Just how connected are we? Skype Me! brings together writers from Sheffield and around the world for an evening of international writing, with performances in person and on screen beamed into Showroom 5, plus the premiere of Sent/Received, an SMS ghost script by Andrew Kells. Join us for a journey across continents and time zones, from the United States to Europe and Asia.
In Sheffield, Rob Hindle will be reading from a new poem-drama about the last weeks in the life of Federico Garcia Lorca and Chella Quint will be putting in an epistolary performance of 'It's Not You, I Just Need Space' (interplanetary letters of love and rejection). Gaby Bila-Günther will be stopping by from Berlin, Joe Reynolds will be performing Kenneth Penfold's radio drama 'Closure', and there'll be poetry from Liz Cashdan and Word Life's Joe Kriss.
On Skype, we'll be hearing from the master of irony himself, Canadian spoken word artist Jeff Cottrill, and Texas jam poet Thom the World Poet. We'll also be stopping by two writers in South Africa, Liesl Jobson and Tanya Chan-Sam, who'll be reading her story 'How God Blessed Africa', Miwa Kurihara on the tsunami in Japan, and Rafael de Cózar in Seville.
Sent/Received is a new SMS ghost script by Andrew Kells, in which text messaging turns out to be the only means of communicating between slipped time streams. Featuring Jonathan Greaves and Andrea Milde (director).
Joe Kriss is a poet and editor based in Sheffield. His work has appeared in various print and online magazines, and he's shared stages with poets such as Polar Bear, Tim Turnbull and Derrick Brown, as well as folk musician Laura Marling and hip hop MCs Stig of the dump and Dr Syntax. He is creative writing editor for Now Then Magazine, and runs Word Life, one of Sheffield's leading showcases for literature and music.
Chella Quint is a comedy writer and performer originally from Brooklyn. She has toured her shows at Ladyfest festivals and around the US and Europe, most recently at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Her play Leave to Remain won a rehearsed reading at the Crucible Theatre in 2009. 'It’s Not You. I Just Need Space.' takes us on an epistolary journey through the stars, uncovering the deep and trivial (mostly trivial) concerns of celestial bodies.
Gaby Bila-Günther is a writer and performer currently based in Berlin, where she runs the monthly performance and poetry event FUEL @ Schokoladen. She has been described as ‘oddly poetic’ and ‘flamboyant and upbeat’, and has performed her work in laundromats, beauty parlors, elevators, and trams, as well as more conventional venues across Europe.
Rob Hindle is the author of Neurosurgery in Iraq (Templar, 2008), Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood 1864 (Templar, 2006), and The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman (Longbarrow, 2009). His poetry has appeared in magazines such as Dream Catcher, Iota, and Staple, and he is Chair of the first Sheffield Poetry Festival (2011). 'Yoke and Arrows' is a new poem-drama exploring the last weeks of Federico García Lorca at the start of the Spanish Civil War.
Liz Cashdan has written two solo collections of poetry and co-authored two more. She teaches at Sheffield University and for the WEA and has won several awards, such as the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Poetry Prize and the Poetry Business Prize. Liz has performed in many venues in Sheffield and around the world, and undertook an artist's residency in Iceland in 2009.
Kenneth Penfold lives in Durham and graduated in Media Writing at the University of Sunderland. He has written a number of radio and TV scripts, and also runs a football blog. Closure is a radio play about a boy struggling to fit in and dealing with the death of his dad.
Thom the World Poet is a regular visitor to Sheffield, stopping by every year on his annual UK tour to visit schools and give workshops and performances. Co-founder of the Austin International Poetry Festival, Texas, Thom is a fluid, no-holds-barred performer, delighting in poems of the moment, and an exponent of poetry jamming — improvising to music. With over 100 books, he is also a prolific author.
Tanya Chan-Sam is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and is finishing an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. Have started off in a cluth and brake factory, she now runs workshops with schools and community groups, and her stories have appeared in a wide range of publications. 'How God Blessed Africa' is a story about the transformative power of contrition and forgiveness, set in modern-day South Africa.
Jeff Cottrill is a Canadian writer and spoken word artist based in Toronto, Canada. Jeff excels in the art of satire, with macho jocks, manipulative girlfriends and pompous literary elitists all feeling his ire. Jeff guested at Spoken Word Antics in March 2007 — listen to an interview with him on the Antics Sound Archive. His latest CD is Clown with a Coat Hanger (2009).
Liesl Jobson lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and is a writer of poetry and flash fiction. She is editor of Poetry International Web South Africa, and has two collections out, 100 Papers <2008) and View from an Escalator (2008). Liesl has performed her work in venues around the world, including South Africa, the UK and the USA.
Miwa Kurihara graduated at Bath Spa with an MA in Creative Writing and currently lives in Japan, where she is a teacher and translator. She will be reading a poem about Japan's recent tsunami, and some haiku.
Rafael de Cózar is a poet, painter and novelist living in Seville, where he was until recently Professor of Spanish Literature. A precocious artist as a young man, he later turned to literature, winning the Vargas Llosa Prize in 1996 for his novel El Corazón de los trapos. He has published several volumes of poetry, and will be reading from Entre Chinatown and Riverside, inspired by his experience of New York in the mid 1980s.
The evening is organised by Robin Vaughan-Williams, who will be co-hosting it with Sarah Thomasin, in association with Off the Shelf Festival. Robin is a poet, live literature producer, and author of The Manager. He ran Spoken Word Antics in Sheffield for five years, produced collaborative poetry and music events for Off the Shelf in the Winter Gardens and Sheffield Cathedral, and co-organises the Word of Mouth series in Nottingham.
Kelly Malone and Shonan Kothari Skyping in from New Zealand at Word of Mouth on 19 May 2011
The concept of a Skype night began with a Skype poetry set Robin put on for Life 2.0 at Access Space in October 2008, also for Off the Shelf. 'Skype love' interwove poems about love and communications with appearances by writers in London, Montana, and Reykjavík. Then in May 2011 this was developed into the concept for a whole evening at Word of Mouth: Nottingham and the World, with writers appearing from as far away as Mumbai, Auckland, and Pennsylvania.