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Our Spoken Word and Literature Recommendations

It can be hard to define and categorise many of the spoken word, literature and poetry performances and events at the Fringe; but we’ve tried and here is our coverage.


Daniel James Simpson, writer and performer talks about Dan Simpson: Artificial Ineloquence

What’s the theme of your show?

The coming AI (artificial Intelligence) revolution, and how we’re stuck looking at the screens around us. And how that’s ok!

Describe one of your rehearsals.

As a solo performer, I write and perform everything myself. Rehearsals are solo too, with material tested out on the spoken word and poetry circuit. Typically, I’ll finish a new piece, practice it, learn it, and then add in any extra theatrical elements like music, sound effects, props, projection.

What’s new or unique about the show?

I’m billing myself as a stand-up poet – taking the traditionally pagey, literary form of poetry word and giving it a stand-up feel. I have pieces about clickbait headline poems, the deluge of fake email politeness, and during the show we create a whole-audience poetry selfie. It’s super interactive and entertaining!

How did the show come into being?

I’m fascinated by the rise of technology in our everyday lives, and the way smartphones have changed the world. There’s more to come as AI gets better and work turns into something different as robots take our jobs. Creativity is one are a people think might be safe – but actually, computers are brilliant at making original material so even the poets are unsafe!

How is the show developing?

It’s turned from being a series of poems and set-pieces about different aspects of modern life and tech into something with more of a narrative. I’ve tried to stay neutral about the role screens play in our lives – there’s far too much negativity about it, and it doesn’t help. It’s here, it’s not going away, and actually our super-connected world has many many benefits.

How have you experimented?

By pushing poetry and spoken word into more theatrical place, by using props, flipcharts, projection, sound and music. It’s easy to just stand up and say poems with a few links, but bringing in all the audio and visual elements adds so much to the artform!

What are your favourite shows, and why?

I love Rob Auton and Ross Sutherland’s work. They have such unique ways of looking at the world and creating strikingly original work.

Show dates, times and booking info:

When: Saturday 6th – Sunday 28th August (not 16th), 6.20pm
Where: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Duration: 55 minutes
Tickets: free
Booking and info here

Visit Daniel’s  web site: http://www.dansimpsonpoet.co.uk


INTERVIEW – Spoken Word Theatre Makes a Welcome Return

Max Scratchmann talks about Edinburgh in the Shadows 2


What’s the theme of your show?

After a spectacular run at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Beattie & Scratchmann return with an all-new version of their hugely successful spoken word show about the darker side of Edinburgh’s history!

Want to know the side of the city the tourist brochures won’t tell you about? You’ve come to the right place! Beattie and Scratchmann tell it like it really is in this dark but funny spoken word show about the city’s sinister side with tales and poems of murder, muck and mayhem that reveal the truth behind Edinburgh’s most celebrated sites and characters!

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Mad mixtures of improvisation and herbal tea, constant re-writes and an electric flow of ideas and experiments

What’s new or unique about the show?

A show about Edinburgh by Scottish performers who actually live here all year. We’re dark, we’re funny, we occasionally tell lies. Most of all, we’re not middle-class young men in our twenties. Plus we’re offering a whole heap of new material not included in 2015’s Fringe Review recommended show!

How did the show come into being?

A desire to offer a dark but funny picture of the real Edinburgh rather than the bland fair on offer on the bus tours and tourist traps. Many our audience told us last year that we were head and shoulders above the storytelling of the guides in the more expensive venues.

How is the show developing?


How has the writer been involved? Or describe the process of creating this work.

We are both writer/performers and produce our own material

How have you experimented?

Rather than just write material for ourselves, we’ve been experimenting with dialogues and interactive pieces, plus we’re even looking at puppetry (though that might not make it to the final show!)

Show dates, times and booking info: Cowgatehead Up Two M (venue 32)
@ 6:00 pm nightly
18-27 August 2016

Unticketed, free entry with voluntary collection at conclusion

Company web site: http://beattieandscratchmann.weebly.com