Harry Jelley, Production and Programming Assistant at 24:7 Theatre Festival, tells us about The Big Slam, which will see writers from different disciplines battle it out in teams next week.
I am new to Manchester, but since arriving I have been struck by the range and depth of talent in this city. One of the first events I attended was Young Identity’s One Mic Stand, a group that we a very pleased to have performing at The Big Slam. The passion, confidence and clarity of voice that these young people presented was impressive. From there I attended spoken word nights, fringe theatre performances and the wonderful cabaret night that is First Draft (and Next Draft).
Having joined 24:7 Theatre Festival, as part of a training placement, I was keen to showcase this talent alongside some of the great new writing that we have at this year’s festival. The resulting idea was The Big Slam, a way for artists of different literary styles to battle alongside their stylistic compadres to win the title of Big Slam Champions; although the real drive is to allow genres to reach new audiences and for audiences to meet new genres.
I’m excited that Manchester story slammers Flashtag will be representing story, First Draft will be repping playwrights, Young Identity standing up for poetry as well as a hip-hop/rap team soon to be announced. It’s going to be one hell of any exciting line-up with some serious talent, interesting themes and exciting performance. One real appeal for me, and I’m sure for plenty of the audience, is these different forms coming together
I’ve always found it hard to define these different styles in any significant way. Many moments of prose contain the intensity often reserved for poetry; poetry can offer a story or be performed in an heavily rhythmic style that can pose as rap without the backing track; hip-hop can reflect and inform based on narrative and poetic observation; whilst playwrights can put all of this together on the stage that each form takes ownership of at different time.
It is the love of each of these forms and the slippery definitions that come from their similarities and differences that inspired The Big Slam. The tremendous talents that exist in each of these genres in Manchester, and the want to celebrate that, is what will make The Bar at New Century House rock at 9pm on the 23rd July.
First Draft have just announced their team of 3 playwrights to take on the poets and the storytellers in The Big Slam. Check out our brave contenders here.
Check out the brilliant line up of brand new plays that make up the rest of this year’s 24:7 Theatre Festival
*Only joking. Sorta.