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Love Words? Love Nottingham? Love Lyric Lounge at The Nottingham Festival of Words!

The East Midlands’ celebrated travelling spoken word festival comes to Nottingham Festival of Words. For this special Storytelling Lyric Lounge we presents a jam-packed programme of nationally acclaimed storytellers, live literature performances, music, workshops and open-mic for all to enjoy.



Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB
From 6pm     Doors open: 5.30pm,
Tickets   £5


Storytelling Special


Joel Stickley (MC), Sophie Snell, Mark Gwynne Jones, LiTTLe MACHiNe with Headline act: Shonaleigh


Tickets  Available from:

Nottingham Contemporary (in person, cash payment only)
Nottingham Playhouse (in person & by telephone T: 0115 941 9419)
Online at
On the door (subject to availability)


Lyric-Flier-Notts-1 Lyric-Flier-Notts-2



6pm   Cafe/Bar

WORDWORMS! A show of poetry and storytelling

Meet the boy with the eye on his index finger, make friends with a giant toad and discover what not to say to someone you fancy… In a fast, funny and thought provoking show, Mark Gwynne Jones (“Inspired” The Guardian) introduces some extraordinary characters and leads you to a place where words are alive and the impossible is possible!


6pm – 7.30pm  Studio

Storytelling Taster Workshop

Join Sophie Snell for a taster workshop introducing the key skills for “telling” an oral story.  Learn how to remember the story, and find the words and the confidence to share a tale amongst friends.

To book a place, contact Writing East Midlands – t: 0115 959 7932

/ e:


6.45pm Café/Bar

Storytelling teatime

Join us for a bite to eat and a poetic performance from


Classic poems set to music

It’s poetry – but not like you’ve heard or seen it before!

“The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world.” (Carol Ann Duffy)


7.15pm Café/Bar

Storytelling Open Mic

Featuring Poet Laureate for Lincolnshire and author of the book 100 Ways To Write Badly Well, Joel Stickley “A highlight of the spoken word scene.” Sunday Times

Do you have a short story to tell? Sign up on the night for an Open Mic slot and showcase your storytelling skills to live audience.


Headline Show       

8.30pm Café/Bar


One of the leading storytellers on the British scene and among Europe’s last surviving Drut’syla, holders of Jewish folk-tales passed from Mother to Daughter through hundreds of generations, Shonaleigh presents a show full of ancient wisdom and present day wit, which will send you home either chuckling or arguing.

80 minutes (plus interval)


10.15pm        Café/Bar

LiTTLe MACHiNe will round up the evening with more delightful classic poems set to music.


About our performers

Joel Stickley (Lyric Lounge MC)

Joel Stickley is the Poet Laureate for Lincolnshire and author of the book 100 Ways To Write Badly Well. His work has been published by Penguin, Hamish Hamilton and Pan Macmillan, as well as appearing on BBC One, BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4. With Luke Wright, he co-wrote the film Crash! Bang! Wallow! which won the NFBC Short Film Award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The pair also teamed up to produce the comedy book Who Writes This Crap? which the Guardian called “an inspired piece of parody.”


LiTTLe MACHiNe  are a trio featuring guitar-playing composer, arranger and singer Walter Wray, multi-instrumentalist, poet and composer Steve Halliwell and poet and musician Chris Hardy. They have appeared with Carol Ann Duffy, Roger McGough, Gillian Clarke, Liz Lochhead, John Cooper-Clarke, John Hegley and many others.

“You’re in for such a treat. It’s a long time since I heard something so exciting. A wonderful way of delivering poetry. The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world.”

Carol Ann Duffy – Poet Laureate


Mark Gwynne Jones

Four times fringe-award winner, Mark Gwynne Jones is well known for mind altering poetry with an almost music-hall edge. He mixes humour and poignancy with great skill and through collaborations with film-makers and musicians he is pushing poetry in new and exciting directions. Mark’s work is contagious, gritty and sometimes startlingly sensitive. He is currently touring his new poetry and storytelling show Wordworms!

“Inspired…one of the most accomplished performance poets in the land…drawing the audience into a world where things are not quite what they seem.”The Guardian

“His style of writing and performing is unique and no-one who has heard Mark Gwynne Jones will forget the experience. Not just a wild performer but an artist-poet who takes an intelligent and thoughtful look at the world.” The Fringe

“Gwynne Jones should be ruined with fame and money before he shows the rest of us up for the bunch of sissies we are. But if you don’t want the truth, don’t call a poet at least not a real one.” The Independent


Sophie Snell is a full-time professional storyteller, based just outside Derby, but regularly travelling throughout the UK and beyond.  Known for her wicked sense of humour and a warm, engaging, lively style of storytelling, she tells stories in all sorts of settings, from museums and arts spaces to grand historic houses, schools, community groups and festivals.  From a wide range of traditional material told to all ages to specific shows such as “Seven Deadly Sins”, Sophie’s voice has been described as “mesmerising” and her tales “intimate, vivid and moving”.  Nominated for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2013 under the category “Outstanding Female Storyteller”.  Her workshops “Only Words Aloud” and “More Words Aloud” quickly book out – “I loved the skilful way you teased the storyteller within out to be released on the Great British Public!”

Sophie runs Tales from Two Cities – a storytelling club that operates in Nottingham and Derby ( For more information about Sophie see her website  Or join Sophie at our storytelling pavilion with performances and open mic slots on the market square in Nottingham on Sunday 19 October, 11am – 4.30pm.


Shonaleigh is one of the leading storytellers on the British scene and among Europe’s last surviving Dru’sillas, holders of Jewish folk-tales passed from Mother to Daughter through hundreds of generations. She travels globally, drawing on her Yiddish, English and European Culture. She enables you to enter a world of image and music with breathtaking vividness. A modern day Shaharazad.

Once you’ve heard your aged Jewish grandmother – who survived the Holocaust – tell a tale that can make you believe there’s still magic, there’s no going back. For Shonaleigh, there could never be any going back. Storytelling is in her blood. A dyslexic, she’s a drut’syla, a storyteller in the Jewish tradition, and she sees that tradition as very much alive.


Writing Eastmidlands

Lyric Lounge is delivered by Writing East Midlands, the region’s writer development agency, which is funded by Arts Council England. Lyric Lounge Nottingham 2014 is presented in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary as part of the Nottingham Festival of Words. Activities for children and young people are supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. (


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