Public Address II: Q&A with the class of 2010 – Hannah Silva

Before our upcoming Public Address II tour, we catch up with those who went on the original tour. Here’s 2010’s South West representative, Hannah Silva! 

HSilvaphoto1. Looking back, what impact did Public Address have on your work/development at the time?

It was great to visit the different regions, and meet the Apples and Snakes coordinators there. I really enjoy travelling and getting a sense of different places and audiences. I liked the fact that we were five very different poets, and it’s always good to watch other poets and their sets and see how they evolve over a few performances.



2. Since the tour, what have been key moments for you as a spoken word artist?

Opposition-175x200Following the tour I put together an Arts Council application to make and tour a solo show Opposition. That application was really building on my experience doing the public address tour. I got the funding, toured to around twelve venues, finishing with a run at the Ovalhouse in London. Apples and Snakes supported the work. I particularly enjoyed touring to the ARC in Stockton with the support of Kirsten at Apples. I learned a huge amount over that tour, about performing, my writing, and responding to audiences. It gave me the confidence to tackle big themes and awakened my interest in politics. I also learned a lot in terms of producing, tour booking, PR, applying for funding and managing a budget.

3. Looking forward as a spoken word artist, what next?

‘Total Man’, which is part of a night of work called Electronic Voice Phenomena toured in the Spring and gets one more outing at Bournemouth Arts Festival on Friday.

This Autumn I’m also touring The Disappearance of Sadie Jones which is a play I wrote and directed. It’s a project I’ve spent a lot of time on and I’m very proud of. It’s theatre rather than spoken word but it has connections to my poetry work. It’s about a young woman who wants to disappear, it’s set inside her imagination, and it’s an attempt to use language and the sounds of words to get beneath the surface of the psyche.

I’ve also got my first collection Forms of Protest coming out with Penned in the Margins, the launch is on Thursday 14 November at Toynbee Studios in London. I’ve focused on performance rather than the page for a long time, so having my work published like this will be a very new experience.

'The Disappearance of Sadie Jones'4. What do you feel are the benefits of regional touring for spoken word artists?

I think it’s important for spoken word artists to get out as much as they can, to hear other poets, to meet other audiences, and to keep developing their own work. It’s important that the world of ‘spoken word’ has porous boundaries and intersects with other worlds. Touring helps this, especially when spoken word shows are programmed alongside theatre, music and comedy. It’s often a real challenge to get bookings and to persuade venues to take a risk on new work, but I can’t imagine making something and not touring it.

The Disappearance of Sadie Jones tours this Autumn to Barnstaple, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Leicester, Birmingham, Plymouth and London. Details about that and Hannah’s work here.