A (spoken) Word With Rosie Wilby

Comedian, writer and South London based broadcaster, Rosie Wilby, is the organizer of Queer’Say, a showcase of queer spoken word. The next event is this Friday 9th September at Rich Mix, and here’s all you need to know:

Hi Rosie, thanks for your time today. You’re a comedian, writer and broadcaster, tell us how Queer’Say came about?

For a few years I've been presenting and producing award-winning LGBT show Out in South London on Resonance FM. I noticed that poets worked particularly well with that audio medium and the intimacy of it. At the same time, I met a member of the Arts Council England literature team at an event. In a conversation we had, she was encouraging me to devise some kind of scheme to support LGBT writers and performers and to apply for funding for it. So the idea of Queer'Say started brewing in my mind. I wanted the chance to host an event and do interviews live onstage to develop my broadcasting skills. I also wanted to record it all for a podcast and combine that with how well spoken word seemed to work on radio. So it all sort of tied in my interests and skills rather nicely.

And how many events have you done since then?

We had a few events in both 2014 and 2015 and this year I cooked up our biggest season yet, including some festival shows at Wilderness and Cheltenham Literature Festival.

London has regular Spoken Word events, tell us why we should all come and join Queer’Say this Friday?

Queer’Say is completely different to a lot of the other spoken word events as its all LGBT performers and also the interviews provide a unique insight into where the poems and ideas have come from.

And what about the performers; J. Fergus Evans, Paula Varjack and Jackie Hagan?

All three performers are great. I'm particularly looking forward to scouser Jackie Hagan who I've never seen before but have heard so much about. She lost a leg a couple of years ago and decided to write an award-winning show about it. It's called Some People Have Too Many Legs. Paula and Fergus also both performed at last year's Queer'Say at Tate Modern. Paula has been developing an intriguing show since then about artists and their relationship with money.

Any fun moments from past events that you can share with us?

Not so much a fun moment, but we had our recent event at Hackney attic scheduled for the referendum day in June. I thought we'd have a Europe flavour and a celebratory mood as, when I booked it, I was still optimistic the Remain campaign would win. On the day, apocalyptic rain fell across London. It was a sort of sign I think that things were not well. Hackney Picturehouse completely flooded and we had to reschedule that event to Sept 30. So it just means we have a Queer'Say-tastic September.

And a memorable moment…?

Ernesto Sarezale performing naked at last year's Rich Mix event!

And lastly, what else can we expect from Queer’Say?

Look out for several more Queer'Say events this year. You can also catch up on the old podcasts at www.outinsouthlondon.wordpress.com and read interviews with the performers at www.queersay.wordpress.com.

Queer’Say is at Rich Mix (35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA) this Friday 9th September, 8pm. To book tickets click here.

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