing service that offers support, training and consultancy to those who self harm; Say Sum Thin 8 and First Time Dave managed to raise £115 for this amazing cause! So thank you to those who donated and please continue to support them in their work. (Harmless Website / Review)

Friday night also saw members of the audience give us a taste of their own poetry in open mic slots, it is a brave thing to do and it was a delight to hear the voices of those who came to hear ours.

On to Saturday, and before the headline show Ideas Tap offered a free workshop with New York Slam Poet Jon Sands. We were made to look at persona poems, challenged in a free write and enjoyed a (totally relevant) game of “I don’t believe you!”. We certainly all took something from the workshop and it was a good moment for the Mouthy’s to relax before the headline show that evening.


The Mouthy Poets Cafe opened at half 7 to a very busy atrium and the show began. Once again there were clicks, claps and appreciation shown throughout – with a choreographed piece which involved doughnuts, armadillos, a jam roly poly and much more. The show finished with Jon Sands performing some of his poems to a ruckus of laughter and acknowledgement of his incredible word play and imagery. If you can, check out his book “The New Clean” and find out more on his website! A big thank you goes to him for being so energetic and bringing that to the stage for us to share.

The show does not end at lights up however, the evaluation process continues as we start to collate the feedback you gave us! This will make Mouthy grow and improve, so that we can continue to provide you with bigger and better performances. You can continue to give feedback of your experience using the hashtag #SST8. We will be picking a random winner from these who will receive a Zine signed by Mouthy & Jon Sands!B-8-kOLWsAEaBEf

We are also still on tour and will be hitting the MAC in Birmingham this Saturday, with guest poet Hannah Silva! Make sure to check out our Facebook event page and community page and our Twitter for updates on what we’re up to.

So thank you, once again, for joining us for Say Sum Thin 8! Weare so grateful that you came to support us and we loved speaking out to you. If you can’t get enough of us…Say Sum Thin 9 is on the 25th of July! Pencil it in!

“I am full up but there is always room for desert”

“You guys are amazing…”

“Excellent, had a brilliant time”

“We ❤ poetry! Thank you XXX”


“Powerful, imaginative and breath-taking. Thank you! X”

“10 out of 10 would poem again”

“Brilliant! First timer and loved every second. Diversity of poems was great. Well done Mouthy!”


Why Say Sum Thin (8)?

23 Feb


With Say Sum Thin 8 fast approaching we thought we’d give you a chance to find out why we’re performing in Djanogly, what you can expect from us and what we do as a collective!

The end of this week (27th and 28th of Feb) sees Mouthy take to the stage at Djanogly City Academy Theatre for their Spring show “Say Sum Thin 8”. Over two nights there will be performances from NYC poet Jon Sands, school kids who took part in a workshop, Mouthy Poets themselves and even possibly you. 

As a Community Interest Company we aim to educate and develop the vocabulary and skills of young people, through spoken word.  We give them the chance to ‘say sum thin’ about their story…which the freedom of spoken word allows to endless levels, and last year we worked with every single student in Djanogly and ran two showcases with them. This was a huge success and we want to show the students of Djanogly the possibilities spoken word has in performance and also we want to continue the strong relationship forged with them. This isn’t just what we think though, the response we had from the events was nothing but positive and we are grateful to those that attended, and more so to the students who took part and showed their community, and the city, how strong their voices are.

“I was moved in all manner of ways by the event, which means you and your students captured the essence of what life is really about and the complexity of emotions we all share.” C. Grindrod

We were also really glad to hear the responses of the students themselves and it was fulfilling to know that we had helped them gain confidence in a society that can be unforgiving to young people. However, this is only the start as we wish to develop the seeds we’ve planted and continue to give a platform, a voice, to the children at Djanogly and the other schools around the city.

“I wanted to tell you all that sometimes I’m not very nice just because I feel bad about some things that have happened. But here I feel like I’m accepted.” Participator 

After the shows we often ask people to fill out evaluation forms; this is so we can provide a better experience to the 15-30 year olds within the collective, so we can improve our performances for you the audience and also to make sure the positives are voiced and the effort put into creating each show is worth it. The audience comments from our Djanogly Festival go to show the importance of our work not just to the collective itself but also to those who watch.

“To have such courage and talent at a young age – you are all inspirational” Audience Member

“There is something beautifully important happening here” Audience Member

We are also aware that performances are often centralised in the main theatres of our cities, we want to combat this and give something back to the local communities which have given us the voices of our collective. Spoken word especially, is for the people; this is thanks to its energy, topical subject matter, method of performance and the platform it provides for people to speak up. Created as an attempt to revitalise poetry it combats the environment which has arguably facilitated poetry’s decline.

These are just two of the reasons we are staging our Say Sum Thin 8 Performance at Djanogly and we hope that you can join us over the two nights to celebrate young local talent, the local community and to enjoy the stories being told.

Ticket Info:

The two nights can be booked online at the Nottingham Playhouse website (Friday / Saturday) but there is a discount for the two nights and group bookings which require you to call their Box Office (0115 941 9419). Concessions are also available!

The Friday night is our scratch show and will include an Open Mic opportunity for people in the audience (thought spaces will be limited). Saturday is our headline performance, where we welcome Jon Sands from New York City to come and say sum thin alongside our Mouthys.

Find out more on our Facebook Event Page and our Website! We’re also on Twitter @MouthyPoets where you can find constant updates of what we’re getting up to!

Other comments:

“Seeing young people find and speak their truths and values should happen more – elevate the voice of young people” Audience Member

“Djanogly student poets – YOU ROCK. I am moved to tears!” Audience Member

“Did you see that though – I was on fire” Djanogly Participant

“We’re a poetry family” Djanogly Participant

On attending “To support Djanogly that gets some negative press and to support the positive” Audience Member

“The standard of the work was high, as was the passion all concerned had put into the project.” C. Grindrod

post evidence

Hayley Green – SST8 Headline – Final Draft

15 Feb

Ode to Our Jam Roly Poly

My flour and butter parcel,

sticky red splurging from your folded corners.

You were Gran’s kisses in the kitchen on Sundays

when arguments boiled over in the living room.

We snuggled in a cuddle of steam,

lamb, slow stewing in the oven.

A little bit of Sunday sugar helps the bile stay down.

Tucked behind the service hatch,

we’d bake you to distract. Spittle sugar loud over

threats of leather belts slapping backs.

On the days the living room boiled into the kitchen,

you wore a cling film coat, left our stomachs –

hungry, (disappointed)

our taste buds tart, our sweet tooth pickled

with every over vinigered cucumber.

A little bit of Sunday sugar helps the bile stay down.

Gran still spooned us sweetners,

we over-hangers –

lumps of hand me down pastry from big brother apple pie

squeezed with strawberry jam so we both bled

the same colour through identical slits I knifed

into our skins.

A little bit of Sunday sugar helps the bile stay down.

Stephen writes: How to layout your poem for the Technical Script.

14 Feb

When we put on shows for Mouthy Poets we are usually provided with a technician who has never been to a Friday session. Whilst members of the group may be familiar with how the show is coming together, what it is about, who plans to do what; the technician will be largely unversed in the set-up of the show. They may know what we need (e.g. a smoke machine) but they don’t necessarily know when and where it is needed. As they will be sat in the tech booth on the night pushing the buttons as the show goes on, it is vital they have as clear a picture as possible of what we want and what they need to do. With this in mind, we create the technical script.

The technical script should map out each poem in its entirety as clearly as possible: staging, lighting, dialogue, etc. Obviously, if your performance entails very little movement or technicality then the script will not be too complex, but it is still important to get the little that you do have in there. As you are e-mailing your final drafts to publishing@mouthypoets.com tomorrow we also ask that you send your poem – formated into a script – to production@mouthypoets.com, too.

Please write your script in Times New Roman and include YOUR NAME AND POEM TITLE IN UPPER CASE BOLD SIZE 14YOUR TECHNICAL NOTES IN RED UPPER CASE SIZE 12YOUR STAGING NOTES IN ITALIC SIZE 12, and your script in standard size 12. If you are unsure of the definitive staging you will use, please leave line breaks at relevant places so that these can be written on by hand once the script is printed.

As an example, here is the scripted version of mine and Cleo’s performance of ‘Ducks’ from Say Sum Thin 7:



MALE: I’m a duck
swimming in the water.
I’m a duck,
I like lakes not seas.

All my friends try to tell me
“fly south for the winter”
But I don’t care, cuz I’m alright
with the lake I’ve got here.

I’m a duck,
my friends say I’m stubborn,
but I’m just a happy little mallard
where I am in Nottingham.


FEMALE: I’m a duck;
I fly south for the winter,
So fly with me if you want to keep warm!

Fly south with me;
fly south for the winter!
I think this year we’re headed
to the Mississippi river.


FEMALE: It’s actually,
pretty fun and wicked –
We soar over coastlines and mountains
and navigate with help from the stars!


MALE: You’re a duck…

FEMALE: I’m a duck!

MALE: …and you’re pretty fit.
So I might…

BOTH: Fly south for a bit!


Please e-mail your scripted poem to Afrah at production@mouthypoets.com by tomorrow (Sunday, 15th February) ATTACHED TO THE E-MAIL AS A SEPARATE DOCUMENT.

The Friday Workshop: Take 5

7 Feb

This week we had Panya the Poet taking the workshop. The focus this week, with only 3 to go until Say Sum Thin 8, was getting feedback and really developing the work we had already.

As a quick starter task we were asked to create a poem from a sheet with a random selection of sentences and of course what you get to see is the variation of the minds of Mouthy. Some very surreal texts were created and others very serious but it worked towards picking out strong lines that spoke to us – something that can be useful when editing and creating a poem to see which lines strengthen it, a point picked up on last week by Roger Robinson.

Split into groups we worked for some time so that each person could get detailed feedback on their poem, something especially important as we get ever closer to the big day!

Today (Saturday 7th) some of Mouthy are in Cambridge to perform on tour at the Mumford Theatre. You have to admire the ability of these guys to go to uni/ to work/ write for SST8/ perform on Tour and then do everything else you want and need to do in life. There is only one more tour stop before SST8 and all production teams are working hard to create an incredible event for YOU.

SO. Head over to the event page for Say Sumthin 8, get a taste for what you can expect.

Buy Tickets too: Scratch and Headline.

Check out our Facebook for what we do.

Check out our Twitter for updates of the day to day Mouthy life.

Check out our YouTube to see how awesome spoken word can be.

Check out our website; for upcoming events, the new Poet Focuses, news and everything you could dream of!

Task To Go

Head to a public place and discreetly position yourself somewhere you can eavesdrop on a conversation.

Listen to what they’re saying and try and pick up on a line that interests you then develop it. Take that line and create a poem or piece of prose.

Inspiration for poems are all around us, you just need to listen up and hear it!

The Friday Workshop: Take 4

3 Feb

This weeks Mouthy workshop welcomed the awesome guest speaker Roger Robinson to help better our poetry in general; through structure, lexical choice, metrics and phonology. We also welcomed Ideas Tap to the fold for a collaborative and packed night where some really interesting ideas were raised.

Roger Robinson is a Trinidadian writer and international performer who has lived in London for the past 20 years. He’s had one man shows, books, prizes and influenced the black-British canon. We were thus in amazing company and everyone left the workshop having gained something. The event was live tweeted and can be followed up on the @mouthypoets page with the hashtag #Workshop4 (make sure to click ‘All’ rather than ‘Top’ to view in chronological order – as the # has been used before).

Some of the ideas Roger explained caused controversy, such as ‘any adjectives…get rid of them’. On further looking into this we discovered that sensory adjectives are okay and of course you have to remember that you can create noun phrases with them too, in which case it isn’t an adjective anymore – so don’t worry too much! Since being told this I can’t help but notice how little adjectives are used in ‘good’ poetry, so despite my initial rebuttal I see sense in it.

It was great listening to and participating with Roger, who was eager to be challenged and to hear our efforts. Not only this but he was very succinct in his approach to offering advice and ideas for our poetry. One of the most important I think was his structure for all poetry. MISS

M – Music: how does it sound? Is it consistent? Use of assonance, sibilance, plosives

I  – Imagination/Imagery: the senses, your inspiration and the possibility of a poem

S – Story: what is the point of focus? What are you telling the reader/listener? Is it coherent?

S – Structure: this is your armoury, what kind of form for the purpose? Graphology and it’s part in reading the poem.

Roger believed that Story and Imagination come first, they are vital to your work, though this is not gospel. Though through such a simple framework you can really help keep a poem focused and ensure that what you create is a balanced whole rather than merely good in certain aspects.

There are plenty of ideas from Roger Robinson on the Twitter feed, please do check it out and work through a poem to see how you can better it but we will pick one out for you, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Make sure to check out Roger Robinson’s website! Ideas Tap, thank you so much for coming along and finally.

Say Sum Thin 8 is fast approaching. Get Tickets for our Scratch Show and Headline Show NOW!

Task To Go

Cliches and how they have to go.

Cliches are bad. They show how little you’ve been reading.

If you have a cliche in your poem, get rid of it…or subvert it!

“You must learn to walk before you can run” – NO.

“My love is like a blossoming flower” – NO.

“My head is in the clouds” – NO.

If you can create an image that no one else can conceive then your imagery and writing is strong. If you can’t find that imagery, get rid of that cliche! Simple. As. That.

The Friday Workshop: Take 3

25 Jan

The third workshop.

35 days until Say Sum Thin 8.

This Friday we worked on the relationship with the poem; we played with the way in which it was performed focusing on the kind of emotional state the narrator was in. Quite often you will know how you think the poem should sound, possibly without thinking much about it and so Friday night was about changing the poem – not with words but by voice. Experimentation is one of the key elements to development and in an effort to change the way we thought about our poems, much like with the verb synonyms last week, we were asked to change the narrator’s emotional state.

Past this task we also looked at how others performed our poems; hearing the works read by someone other than the author is an interesting and useful experiment, it allows you to take a step back from your poem and really listen to it for once.  In our case it seemed to be very useful as it sorted a few key issues on how to phrase sections, how to portray the character and how to present the persona.

Knowing your persona is vital to a convincing performance, you need to know the character you are creating to really convince those listening and to strengthen the overall poem. The task we were provided to do this was to answer a series of questions about the poem’s character: What is your age? Where do you sleep? What is your greatest fear? Amongst others, these questions asked for both simple and intimate knowledge of the persona so that the relationship with the poem, they key word for the workshop, was strong and certain.

Looking forward from this workshop we have the Cambridge tour date on the 7th, find info and ticket links here and we are very excited to announce Hollie McNish will be supporting the Mouthy Poets on the stage!

Say Sum Thin 8 is on its way to being absolutely awesome: we now have flyers, so Nottingham people look out for them as we’ll be bombarding the streets and shops from now and we’re starting to work out technical parts of our production. BE EXCITED. BE THERE. GET TICKETS.

“Task to Go”

From each workshop we will now put out a task on this review section to let you guys try it out at home! Let us know how you get on by contacting our Twitter / Facebook or by commenting below!

This week we looked at projection and the pitch at which we should be performing our poems at…unsurprisingly this means that often we aren’t doing it right.

To pick your perfect pitch:

– Place two hands over each other on your sternum (or if there are more than just you you can place a hand on their back)

– Pick a sound that makes your chest vibrate (HUH seems to work)

– You will sound silly but now make this sound over a varying amount of pitches and see where your chest vibrates most

– Congratulations you have found your perfect projection pitch!