Awakening the Written Word

So, last Saturday, May 6th, 2017, we hosted a workshop to discuss and develop ideas seeking to enrich members’ writing specifically with a view to using said words in a public, performance role. Perhaps, also, to write prose that others can use in such situations.

Literature Wales, the national agency sponsoring such activities, provided a list of potential coordinators and I found Martin Daws, Performance Poet, to run the day of workshops and live performance session at the Station Hotel.

A morning session, in Colwyn Bay Library, Martin used as a theory session, during which we worked on spontaneous prose generation – through a game of literary Consequences – and editing – by splicing together hastily written works in pairs, each independently written about the same topic.

And we talked a lot!

After a speedy lunch break, part two, at the NWAMI building on Greenfield Road, we spent a couple of hours dealing with practical issues, like utilising a PA system to broadcast ones voice effectively. Being placed “on the spot” sure allows one to demonstrate ones inadequacies in this department. Still, this was exactly why we wanted to run this day, so the end result was great.

This was demonstrated later, down the pub! At the Station’s upstairs venue Martin gave us a half hour rendition of his new “set”, designed for an upcoming event. It was a powerful piece, utilising words as poems and the spoken word together with vocally experimental, tone utterance and near hypnotic repetition of such.
He sure could use his mike, as well!

For the rest of the evening many members of the group read out and performed a wide variety of their own prose. Much of it, indeed, by now wide awake and highly entertaining. A very enjoyable evening after an excellent day and, I’m sure, the first of many.

So far, my name for the series is:
“The Write Way”.

Well, it seems good to me……….


Chris Hemmings



One thought on “Awakening the Written Word

  1. Literature Wales asked for an assessment of the day. I wrote, as requested

    “a 300 word summary of the event, which examines its successes and/or failings.”
    “payment can only be released on receipt of this summary”!


    Awakening the written word
    A one day workshop set up to discuss and develop skill sets suitable for writers to compose material such that they are confident it will work not only as individually read work but also be suitable to be read aloud to a group of listeners or, further, used in live performance without reference to the physical written words.

    A writers’ circle in Colwyn Bay has been meeting weekly to exchange ideas, inspirations and individual responses to an agreed topic. We have all been impressed by the diverse range and the high quality of responses and have, further, seen the group grow significantly over the two years of its existence. In reading aloud our works, we find, also, a range of approaches, some more polished than others.
    When requested to engage with the Lit Wales Itinerant Scribes programme, it was felt that, initially, we should attempt to address this issue and so enhance the performance quality of our compositions. Bangor Performance Poet Mr Martin Daws accepted my request to run such a day of skill development.

    We wanted to involve the Conwy County Council in the event and so based the first of the two workshops in Colwyn Bay Library, where Martin led a two hour helter skelter through the interactions of words, people and life situations. Commonplace run through the filters of imagination but funnelled back together through teamwork and integration.
    After lunch in the NWAMI building on Greenfield Road, also in Colwyn Bay, we remained in NWAMI for an afternoon session taking our earlier writing as well as additional scribing and running through exercises in microphone and other performance technique. Individuals in the group discovered a lot about themselves that, hours earlier, they might not have imagined was possible!
    Three hours very well spent.

    Performance Session
    For two hours that same evening we took over the upstairs floor of The Station Pub, in central Colwyn, and ran through our newly developed skills. Led by half an hour’s inspiration from our tutor who worked through a number of his more recent poems and tonal structures in a spellbinding style. Thereafter a number of the members of the group performed works from their individual folders, showing a clear boost resultant from the day’s well structured studies.


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