Tickets: FREE
Thu 23 Sep 2021 to Sun 26 Sep 2021

BBC CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE: POETRY & PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL

Thu 23 Sep 2021 to Sun 26 Sep 2021
FREE
 

BBC Contains Strong Language 2021 is a partnership between the BBC, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Writing West Midlands and Nine Arches Press, and is supported by Arts Council England, the British Council, Creative Lives and Jerwood Arts.

BBC CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE: POETRY & PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL

With local Writers, Poets and Theatre makers

The BBC’s poetry and spoken word festival Contains Strong Language will be coming to Coventry in September 2021 for the biggest celebration of poetry ever seen in the region.

The four-day festival will be taking place in venues across the city, celebrating spoken word in all its poetic forms and revealing the best existing and emerging talent from Coventry and the Midlands.

Among the many performances and events on offer, BBC Radio Club will be giving primary and secondary pupils from Coventry the chance to write and take over the airwaves, while there will also be poetry workshops held in schools across the city.  

In Radio 3’s celebration of the spoken word, The Verb, poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan will be waxing lyrical on the verse that has made the Midlands and the new talent emerging from its streets right now. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row will showcase Coventry’s vibrant poetry and spoken word scene, putting the city’s writers in the spotlight on the international stage.

Seeking out the best new spoken word talent in the UK will see BBC 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and Contains Strong Language working together again in 2021.

BBC Arts and BBC Audio are partnering with the regional literature development agency Writing West Midlands, poetry publisher Nine Arches Press and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 with Jerwood Arts supporting a programme of commissions and career development support for emerging and early career poets from the West Midlands.

The festival will take place in venues around the city from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 September 2021.

Tickets for Contains Strong Language are on sale now.

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest information 

 

BBC CSL Re:Versing the Sherbourne: Sound Poetry workshop

Join poet and audio producer Adrian Earle from Overhear and Charlotte Ridpath from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Sherbourne Valley Project, to discover the River Sherbourne at the historic Charterhouse park. Please bring either a mobile phone with voice recording capabilities, or a portable recorder of your own, plus your own pen and notebook.

BBC CSL: Preview Night

Join a host of Coventry BBC Contains Strong Language poets - including Siana Bangura, John Bernard, Raef Boylan, Olga Dermott-Bond, Sujana Crawford, Aysar Ghassan and Andrea Mbarushimana, as they help us launch the festival programme and share a taster of what’s to come at the main festival weekend in September.

BBC CSL: Walking Poetry Workshop with Liz Berry

Join Green City poet-in-residence Liz Berry on a walking writing workshop at London Road Cemetery: Paxton’s Arboretum, one of the earliest garden cemeteries in the country, designed by Joseph Paxton and now a Grade I listed park and garden. Liz will provide prompts for your poetry as you explore this inspiring historic location. Please bring your own writing materials.

BBC CSL: WordPlay: Live Poetry at the Belgrade

Nine Arches Press’ live poetry series and open mic returns to The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry with a very special line up of guest poets: acclaimed, bold and vital new voices in poetry, Romalyn Ante, Lewis Buxton and Cynthia Miller - all three previous selected poets on the Nine Arches Primers mentoring scheme. Limited open mic slots also available, please sign up on the door.

BBC CSL: The Essay

Come and be in the audience for a live recording of a BBC Radio 4 radio programme. Leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond, themed across a week - insight, opinion and intellectual surprise. Full line up released nearer the time.

BBC CSL: Re:Versing the Sherbourne

Join poet and audio producer Adrian Earle from Overhear and Charlotte Ridpath from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Sherbourne Valley Project, to discover the River Sherbourne at the historic Charterhouse park. Please bring either a mobile phone with voice recording capabilities, or a portable recorder of your own, plus your own pen and notebook.

5Live: Nihal Arthanayake

Broadcasting live from the Contains Strong Language festival - engaging news, sport and conversation. Including breaking news, big name interviews and experts on a variety of issues.

BBC CSL: Celebrating the Coventry Poets Laureate

Join us for a momentous evening as we celebrate Coventry’s new Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate, in the company of former and present laureates: Roy McFarlane, former Birmingham Poet Laureate, Theresa Lola, former London Young People’s Laureate for London, and one other very special guest.

 

BBC CSL: Re:Versing the Sherbourne Walking Tour: FarGo Village to Pool Meadow

Join us for a guided walk along Coventry's 'hidden' River Sherbourne as part of our new digital poetry trail, from FarGo Village to Pool Meadow, with Charlotte Ridpath from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and poet John Bernard. This specially commissioned project traces the route of the River Sherbourne in Coventry. Learn about the ecology and natural history of the river, and listen to the poems on the trail as you go. Please bring your own pen and notebook for writing activities.

BBC CSL: RE:Versing the Sherbourne Talk

Re:Versing the Sherbourne is a BBC Contains Strong Language project that traces the route of the ‘hidden’ River Sherbourne as it flows across Coventry, under pavements and through the heart of the city. Working with the Overhear geolocational audio poetry app and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Sherbourne Valley Project, poets have created a digital trail of poems tracing the river’s route and rediscovering it afresh. Hear selected readings from the poets involved at this special event.

BBC CSL: Twilight Poetry Walk

Be guided on a twilight poetry walk through London Road Cemetery by poets Liz Berry and Emilie Lauren Jones as they share their own poems inspired by these historic surroundings. London Road Cemetery: Paxton’s Arboretum is one of the earliest garden cemeteries in the country, designed by Joseph Paxton and now a Grade I listed park and garden.

BBC CSL: This Little Relic

In a community centre in Coventry, a rebellion is rising. With Mr. Sims determined to produce the perfect version of Ira Aldridge’s play The Black Doctor, music loving teenagers Alex and Ajay are preparing for an opening night upset.

A story of love, friendship and regeneration.

BBC CSL: BBC Writersroom Panel: Who We Are & What We Do

BBC Writersroom is always on the look-out for fresh talented writers across the UK and Republic of Ireland with an original voice, unique characters and great stories to tell.

Join Simon Nelson from BBC Writersroom who will provide you with information on how to submit your scripts, our variety of schemes as well as some top scriptwriting tips.

BBC CSL: Dancing the Distance: Film Screening and In Conversation

How does distance, isolation and the body manifest in both words and movement? This unique project, brings together poetry and contemporary dance in an innovative collaboration between Ascension Dance, lead by choreographer and director Ashley Jordan, and poet Ian Humphreys, in exploring these themes. Watch the film, then hear Ashley and Ian discuss their work together and how both poem and performance took shape.

BBC CSL: BBC Radio Club

Join us for BBC Radio Club, in partnership with Creative Lives, and hear poems written and performed by young Coventry Poets. Poet John Bernard has been working with schools across Coventry to produce poetry for BBC Local Radio. This is a chance to hear fresh talent share their work.

BBC CSL: Poetry Lounge @ The Box

Join BBC Contains Strong Language poets live in the Poetry Lounge and enjoy a session of lively, inspiring and powerful spoken word performances from local, regional and national names.

BBC CSL: Beyond Belief

To celebrate its 500th edition, BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief will be recording a special programme that explores the poetic language of religion and the power of poetry to transform the way we see the world.

One of presenter Ernie Rea’s guests is Canon Mark Oakley, author of The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry. Mark says that poetry is “like throwing a pebble into water, a poem causes a ‘splash of words’ whose ripples can transform the way we see the world, ourselves and God.”

This edition of Beyond Belief will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Monday, 4th October 2021 at 16.30.

Since 2002, Beyond Belief has been exploring the place and nature of faith in today’s world.

BBC CSL: In Ira Aldridge’s Footsteps

When Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor, came to Coventry in 1828 to manage The Coventry Theatre, he left a legacy for the people of Coventry. Join a discussion with poets Roy McFarlane, Siana Bangura and young Coventry writers exploring Aldridge's impact on the city. Chaired by Chrissie Okorie, Maokwo.

BBC CSL: Poetry from Personal Histories: a Writing Workshop

Join Poets Roy MacFarlane and Siana Bangura for a workshop looking at how research, archives and history can influence and inspire your writing. Drawing on their experiences as part of the In the Footsteps of Ira Aldridge project, the poets will explore how personal stories, as well as public histories, can inform poetry and provide a way to explore the past. Please bring your own notebooks and pens.

BBC CSL: Sherbourne Walking Tour

On World Rivers Day, join us for a guided morning walk along Coventry's 'hidden' River Sherbourne as part of our new digital poetry trail, from the Belgrade Theatre to Spon End, with Charlotte Ridpath from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and poet Sujana Crawford. This specially commissioned project traces the route of the River Sherbourne in Coventry. Learn about the ecology and natural history of the river, and listen to the poems on the trail as you go. 

BBC CSL: Youthful Cities: Global Words

Discover how young writers, poets and spoken word artists from Coventry, Beirut, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe have been using their creative practice to explore their lives and the lives of their cities. Supported by Rusted Radishes in Beirut and B.A.C.E in Coventry, young creatives have come together through regular dialogue and creative labs to create a performance piece, Coventry x Beirut: Transnational Lag Express. At the same time, the British Council has supported DigiPoems - uniting Coventry poets with poets and digital /film artists in Southern Africa, forging connections, cross-continental creative conversations and a series of poetry films. Watch a short extract from their films, poems and performances, and join us for an in-conversation with the writers involved.

BBC CSL: Words & Music

A journey of discovery, weaving together a range of music with poetry and prose read by leading actors at the Contains Strong Language festival.

BBC CSL: Green City Poets: A Summer Residence

An evening of poetry readings from our Green City Poets; Liz Berry, George Ttoouli and Sujana Crawford, performing poems written during residencies at three green spaces in and around Coventry: London Road Cemetery, Sherbourne Valley Allotments and Brandon Marsh. During summer days at each site, the poets have been watching the seasons change and observing the wildlife, landscapes and visitors - and writing poems that respond to their experiences.

BBC CSL: Fire & Dust Live Poetry

A special Contains Strong Language edition of the regular Fire & Dust open mic with guest poet Olga Dermott Bond. Fire & Dust is a monthly live poetry gig for Coventry writers and audiences. Twice shortlisted for Best Spoken Word Night at the Saboteur Awards, the event showcases guest headliners and open mic performances. All genres, levels of experience and people are welcome.

BBC CSL: The Poetry Toolkit

The Poetry Toolkit brings together regional and national poets, performers, publishers and book industry professionals, literature agencies and writer development organisations. This is an opportunity to discuss, debate and celebrate poetry and publishing culture regionally and nationally, putting the Midlands firmly on the poetry map.