Spread the Word - London Word Festival 2010 Explores the Freedom of Speech and Clever Writers

Posted: 12th February 2010
Josie Long

Sub-titled as 'Looking way beyond the page', this year's London Word Festival 2010 will attempt to present the spoken word through various different mediums, not just recitals. The annual festival is the celebration of language and, unlike many other similar festivals, the events within it sometimes take place in unusual locations.

Based in various East London venues, the festival begins on March 7th and ends on April 1st with many free events. The opening day sees The Chip Shop in Dalston play host to a word-creating day - you suggest a word, they will create a caricature to form part of an installation and an ultimate Word Festival poem to be read out on the closing day. It's free to visit although a donation is expected in order to take part.

Comedy-writers, Josie Long and Isy Suttie (Peep Show) head up the project called 'One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person'. The idea being that for one hundred days you carry out one action once a day to help yourself become that little bit fitter, friendlier or happier depending on what action you have chosen. The idea was launched on December 1st 2009 and will come to its conclusion on March 10th when the two writers plus guests show you what they've been up to, based on suggestions from the public (800 members of). There will also be an auction featuring an exclusive piece of artwork by Suttie, the results of her 100 days 'thing'. £10 for the show at a secret East London venue (announced when you receive your ticket).

There is a night of criminal fiction, film noir and mysterious literary stories on March 12th when Huzzah!Noir present animated interpretations of work by Toby Litt, Ray Banks and Cathi Unsworth at the Toynbee Theatre (£10), while actor and writer Stuart Silver presents his new monologue, 'You Look Like Ants', a piece that explores life and what distracts us from day to day. Bloody Twitter is probably one of them! Silver appears on the 15th at The Courtyard (£9).

Chris McCabe's new play, 'Shad Thames, Broken Wharf', appears at Jamboree, Cable Street on March 18th (£8) and is a tale of the changing face of London's Docklands through the ages, told in the form of an overheard conversation. There are plenty of other 'wordy' attractions during the next week or so until the closing performances on March 31st and April 1st. The former will feature an evening dedicated to the art of storytelling with comedian and writer, Terry Saunders premiering his new story, 'Six and a Half Loves' as well as the revealing of the Chip Shop poem created from the printing venue mentioned at the beginning of the festival. St. Leonards Church is the hosting location for this evening - £8.

The final day welcomes John Hegley to the proceedings for a night of poetry and incidental music as well as an exhibition in conjunction with the Barbican Young Poets. It's free and takes place at the Barbican (Art Gallery area).

Paul Pledger