The Last Word Festival Returns to Camden's Roundhouse
An annual favourite at the Roundhouse for the last six years, The Last Word Festival offers over 30 powerful performances which blur the lines between spoken word, poetry, music, circus, and cabaret. Spanning 19 days, the festival platforms compelling and underrepresented voices exploring topics of politics, race, identity, gender, body positivity, mental health, and more. Taking the definition of spoken word literally, the festival will also feature everything from live podcasts and film screenings to workshops and supper clubs. For more information and tickets please visit here.
A highlight of The Last Word, the Roundhouse Poetry Slam will returns on 6th June for the 13th year. The biggest names in spoken word will sit on the judging panel in this landmark annual occasion, hosted by renowned poet Joelle Taylor, showcasing the most electrifying talent from around the UK. This year also sees heats taking place in Gloucester, Guildhall on the 5th May and Hull Truck Theatre on 7th May. Previous poets include former Young People's Laureate for London Caleb Femi and the internationally-renowned poet, writer and Roundhouse Poetry Collective tutor Bridget Minamore.
On 13th June, Sudanese-Australian broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied will be speaking about her experiences as a young Muslim woman of colour. Yassmin founded her first organisation, Youth Without Borders, at the age of 16 and has since travelled the world speaking to governments, NGO's and multinational companies on a range of topics surrounding female empowerment, young people, and people of colour. Her TED talk, What Does My Headscarf Mean to You?, has been viewed over two million times and was chosen as one of TED's top ten ideas of 2015.
Written from the perspective of a self-proclaimed young underclass lesbian, Roundhouse Resident Artist Chlo? Florence's semi-autobiographical solo show Smoke Weed Eat Pussy Everyday on 8th June will take the audience on a journey through London's ever-changing party and rave culture, from illegal raves to gay clubs. Chloë is a founding member of Shutdown Collective, part of Roundhouse Poetry Collective, has been longlisted for the Outspoken Poetry Prize and is a Vault Festival New Writers Award Winner.
Listed as one of the 100 most influential LGBTQ+ people in the UK, celebrated poet and drag queen Dean Attawill invite guests to don their feathers for a night at The Black Flamingo Cabaret, a sumptuous display of wordplay and gender-defying drag featuring black and queer performers.
A circus-performer, drag-artist, and lecturer at Stockholm University of the Arts, John-Paul Zaccarini is nothing if not versatile. The self-professed dragademic will perform The MixRace MixTape, a critique of identity politics that celebrates diversity at the intersections of gender, class, race, and sexuality through humorous stories, rap, poems and maybe even a circus trick or two.
For one night only, Syrian Supper Club will be on hand to gather people together and introduce them to Syria's rich culinary culture. There will be poetry performances to keep diners entertained, and all the money raised will go towards funding aid projects for those affected by the conflict in Syria.
On the 16th June, The Clink will be offering a delicious two-course traditional pub lunch. In partnership with Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service, each dish will be prepared and served by prisoners currently training in Professional Cookery. The afternoon will feature in conversations with leaders and artists in their field including Joelle Taylor and Adam Kammerling, exploring themes of art, reform, and masculinity.
The night before on 15th June, Brother Portrait, Nadeem Din-Gabisi and Germane Marvel of acclaimed London jazz collective STEAM DOWN will host Words, Rhymes & Steam, an evening of live music and poetry centered around universal vibes and uncompromising truths spoken to the backdrop of hip-hop, jazz, soul, grime and afrobeat.
Other highlights include:
- What Words Are Ours? - 6th June - Poetry-clown Talia Randall and some very special guests perform a tongue-twisting, thigh-slapping, tear-jerking British Sign Language poetry-cabaret show.
- FATTY FAT FAT - 9th June - a funny, frank and provocative show about living in a body the world tells you to hate from Katie Greenall and Daisy Hale.
- Unbraided - 6th June - 2018 Roundhouse Slam winner, Rakaya Esime Fetuga's theatrical exploration of one girl growing up black and Muslim in London.
- BORN::FREE Presents: Veranda - 13th June - a curated and relaxed evening of poetry in celebration of contemporary Black British poetics of past, present, and possible futures.
- Tomorrow's Poets - 11th June - some of the UK's most exciting new voices perform alongside grime-poet icon Debris Stevenson.
- BoxedIn: CLASH - 21st June - What's better, North or South? Two team captains represent their ends, selecting the team of their choice in a bid to win this incredible spoken word battle.
- The Art of Self Care - 22nd June - a day of talks and workshops curated by poet and producer Hannah Walker on mental health in the arts sector, delivered in partnership with PIPA; CALMand UKTHEATRE
Marcus Davey, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Roundhouse says:
"Spoken word has the power to bring us together and has the power to challenge and change society - something we need now more than ever. The Last Word Festival is always a personal highlight in the Roundhouse's calendar, bringing together some of the most exciting emerging and established voices in spoken word today. The Last Word Festival is a moment when underrepresented voices with different perspectives take centre stage to confront topical and important themes including race, identity, gentrification, loss and mental health issues."
From poetry to podcasts, rap battles to supper clubs, Roundhouse's spoken-word extravaganza The Last Word Festival has it all. For more information and tickets please visit here.
Poetry Slam Pop-Up at Tottenham Court Road
Roundhouse Poetry Slam
Roundhouse Poetry Collective Live
Parris is Dreaming
What Words are Ours?
Losing the Night
A Show About Trains
Smoke Weed Eat Pussy Everyday
Fatty Fat Fat
UniSlam - Tomorrow's Poets with Debris Stevenson
Double Bill: Cheerleader & Coming to the Water
Yassmin Abdel Majied
Film Fund Screening
BORN::FREE Presents: Veranda
Badass Mums Live
The Lounge by Manor the Latekid & Friends
The Black Flamingo Cabaret
THIS: In Progress
Words, Rhymes & Steam
The Clink Pop-Up Sunday Lunch
Women Must by Kat Francois
Syrian Supper Club
The MixRace MixTape
+ more to be announced soon