Wolverhampton Arena Theatre 1st July The Quiet Compere Bios and photos

Dave Pitt

The convention is for Dave Pitt to say how he’s a performance poet, playwright, a third of the Poets, Prattlers and Pandemonialists, a fifth of Stories From the Smoke Room, Arena Theatre Associate Artist and Shouty MC and then go on about winning awards and stuff. But conventions are just there to make you feel comfortable and sometimes, it’s nice to get out your comfort zone, ay it?

Mogs mostly writes, what he laughingly describes as, ‘humorous poetry’.

He regularly performs at open mic events and is a member of 2 writing groups based in Stourbridge in the Black Country.

He has had 2 books published by Black Pear Press.

 ‘Poems Your Parents Won’t Like’. Which is aimed at the younger reader, but should be safe for adults to read if supervised by a responsible child.

‘Griff’ – a children’s novel about a stone dog that comes to life.

You can hear him on SoundCloud and Youtube, or get more info on his website:

http://johnnymogs.co.uk/

Casey Bailey is a writer, performer and educator, born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham, UK. Casey is the Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020 – 2022. Casey’s second full poetry collection Please Do Not Touch was published by Burning Eye in 2021. Casey’s debut play ‘GrimeBoy’ had a sold out run at Birmingham Rep in April 2022. He is a Fellow of the University of Worcester and in 2021 was awarded an honorary doctorate by Newman University.


Alex Jakob-Whitworth is based in Cumbria, near the Lake District (but up on the fells, where there is more wind).

The first poem she “performed” was at an open mic, written on the back of an envelope an hour before – truly! Alex attended a series of workshops during lockdown – was hooked and hasn’t stopped scribbling since.  To someone who talks too much – poetry is a welcome channel.

She enjoys the arrival of voices in her poems, the natural world; enabling near mythology to step in, and letting the pen go for a walk.

Priyanka Joshi is a London-born Wolverhampton-based performance poet.

Having ventured onto the spoken word stage just 3 years ago, she has gone on to become a multi slam champion, poetry headliner and placed 3rd in the UK SLAM championships in March earlier this year.

Her emotive body of work explores love, identity, mental health and motherhood through the lens of a British Asian female. Prepare to laugh, cry and have your heart break.

Gerald Kells is a poet from Walsall, sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes all three at once. He has performed in a number of slams, including winning the Shrewsbury Festival slam. He won the Sandwell leg of the ‘Stay Up Your Own End Competition during lockdown. His work has also been included in a number of magazines and anthologies and has published a collection of 51 Poems (called 51 Poems). He has a YouTube channel as well as poems on Soundcloud. He also likes walking, gardening (after a fashion) and going round art galleries to get inspiration.

Emma Purshouse

Emma Purshouse was the first poet laureate for the City of Wolverhampton. 

She’s a poetry slam champion and performs at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK.   

Appearances include, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude, and Womad. She has been a support act for John Hegley, Holly McNish and Carol Ann Duffy.

In 2017 Emma won the ‘Making Waves’ international spoken word competition – judged by Luke Wright. 

Her children’s collection ‘I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat’ (Fair Acre Press) won the poetry section of the Rubery Book award in 2016. Her collection ‘Close’ (Offa’s Press) was shortlisted for the same award in 2018. 

Her debut novel ‘Dogged’ is published by Ignite Books. 

Emma’s poem ‘Catherine Eddowes Tin Box as a Key Witness’ came 3rd in the National Poetry Competition in 2021.

https://www.whatsonlive.co.uk/…/the-quiet-compere/275340/

Quiet Compere 2022 – Morecambe – Stop 3

Return to the bay

I went back to Morecambe, a place I fell hard for last year. One of the places I felt I could escape from the lockdown hangover and find pockets of normal, where I met such a supportive and friendly bunch of creatives. I return when I can. On arrival, I went for some drinks with my co-host, Matt Panesh and on my way home I found myself almost passing Popworld. I asked how much the entrance charge was and it was free so instead of seeing that as a reason not to go in, I decided to venture inside as I could leave when I was ready.

I made friends with a group who were out celebrating the birthday of their 23-year-old son and was dancing with son, sisters and their Dad. A good two-hour dance with a couple of Smirnoff Ice bottles. I was still up for a sea-swim by 10am and joined Matt in the cold bay. The hangover was banished!

Workshop at The Nib Crib

I ran a workshop at The Nib Crib with many of the creatives I had met on my previous visits and a couple of people new to the venue who were attending both workshop and reading at the open mic. The variety and quality of the pieces produced was impressive and some new poetry connections were made.  

West End Playhouse

We started with an excellent open mic section from LaGrif, Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest, Voirrey Wild, Jim Lupton, Louise Hart and Rebecca Mélusine Samuels.

Matt stormed the open mic hosting and treated us to a couple of his own poems from his book Tribe: Collective Monkey Poets.

Showcase poets: I loved the fact the event was so varied in style. I think, if I put a bid in for 2023 I will make the variety a part of it. 10-minute platform slots for storytellers, comedians, prose writers, short excerpts form one person shows, verse novellas, flash fiction, pretty much anything you can do with words in ten minutes. Zoe and JJ Journeyman’s sets in particular, had these bid-writing cogs seriously firing.

J J Journeyman

I enjoyed JJ’s props (a hi-vis poetry vest and eye pad – sigh! and a suitcase he took on his trip dowsing for poetry). I liked the playful rhyme of wiser and Trip Advisor. JJ stepped in at quite short notice when one of our other performers could not perform and he wrote the piece especially for The Quiet Compere Tour. At the end of JJ’s set Martin Palmer had one task to throw a Paddington bear into the suitcase…

I was amused by the fact Martin had to take to the stage immediately after failing to throw Paddington into a suitcase. I was impressed he remembered the name of The Quiet Compere mascot, Alex, the non-binary komodo dragon and greeted them as he took to the stage showing he has an affinity with some of the cuddly animal kingdom even if he was not able to throw them accurately. 

Martin Palmer

I love the music in Martin’s line ‘damp pet millipede on a doily’ a surprising contrast between doilies and insects and ‘the disused lidos of our dreams’.  Martin read poems about the sea air bringing ‘notions of childhood.’

I definitely feel more childlike when hanging around in Morecambe, scouring shores for sea-glass, taking brisk swims and swapping hats, which somehow became a thing during my two visits last year.  I did leave my hat behind at the B & B but the host sent it to me and said not to worry about the postage, so I sent some of my poetry books for his guest library. Bit of bartering.

Hat swapping – a new Morecambe tradition

Zoe Lambert

Zoe used props well – the coat, Awake! magazines and a Count Duckula diary. To me, as a teenager of the 90s there is a lot of charm in the references that date this piece (Duckula and Tammy Girl, to name two).  Zoe told us ‘at thirteen I know how to say no to boys’ but that resolve and confidence changes with age, which is telling and true.

Sarah Corbett

Sarah treated us to a poem stuffed with singing comparisons that was like a lullaby, ‘he was pulse to her beat’, ‘she was sky to his fall,’ and ‘a flower grown for a word dropped in soil’. There was a lot of detailed landscape in Sarah’s pieces and she told us of ‘closed in valleys, like gossip.’  

Peter Kalu

Such concise observation was apparent in Peter’s ‘this is how we say hello/this is how we say goodbye’ piece. The line ‘the sun rose on nothing new’ has stayed with me.  And the Ukranian refugees poem that tells us ‘you cannot erase a bird’s memory of flight’ was beautiful and fitting.

It amused me that after Peter’s money-throwing (he asked us to throw notes at him) and the universe gifted me a tenner on the prom the next day, blowing along with no-one chasing it, so I took it as tour income from the universe.  

Big Charlie Poet:

Big Charlie talks eloquently about depression and anxiety. ‘I don’t want to admit I am struggling at a time I should be happy.’ And ‘light will come if we just let it.’

And, from The Touch of you:

‘I know the touch of you

And how it makes me feel like I’m worth saving.’

And there was an after party, a hangover, a Sunday morning sea-swim and a long train ride home. Next up Bradford City Library on 11th June.

Oh! And I will be back in Morecambe for The Morecambe Poetry Festival in September.

Link to tickets here: Morecambe Poetry Festival 2022 Tickets | Morecambe Winter Gardens Morecambe | Fri 16th September 2022 Lineup (skiddle.com)

Bradford City Library Event Quiet Compere poets for 11th June 2022

Steve O’Connor

Steve O’Connor is a Mancunian living in West Yorkshire, where he teaches creative writing at colleges and libraries and runs bespoke distance learning courses. He devised and co-hosted Free Up, which revolutionised the Manchester poetry scene, worked with Write Out Loud and transformed their Trafford-based poetry open mic night, and co-edited all three volumes of Best of Manchester Poets. Steve’s Poetry collection, extraňo, was published by Flapjack Press in 2019. He wants more people to write; it’s his mission in life.

Showcase Poets

Nabeela Ahmed

Nabeela Ahmed is a writer, multilingual poet, spoken word artist and storyteller. She writes and shares her work in English, Urdu and Pahari. Her poetry was the main feature of Keighley Arts and Film Festival in 2020. She teaches creative writing and poetry workshops. She has had poems published in England, America, Pakistan and India. She self published her book, Despite our Differences via Amazon in 2018 and is currently working on her novel.

Trevor Alexander

Trevor Alexander is a retired Chemical Engineer living in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Since retirement in 2013, he has taken up writing, mainly poetry. To date he has had a number of poems published in anthologies and magazines in the UK and USA, in addition to his own book published in 2017. Trevor has also read his work at several Literary Festivals and is a regular contributor at poetry/spoken word groups.

David Driver

David Driver is an English writer, author, published poet, storyteller and broadcaster born and bred in Yorkshire.

He has written a novel, short stories and poetry for children and adults. David has performed with The World Storytelling Café, https://worldstorytellingcafe.com/ been involved with Settle Stories. His work has been published both in the UK and the USA.

In September 2020 three of his poems were published in `Viral Verses, Art in Exceptional Times`, https://www.viral-verses.com/ 

The ELI 24 project brought a successful bid to Silsden in October 2020 as part of Bradford`s, Culture Is Our Plan.

Sharena Lee Satti

Sharena Lee Satti, a poet and independent artist from Bradford whose inspiring words have been inscribed on park benches in Bradford to uplift local residents on their local park walks. Nominated for the National Diversity Awards in 2022 and as one of the ’21 of 2021′ creatives most likely to impact Bradford’s cultural scene, Sharena is a familiar voice on local and national radio. Her poetry collection She was published by Verve poetry press in 2020. Her work focuses on social and environmental issues.

Katheen Strafford

Kathleen Strafford is a graduate of Trinity University holding an MA in creative writing. She has been widely published on webzines and anthologies. Her first collection of poetry Her Own Language was published by Dempsey and Windle in 2017. Kathleen’s second collection Wilderness of Skin was published by Yaffle in 2019. She is the chief editor of Runcible Spoon Webzine and publishing. Her new collection Girl in the Woods and pamphlet Life Under Glass will be published this year

Nick Toczek

Nick Toczek is a Bradford writer and performer who has published more than fifty books, released dozens of recordings and done other stuff. For example, he’s a best-selling children’s poet, a professional magician and puppeteer, a journalist and radio presenter, and a bald bloke who has won prizes for his sudoku skills and for being able to eat hotter curries than is normal.

‘The most exciting and visual performer we have this side of Benjamin Zephaniah.’ – New Musical Express.

‘Toczek is bitter, disturbing and political.  His language gets harder and more effective with each publication.” – The Guardian.

FREE EVENT – Showcase and open mic tickets available here:

The Quiet Compere Bradford City Library Showcase and open mic Tickets, Sat 11 Jun 2022 at 17:30 | Eventbrite

Free 90 minute workshop (230-4pm) tickets here (limited to 10 attendees):

Quiet Compere Bradford City Library Prompts Workshop Tickets, Sat 11 Jun 2022 at 14:30 | Eventbrite