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Q&A: Loud Poets

After rave reviews and fantastic audience feedback last year, we're very excited that Edinburgh-based collective Loud Poets will be returning for a third Fringe stint at the Storytelling Centre this August. We caught up with them to find out what they've been up to since 2015 and what newcomers can expect from their Fringe show, on at 9pm from Fri 5 – Mon 29 Aug (not 15, 22).

What have the Loud Poets been up to since last August?

We had another great season of monthly shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow, including our second birthday shows in February! We also had the pleasure of returning to the Brighton Fringe for our second year running, and debuted at the wonderful Prague Fringe, at which we won their first-ever New Territories Award. Two of our organisers, Doug Garry and Catherine Wilson, were part of the University of Edinburgh's team at UK UniSlam, which they won. This allowed them to travel to Texas to represent the UK at the CUPSI Slam as the first-ever non-North American team, and they won the Spirit of the Slam Award! Kevin Mclean and Katie Ailes performed a duet set at StAnza, the international festival for poetry in St. Andrew's. The whole team has been working this year with Fathers Network Scotland for their Year of the Dad campaign, so we've been writing a lot about fatherhood. It's been a busy, fantastic year!

What can new audiences expect from your show?

Loud Poets does exactly what it says on the tin - we take your standard poetry night and turn it up to 11. It's all about fast-paced, high-energy, accessible, and most of all entertaining spoken word. We really mean it when we say this is poetry for the masses. Our poems range in themes from nerd culture to social justice issues, and each poet brings their own unique style to the mic. We always perform accompanied by our fantastic Loud Band, who provide a dynamic soundtrack to the poetry. 

For those who have seen you before, what will be different this time around?

Loud Poets has always incorporated live music, movement, video, collaborative voices, and audience interaction in order to bring our poetry to life. This year's show puts a greater focus on all of those extra disciplines as we present what loud poetry means to us. We've taken our poetry off the page and shaped it into a one-hour multi-disciplinary roller coaster ride. We've worked more closely with our band this year to create new music-poetry compositions, and we're working more closely with videographers and our technicians at the Storytelling Centre as well. By the end of the hour, we hope folks are left questioning the old divisions between artistic genres--and hopefully inspired to make their own work!

You often welcome guest poets to share the stage with you during the Fringe. Which poets would be your dream guests? 

There are so many incredible poets who we'd love to get on! For the very, very short list, we'd love to feature Shane Koyczan, Andrea Gibson, Neil Hilborn, and Anis Mojgani. 

Which shows are on your must-see list for 2016?

We're excited to be sharing the Storytelling Centre space with Men with Coconuts again this year - we saw them in Prague and they're absolutely hilarious. Many of our guest acts have their own shows which we can't wait to see, including Attila the Stockbrocker, who hasn't brought a show to the Fringe in twenty years. Sara Hirsch (who performed with us last year) and Ben Fagan are bringing their new show Made to Measure to the PBH Free Fringe. Spoken word might be the Fringe's smallest section but there are so many quality performers: it's a great opportunity to dive in. We suggest spending a day at the Banshee Labyrinth to really get a taste of what the scene has to offer... before coming to check us out, 9pm at the Storytelling Centre!

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