Janey Rising with Janey Colbourne on the Spoken Word at the Bureau!

It’s being a difficult year for the spoken word circuit where-ever you go, but as a Manchester (UK) person I’ve seen loads of thriving nights completely stop over the past six months and while some like my own co-run night Speak Easy move onto Zoom, lots have stopped with no sign of re-starting.

One new major project in Blackburn which started up however in October which I hope will lead to a series of new projects starting is Rise! Spoken Word which is being ran by a good friend of mine from my Podcast series ‘Spoken Label’ Janey Colbourne.

“I’m the curator of Rise! Spoken Word at The Bureau. It’s a new programme of poetry events and workshops at The Bureau Centre for The Arts in Blackburn, Lancashire. We were scheduled to begin back in March but due to lockdown we postponed it.” Janey begins explaining the origin of this project “We are now hosting the programme online for the time being. We had a workshop in October, ‘Wordplay’ run by Phil Evans and that went really well. On Tuesday 17th November we have our first spoken word event coming up.”

“It’s headlined by the lovely Rose Condo, an award winning spoken word artist and multiple slam champion. We also have two other incredible featured poets on the night, Gerry Clarkson aka Guerrilla Lips and Roz Weaver.” Janey carries on outlining their first event “Between January and March we will have two more spoken word events and another workshop. As well as curating the programme, I’ll be hosting the spoken word nights, so I’ll be doing a little of my own poetry as well. The events include a poetry open mic, as first and foremost, this is about giving people in the community opportunities to get involved in creating and sharing their work.”

“I got involved with The Bureau Centre for The Arts a few years ago.” Janey recalls her own introduction to the spoken word scene “I’ve known the directors as friends for many years and it’s been wonderful to see them create and build up this arts community in Blackburn. I’ve been a participant and volunteer in various events there, in particular for Blackburn Festival of Light. It’s been growing year by year. Last year, tragically, their venue was destroyed overnight in a fire. Thankfully they are in new premises now, although during lockdown they are not open to the public, but creating lots of online content. I wrote a poem to celebrate Rise! which reflects my hopes for people, to inspire them, and also to celebrate The Bureau rising from the ashes and being stronger than ever. All the love they put into the community came back to them as everyone pulled together to offer support. Scott Jackson created a film of me performing my poem, and the film is being uploaded to The Bureau’s social media. I’m really pleased with it.”

“The Bureau was where I first started performing my poetry, at an event called Art Space.” Janey recalls further her origins in performance “This is an event where artists and performers of all kinds can meet, do activities and share ideas. We have an open mic as part of the event. I started writing poetry since an illness a few years ago and Art Space was where I felt comfortable to begin sharing my work and developing my performance. Gradually I became more involved in running the open mic and started introducing the performers. When some funding became available, there was an opportunity to develop a spoken word programme, which is particularly exciting, as there aren’t currently many poetry events in Blackburn.”

I’ve performed at Blackburn myself and while it is a lovely town, I don’t recall like Janey said correctly, their being a lot of opportunities for people who wish to explore their creativity, Janey explains next this was where she built her confidence as a performing artist “The Bureau was where I built my confidence as a performance poet and I began performing at various poetry open mic nights in Manchester, eventually leading to featured spots and paid performances.” She carries on “So, my career as a poet began at The Bureau and it’s really lovely to now create a spoken word programme for them, where I can share the amazing poets I have met, creating opportunities for featured performances, and nurturing aspiring poets to develop and share their poetry, as well as bringing a buzzing spoken word scene to the Blackburn area. Whilst we are in online format, we can expand that to reach anyone anywhere who would like to enjoy some connection and inspiration during lockdown. As The Bureau rising from the ashes has shown, our anchor is in each other, even when we don’t have a physical base. We can find ways to connect. Poetry is a means to process and share feelings and express ideas, but also to have fun, perhaps even be silly, or experience beauty and inspiration. Through poetry, we have a voice, whether that is through our own words, or through hearing the words of someone else that we feel reflects our truth. For me, Rise! all about creating a safe and welcoming space to build a community that enjoys the beautiful variety of spoken word.”

All events and workshops are currently online hosted via Zoom with tickets at £5. You can contact [email protected] for the Rise! mailing list, follow @bureaublackburn on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or contact them on [email protected]

Tickets for the first Rise! Spoken Word event with Rose Condo available here:

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/online/online/rise-spoken-word-at-the-bureau-part-1/e-y bdjjv

Janey’s official website is here: https://heartseer.wordpress.com/

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhisplc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.