FEATURE: Chloë Florence – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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UnFOLD (from Lyrix Organix) is an acclaimed live concept led by some of Britains most vital young poets inviting them to recast their words with a classical string ensemble, percussionists and visual artists. A genre-breaking live production and prestigious platform for the future of  spoken word – UnFOLD lies in the space between language, music and illustration. With acclaimed shows at Brighton Festival, Tate Britain, Roundhouse and Love Supreme Festival already under there belt, UnFOLD embarks on their first UK tour.

Chloë  Florence is a Spoken Word Poet (and Theatre-Maker) and the newest member of the UnFold company. She will be performing at Sage Gateshead on 1st November. Chloë’s track Addict’ (a live collaboration with UnFOLD) will be performed exlcusively at Sage Gateshead, alongside a new commission for Sky Arts’ forthcoming Art 50 series.

Addiction inspired by my own experience of addiction and the people I’ve met throughout my life; who seem so happy on the outside but are covering their own issues with socially acceptable self destructive behaviour. The people everyone loves to party with – until they break and no-one wants to know anymore. And they have to drink, smoke, fuck… to survive. The people who convince themselves their vices make them happy but often it’s the vices giving them the ability to connect with other people which makes them happy. Especially in a society where we have become so disconnected. So many people do have addictive personalities, which can be a result of unspoken trauma – addictions can save them but also erase them. 

So, I wanted to give a voice and a stage to these people in an honest, authentic and relatable way that would encapsulate what it means to be an addict.

I was also previously street homeless. In my life, I’ve always felt homeless. I know many young people feel and experience that invisibility these days, especially those living in poverty. Whose voices are rarely heard or platformed. They attempt to live their ‘best life’ while they are young. Cos why not? What else have they got? People are forced to find a home inside destructive places. These people inspire my work heavily as their issues are often Universal but Forgotten. I want to use my art to start conversations about these experiences that aren’t typically ‘fashionable’ to speak about in society or in mainstream media.

There’s a Sarah Kane quote that really stuck with me; ‘They will love me for that which destroys me’. Which kind of sums up what I felt inside for a long time. People love you for your party girl identity, you crave that love but it kills you. Sarah’s work was the first time I EVER finished reading a whole play text. I’d never seen something so brutally honest that spoke to me and made me not feel like my crazy was not just a solo experience. Reading her work, gave me permission to write again. Which I didn’t do for years after dropping out of college, cos bun that.

I felt validated, empowered and I realised that we don’t have to be restricted by the boundaries or elitism in Poetry or Theatre – they are limitless. If you have a story to tell – tell it. You don’t need the permission of anyone. Refuse to be silenced. Also, Art can be therapeutic. It can be powerful but also an important healthy outlet to make sense of things that we struggle to make sense of in our heads. 

A lot of my work at the moment comes from this place – addiction, trauma, finding an identity in unconventional places when your life’s merely seen as a statistic. I want to use my Art to say something others aren’t able to say. 

Within my work, I see myself as an ‘ARTIVIST’; using art for activism. Some of my biggest influencers are female rappers especially Little Simz. Who uses her platform to speak truth and give a voice to the unheard. She doesn’t follow the ‘rules’. Also poets like Joelle Taylor and Lisa Luxx whose powerful poetry and performative styles are honest, relatable, encapsulating and ferocious. They both use their life experience’s to shed light on social issues as well as promoting positive political change within their work. This is something I am to do. 

Lyrix Organix Present UnFOLD at Sage Gateshead on Thursday 1st November.

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