6 Things You Didn’t Know About Spoken Word

Have you ever been interested in Spoken Word but you don’t know much about it? Hidden Door Electric City features some excellent acts over the nine day festival, here’s some things you didn’t know about the art form…


1. The History of Spoken Poetry…

Although the origins of spoken history and word date back long before writing and printing, modern spoken word can be traced to the 1950s with the Beat Generation. Through the years spoken word has always been at the forefront of political or social issues, bringing the art to a new generation and always being relevant.


2. The Edinburgh (and the Scotland wide) Scene is Bustling…

Auld Reekie’s literary history has never been in doubt, but those new to the spoken word scene might not realise the plethora of events are on offer in the capital and, nationwide. Inky Fingers, Blind Poetics, The Scottish Storytelling Centre and Neu Reekie all showcase spoken word performers. Let’s not leave Glasgow out; hosting events such as spoken word at Inn Deep, Rally & Broad (sadly in their final year) and Loud Poets. There’s Hotchpotch in Dundee and let’s not forget festivals like Belladrum Tartan Heart and their slam poetry contest.


3. Delivery and Influence…

What sets performances apart from other poetry is the diversity of it’s delivery through word play, alliteration, intonation and inflection. Spoken word crosses over with hip hop and rap, theatre and dance, telling stories or exploring subjects. It currently has found a new platform; the internet. Artists like Holly McNish, Lily Myers and Neil Hilborn publishing videos of their performances gaining them millions of views on sites such as YouTube.


4. There Are No Rules…

Fast, slow, rhyme or not, spoken word is free from constraints and is about capturing the attention of the audience. It can be both beautiful and harsh, languid and energetic, thought provoking and funny.


5. 2014!

2014 was a great year with spoken word artists Tris Vonna-Michell being nominated for Turner Prize and Kate Tempest nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. That same year The Loud Poets featured some of the brightest up and coming women poets at the Fringe Festival and the National Poetry Slam grew to a massive 72 certified teams, over five days of competition, further propelling the art.


6. Come see for yerself…!

Spoken word is about seeing and experiencing. Jenny Lindsay of Rally and Broad presents a brilliant collection of spoken word, music and poetry acts on Wednesday 1 June at Hidden Door:


“To me, saying you don’t like spoken word is like saying you don’t like ‘music.’ It’s a massive, broad church of different styles. Best thing to do is come see for yerself!”


-Alastair Chivers



From 27 May – 4 June 2016 Hidden Door will return to the amazing disused street lighting depot behind Kings Stables Road in Edinburgh. Click here for ticket info