Horizon Festival – 10 arts-fuelled days // 28 Aug - 6 Sep 2020

The Bunker // Meet the Performers

We are excited to bring The Bunker back for the final event in 2019, an evening of fearless truth telling, word play, humour and energy. Words Collide is an end of year celebration of what has been an incredible year of truth, storytelling and passion. As well as performances by some of the Coast's best spoken word artists, the evening will also include a feature performance from Boy Renaissance, bringing a courage, honesty, electricity and a penny-drop presence to the Sunshine Coast. We chat to the performers ahead of Words Collide.

 

Meet Boy Renaissance

Can you take us through the first time you performed your poetry on stage? Where were you? Who was there? How did you feel?
The first time I performed poetry on stage was during my group drama project in year 12. In rehearsals the day before our assessment, we realized we were 2 minutes under time and needed something to bump us over. At that point I knew that I wanted to be a spoken word poet and saw it as my chance to perform a piece for the first time, so I wrote a piece! It was a little poem about the USA, greed and political corruption. I think one line went something like 'the side with whitest skin, loudest kin and most money wins'. It was glorious having my little moment in the spotlight! I felt empowered. Right. Spoken word was something that, once discovered, I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What is the number one piece of writing you think everyone needs to read?
I've thought about this question for days and can't pick a top one, but I would say the most essential form of writing, is writing that opens your heart to deep self-realization. One piece that has been essential for that journey in my life has been 'Women Who Run With Wolves' by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She's a wonderful mix of storyteller, academic, spiritual and psychologist. She brings together the psychic with the physical in a grounded way. The book focuses on the deep roots of oral storytelling and the value of fairy and folk tales to the understanding of our psyches. Her lyrical way of writing makes it a book that feels like a spell, unlocking you through the reading. Similar life-transforming books for me has been Anam Cara by John O' Donogue, and Coming Home by Ursula K Le Guin.

Another writer to watch out for is Alice Night. She currently has one poetry chapbook called 'Molten' self-published and is working on about 3 more as we speak. Her work speaks too-honestly to the state of our Australian society and the inner world of women. Her words puncture you and let the poison out.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Yes. They up in scale the more nerve-wracking the performance is. It involves paint, meditation, prayer, maybe sage, and most essentially, warming up my body. I prefer to perform bare feet and with nothing in my pockets.

What inspires your writing?
The indescribable phenomenon of living in a human body with a human heart and human emotions.

What are your views on climate change?
I'm at the beginning of my true understanding of what climate change really means. I think human induced climate change is real. I think the planet as a whole will be fine. I'm not sure I believe humans will go extinct because of it, but our lifestyles will be forced to change dramatically and many of us will lose our lives if we keep at our ways. I'm not sure what energetic shift needs to/will occur for us to begin to live more consciously as a whole collective, and I don't know if it's possible to humans to ever fully live in harmony and co-operation.

I don't think I believe in a society without conflict and shadow, but I do believe in the power of love, healing trauma, and transforming actions through embracing hearts. I believe in periods of true balance. We won't be redeemed by another war and another revolution, I don't think. The transformations that need to occur are inward. Sometimes that comes from total tragedy and societal/personal breakdown, and sometimes that comes from a friend hearing your story and saying 'I see you'. It's a long journey.  I believe in the human race for its capacity to look at itself. Our self-awareness is a blessing as much as it is a curse.

Who is your role model, and why?
My friend Mandy Petit for the way he brings an ancient form of honouring into the modern day. My partner Alice for her dedication to truth and getting to the core of the heart. My friend Mitch for his passionate dedication to the relationships around him. Jesus Christ for his radicalism and love. Andrea Gibson and Levi the Poet for the life-transforming work they do, and the bigness of their spoken word career.

What was the last gift you gave someone?
I made my partner a playlist honouring the hard work we've done in our relationship so far.

Last comments:
Above all, I want my words to be a prompt. A nudge to the core in the heart. An invitation to step into the courage of living a life that is truly alive, truly loving, and truly free.

Meet Lincoln Lally

Can you take us through the first time you performed your poetry on stage? Where were you? Who was there? How did you feel?
The first time I performed poetry was in February last year at the Foxy Cafe in Coolum with a small crew of all-aged poets of whom I knew none. I was excited to the point of stillness because all of the nervous energy was colliding into itself. Before my name was drawn, I was completely stuck-- except for my feet. I couldn't stop shaking, tapping, wriggling, jiggling or bopping my feet. Some people have a poker face, but I need poker feet. 

What is the number one piece of writing you think everyone needs to read?
Any book would be a good start. I'm self-identified as notorious for recommending my last consumed book as gospel so with that in mind, Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. 

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Everyone loves a clear mind and clean body before a gig and I prefer to clear up my mind, my prose and my body all the same time in the shower before I think I'll perform. Bathrooms are natural lairs for musicians and poets and it's far easier to warm up when you think no-one can hear you. 

What inspires your writing?
I think that all artists are naturally inspired by their lives, we seem to just be the bigger channels or louder mouths or sharper tools for it. The more life I see or feel, the more I tend to write. Good or bad. 

What are your views on climate change?
Personal effort is important. Doomsday has always been looming. Treat the earth and each other as kindly as you can. If you have a voice or two good hands, use them.  

Who is your role model, and why?
I don't have it in me to pick one person. It's really all of the people I've met or read or loved who have had passion and shown me it's okay to have it too. 

Random question - What was the last gift you gave someone?
A black onyx macrame necklace.

Meet Kate Barker

Can you take us through the first time you performed your poetry on stage? Where were you? Who was there? How did you feel?
I was sucked into the rabbit-hole of performance poetry thanks to a uni tutor. Archie kept posting events in the creative writing group’s newsfeed and eventually I figured I’d go and see what all the fuss was about. Worst case scenario? I spent an afternoon listening to poetry and stories and decided that it just wasn’t for me. That’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

When I finally got to Palmwoods, it was the ultimate lightbulb moment and on the way home I pulled over on the highway to write a piece that insisted on being a performance piece. It was a very emotional poem, about an experience I had tried writing about for several years, that refused to be put onto paper. As soon as I let the poem write itself, the process became so much easier. The next month, I had the poem edited and memorized to perform and was second guessing myself right up until I got in front of the microphone. That level of vulnerability was terrifying, but seeing people react to my words and to my emotions was extremely freeing.

What is the number one piece of writing you think everyone needs to read?
I don’t think there is any particular piece of writing that everyone should read; words are too subjective and depend so strongly on the reader’s own experiences to inform their meaning. Rather, I think that everyone should, on a regular basis, read something that unsettles them. Whether it’s fact or fiction, creative writing or the news, being unsettled by words makes us think more carefully about why we reacted like that— was it a reaction to what we read, or how it was written? If we’re not careful, being comfortable can lead to stagnation, morally and creatively.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Copious amounts of caffeine and constantly asking myself why on earth I think people want to listen to my words. Once I get to the venue though, all the doubt disappears and I no longer care if people are listening— I’ve performed to an audience of entirely disinterested uni students and audiences of two— its not the being listened to that is important, but rather using the voice that I have been given to speak my truth regardless.

What inspires your writing?
Most of my writing is inspired from my own experiences. Sometimes I will collect sayings and random facts that tickle my fancy. I’ll always mean to write something using the collection as inspiration but somehow they always end up being included in works based on experience. It’s easy to feel like my experiences, and therefore my writing, isn’t as worthy of the spotlight as other messages, but every time I start doubt the importance of my writing, someone from the audience will thank me for saying what they had wanted to but didn’t have the words for. Comments like this bolster not only my confidence, but my determination to keep writing poetry based off my own experiences.

What are your views on climate change?
Many and varied and entirely dependent on context or specific issue. ‘Climate change’ is too overarching a phrase for me to even know where to start with answering this question. It’s not a problem with a simple, or single, solution and isn’t even a problem in and of itself— it’s a multitude of connecting events and issues, influenced by varying cultural and political points of view.

The most simple answer I can give to this question is that Climate Change isn’t a new issue, and won’t be a problem that will ever be solved; what we should be asking is “what are we doing to live harmoniously within the world we have been gifted?” and “what type of world do we want to gift to our children and grandchildren?”

Who is your role model, and why?
Great… here comes the corniest, primary school answer ever given to this question…My mum is my role model. I watched her raise myself and my brother as a single mum, saw her struggle with the stigma, and burn herself out with the determination to give her family the best life she could. While I studied at high school, she went back to university and we both completed our studies at the same time. Throughout it all, she stayed true to herself and her beliefs, even when that meant standing against her family for the sake of her children. I’ve never seen her rile against other people, or against the world, no matter what has been thrown her way, and I can only strive to have half her grace, and determination. I look at my own children, and if I can even just strive to be the mother my mum is, then I know I don’t have to worry about raising my kids right.  

Random question - What was the last gift you gave someone?
Faaar out… okay… I have promised my father that he will have an autographed copy of every manuscript I submit for publication or competition. Even if it is rejected. It was his birthday in October and I gifted him a copy of my first poetry manuscript draft. It’s already being edited and added to, but he’s got a printed and bound copy complete with autograph to call his own.  

Don't miss these incredible performer's powerful presence and words at Words Collide; November 21, Subtropic Studios Caloundra. Get tickets now!