Performance poet, multiple slam champion, musician and CWC member, Jackie Juno, is having a very busy time at the moment. This week, she tells us about some of her recent gigs; and gives details of what’s coming up in the next few weeks, including a very special charity event for trees.
“2020 started for me with a delightful glut of invitations to headline at various spoken word nights, many of which I have not attended before.
What Came Before…
The first was Word Mustard in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset. This is a monthly event which has had a bit of a gap since they lost their venue in the latter half of 2019. My appearance marked their new beginning in the Theatre-in-the-Hut – which is exactly as described – although a large and accommodating hut, seating around 70 people (my guess), with proper stage and lighting.
Both halves of the night began with open mic performers and finished with me doing around 15 minutes. Such a welcoming and appreciative audience, we had an absolute blast! The vibe kept me going all the way home, even through the hideous rain and flooded conditions on the 1.5 hour journey.
The following Tuesday (14th) took me to Swindon, again in mighty floods and dreadful driving conditions. The venue was a wonderful old-school pub called the Beehive. It was like going back in time, stepping through the doors into a great atmosphere and fire blazing in the hearth. I discovered that the performance happens directly in front of the fire. Glad I wore layers and could remove some of them!
The night is run by local poets Nick Lovell and Clive Oseman, who I have often come across at various slams in the southwest. They call it Ooh Beehive! And it is a warm (literally and metaphorically) and friendly evening, with three featured poets plus a plethora of open mic-ers. This month they paid fine tribute to a regular poet who passed away in December. Although I never met him, I felt like I knew him by the end of the night, through his own words which were sensitively read out by our hosts, and by the anecdotes and tributes made by several folks there. My 20 minute slot was met with enthusiastic whoops and loud laughter, cheers and even foot-stamping – what a great audience! My set was just before half-time break which allowed me to sell lots of books from my pop-up shop. The last feature poet was the lovable rogue, Jonny Fluffypunk, who I have known for some years on the poetry scene. His set was also met with a rousing response and the night came to a perfect close with his excellently-crafted material and hilarious dynamic performance. Truly, an unforgettable night!
And What’s To Come…
My next headline slot is booked for Monday 27th January, closer to home at Stanza Extravaganza, at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay. Always a joyous occasion, I have not been to this event for quite some time so I am looking forward to hearing the regulars do their thing. There is a lot of poetic talent in the bay and it is a night I recommend.
Wednesday 29th January is the night of Hartfelt Poetry at the White Hart in Moretonhampstead. This is a new night, I think the second or third event, run by Rich Green and Rachel Basham, two lovely and talented poets who met and became romantically involved at my own open mic night in Chagford a year or two ago!
Chudleigh’s Cabaret Sauvignon, run by our very own Peter Whittle, is the next stop on my World Tour! Sunday 23rd February at the Constitutional Club. I am looking forward to another eclectic night of entertainment there.
On Friday 28th Feb I will be headlining Poetry in the Pub at the Lamb Inn, Sandford.
In Great Torrington on Saturday 7th March, as part of the Festival of Female Voices, I will be running a workshop in the afternoon and hosting Outspoken Poetry Open Mic in the evening.
Wednesday 25th March brings the Word Cafe in Totnes. This is run and hosted by the irrepressible Julie Mullen and is always a brilliant night of top class performers of music and spoken word.
Thursday 26th March is Wonderzoo at the Bloc Bistro in Plymouth.
And in between these, as ever, is my monthly Outspoken open mic event in Chagford (first Wednesday of the month).
I will performing at a very special event on Friday 21st February. Stand-Up for Trees will take place in Totnes with all proceeds going towards tree-planting schemes. See poster for full details.
All these poetry events have several things in common – a strong sense of community and inclusiveness, a shared love of words, an appreciation of creativity, and a true connection between people. I love being a part of the poetry scene, many of my friends are those who I met through poetry. So do make the effort to attend one of these nights, you will thank me for it!”