NEWS: DiVerse @ Hope & Union, Stockton | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Kit Rayne

‘Diversity’ is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment, and rightly so. Apples and Snakes, England’s leading organisation for poetry and spoken word, are driven to enhance the ability of everyone in society to access the medium. Sarah Crutwell and Julie Easley, having met through a women’s performance poetry collective run by Apples and Snakes, wanted to push these parameters even further by offering a spoken word event for unheard and under-represented voices in Teesside, and together will host a monthly diversity-focused poetry night across two alternating locations.

DiVerse will provide a platform for poets who identify as women, LGBTQIA+, visible and invisible disabled, refugee or artists of colour to find an engaged audience. Performances will alternate between two venues, the first of which taking place at Hope & Union in Stockton on Wednesday 4th April, and the next at the vegetarian Shanti Café, Saltburn on Friday 4th May.

Sarah explains more about the events. “DiVerse will be a totally unique kind of spoken word night. Packed full of different perspectives in the form of exciting and thought-provoking performances by our DiVerse acts, delivered to a supportive and passionate audience who feel part of the event. It’s an absolute belter of a community focused night and a great way to meet like-minded (or wonderfully different minded) folk! I am beyond excited to be hosting this event! Bring it on!”

The events will be ticketed on a ‘pay what you decide’ basis, making it accessible to those on low incomes, and at Shanti Café (which Julie co-runs) food will be offered for free to refugees who attend the session. Performing at the first event will be Middlesbrough-born MC Ben Jerren Ham-Ying, Darlington lyrical poet Lisette Auton, Umbrella Press founder Kit Rayne and previous National Youth Slam winner Ruth Awolola.

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