Poetry CV

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Born in 1975, Fay is a classically-trained singer from Cardiff who has been getting on stages since the early 80s. She was finally bitten by the performance poetry bug in Spring 2006 after a favour to a friend turned into a place in the final of a poetry slam. Now based in Cambridge, these days she describes herself as “a performance poet and peripatetic percussionist who by day pokes projects and by night projects across a microphone...”
She has been involved with the Cambridge chapter of Hammer & Tongue since 2010, organising and hosting it since 2012, frequently performs across the Central and South-East England, and is part of a Cambridge arts collective calling themselves Pressed Art (she hasn’t asked why yet). She set up her own poetry label Allographic in 2011, hosting live events and producing poetry anthologies, pamphlets, and books.

As well as curating the Spoken Word stage (Mad Hatters) at Cambridge’s Strawberry Fair again, this year (2013) she somehow found herself agreeing to be Artistic Director for the Spoken Word section of PBH’s Free Fringe at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In her spare time, she sometimes sleeps.
Fay’s poetry is both thoughtful and heartfelt, with plenty thrown in about love, relationships, the perils of getting older, illusion, delusion, and problems with the colour orange. A proponent of free verse and paperless performance poetry, she likes to play with haiku and senryu in her spare time along with the odd obscure pun.
Her work has been described as: “lyrical”, “engaging”, “scarily good” and, memorably: “too many words... I got lost...” Her voice has been described as “musical”, “mellifluous”, and “mesmerising”.
Fay has performed poetry in pubs, clubs, theatres, tents, shopping centres and stately gardens, in Open Mic, showcases, features, support, collaboration, competition and costume. Sometimes she bangs a drum, and sometimes she performs in silence, while the words flutter in front of her...

Other Performances

Featured slots include:

  • Rhythmical Ravings and Rants (RRRants) as one of the featured poets/ musicians/ storytellers/ musicians for the various evenings in venues across the south-east, London, Hemel Hempstead, St. Alban’s, Cambridge, etc. - March 2010-present, including feature slots at Rickmansworth Canal Festival (May 2011 and 2012), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 2011), Big Bardaid MK Book Launch (February 2012)

  • Pressed Art (incorporating Shindig Gigs, Acoustics & Art, Gaze Is Ghost, and Allographic, among others) as irregular spoken word element, providing solo poetry, poetry-and-music collaborations, backing vocals, percussion, interactive poetry installations, and other doings in churches, art galleries, basement theatres, and wherever else Pressed Art takes us... Cambridge (May 2012-present)

  • Lyrical Ballads as one of the featured performers deploying their poems to accompaniment by a house band, Norwich - June 2013

  • Queens’ May Ball as host and performer of the Allographic poetry cabaret, Cambridge - June 2013

  • Show and Tell 2 from Twisted Willow Theatre as one of the featured performers in the variety show, Cambridge - January 2013.

  • Walking With Women as one of the featured performers reading their contributions to the alternative walking tour of Cambridge, Cambridge - January 2013.

  • Storytelling With Music as a storyteller for the Festival of Ideas, telling well-known children’s tales over a small orchestra, Cambridge - October 2012

  • BooQfest as a featured performance poet and workshop leader for the inaugural LGBT Literary Festival, Northampton - September 2012.

  • BBC Slam at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as one of the 24 invited poets in the competition, Edinburgh - August 2012

  • Other Voices: Alternative Spoken Word Cabaret as organiser, host, and performer at this gynocentric spoken word show at Edinburgh Festival as part of the Free Fringe. Hosted two preview shows and 19 Festival shows, co-ordinated 65 performers across those shows, including open mic and special guests as diverse in style as Mark Grist, Mel Jones, Katie Bonna, The Mighty Third Rail, and Young Dawkins.

  • Chipping Norton Literary Festival as part of the “New Libertines” line-up, Chipping Norton - April 2012 and 2013.

  • River Rhymes - curated an Allographic “Other Voice” stage at the inaugural Ely poetry festival featuring Hollie McNish, Keely Mills, J.S. Watts, Mal Faloon, and The Antipoet. Also performed her own solo show that same evening.

  • Utter! Luton as one of the four poets supporting John Hegley in his homecoming gig - November 2011

  • Utter! at The Edinbugh Fringe as a surprise feature guest (a surprise to her too!) supporting Young Dawkins, Edinburgh - August 2011

  • LutonAid as one of the five featured poets at the festival - August 2011

  • Nozstock Festival as one of the spoken word line-up and the Sunday compere, The West Country - July 2011

  • Rhymes - the Milton Keynes takeover as one of the three featured poets supporting Mark Niel, Birmingham - May 2011

  • Howl and Scowl as featured poet for the evening of poetry and comedy, Hampstead, London - April 2011

  • International Women's Day programme for Rebel Arts Radio, one of the featured performers for the programme on Cambridge Community Radio - March 2011; irregular Poet in Residence (and sound technician) for Rebel Arts Women’s Radio, Cambridge - May 2011-present

  • Whippersnapper Press as one of the featured poets for the evening, London - February 2011 and July 2012.

  • Utter! Sickness, supporting Richard Tyone Jones with Niall Spooner-Harvey, London - February 2011.

  • Scribal Gathering Spoken Word Special - the chairing of the Stony Stratford Bard, as a featured singer and part of the bardic council judging the aspiring bards - January 2011 & 2012.

  • Mark & Mixy’s Dead Poets Show, with Danni Antagonist, supporting the Watford leg of the eponymous duo’s tour in association with RRRants and Poetry Link - January 2011.

  • Headstand as one of the featured and broadcast poets for the show on Cambridge 105FM and the podcast - several times since 2010.

  • Scribal Gathering Has Nine Lives as Featured Poet (with accompaniment from Gav Sirisena) - Stony Stratford, October 2010.

  • Utter! Edinburgh ‘Preview’ (it’s complicated), winner of the Paid Gig Competition, London - September 2010.

  • Aestival as part of the Tongue in Chic Showcase - September 2010.

  • Rrranting Festival featuring David J for the London Fringe as one of the featured support acts - August 2010.

  • Tongue in Chic Allstars Showcase; one of the featured artists as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival, Buxton - July 2010.

  • PUREandGOODandRIGHT as the featured poet of the evening, Leamington Spa - May 2010

  • The Word’s a Stage as one of four poets commissioned to write new material for the Apples & Snakes’ “poetry bootcamp” event - March 2010

  • An Evening of Poetry & Music as a featured Kapow! act commissioned to write and perform new material inspired by the Lost & Found exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery - December 2009

  • Fuzzy Face as featured support act for The October Game’s album launch in Hitchin - October 2009

  • Tongue in Chic as featured support act for Zena Edwards and Steve Larkin in MADCAP Theatre, Milton Keynes - September 2009

  • Write Way Up as a commissioned poet to write and perform new material as part of Leicester’s Lyric Lounge at the Y Theatre - July 2009

  • Stowe Gardens’ 18th Century Day, as one of the featured acts performing 18th Century poetry in full costume for the Poetry Society’s Centenary - July 2009

  • The Big Moo Festival as part of the Kapow! poetry and music feature, Milton Keynes - July 2009.

  • MK4U as a featured Kapow! act performing poetry and music on the acoustic stage and in The Tea Tent at the performing arts festival in Milton Keynes - July 2006 and 2009

  • Bedford & Jersey Arts Festival as part of a Bardcore Showcase, performing solo and collaborative poetry and music, Bedford - June 2009

  • Waterside Festival as a featured act performing in the Stage Two/ Scribal Gathering tent at the performing arts festival in Milton Keynes - June 2007, 2009, and 2011

  • Don’t Shush Me! as featured support act for Billy Childish’s show for Apples & Snakes (Bishopsgate, London) - June 2009

  • Poetry From the Back End of the Bull, a Bardcore Showcase, performing solo and collaborative poetry and music as part of Stony Live - May 2009

  • A Perfect Start to An Evening as a featured Kapow! act commissioned to write and perform new material inspired by the James Lee Byars exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery - May 2009

  • The Poets as featured support act for the Stony Live Festival showcase for the eponymous poetry duo, Stony Stratford - June 2008

  • The Art of Poetry as a featured act performing in the event forming part of the Marcel Broodthaers Exhibition at Milton Keynes Gallery - February 2008

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Other events performed at include:

Monkey Kettle Poetry Slam (Milton Keynes), Ripping Pages (Northampton), Raising the Awen (Northampton), Night Blue Fruit (Coventry), Poetry Busking (Milton Keynes), CB1 Poetry (Cambridge), WORD! at the Y (Leicester), Apples & Snakes Open Mic (London), Camden Crawl (London), Farrago Slams (London), Poetry Stanza (Milton Keynes), Hammer & Tongue Slams (Cambridge), Upbeat Open Mic (Cambridge), Bang Said the Gun (London), Scribal Gathering (Stony Stratford), Speakeasy (Peterborough), BEAT (London), Bard to Verse (Stony Stratford), Love Songs At Coffee Affair (London)

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Has shared stages with, among others:

Dizraeli, Amy Acre, Danni Antagonist, The Antipoet, Ray Antrobus, Dean Atta, Lucy Ayrton, Harry Baker, “Angry” Sam Berkson, Jean Binta Breeze, Sophia Blackwell, Katie Bonna, Henry Bowers, Cat Brogan, Alison Brumfitt, Stephanie Chan, Billy Childish, Tim Clare, Daurian Daucha, Young Dawkins, Jessie Durrant, Ruth E Dixon, Zena Edwards, Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, Elaine Ewart, David Florez, Richard Frost, Salena Godden, Mark Grist, A.F. Harrold, John Hegley, Alex Iamb, Sally Jenkinson, Mab Jones, Adam Kammerling, Ian Keteku, Shane Koyczan, Steve Larkin, Rachel McCrum, Elvis McGonnigle, Hollie McNish, Keely Mills, Bridget Minamore, Leanne Moden, David Morgan, Stephen Morrison-Burke, Mark Neil, Lee Nelson (the other one), Captain of the Rant, John Osborn, Tickle Person, Chris Redmond, Mixy Riccardi, Deanna Rodger, Jacob Sam La Rose, Tina Sederholm, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Ross Sutherland, Kate Tempest, Nathan A Thompson, Richard Tyrone Jones, Byron Vincent, David J Vocal Pugilist, Hannah Jane Walker, Sophia Walker, and J.S. Watts.

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What other people have been saying:

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“We need more poetry like this... funny, confident, modest and a really bloody good poet to listen to.” - Hollie McNish, Former Glastonbury Slam Champion and co-founder of “Page to Performance”

“... her poetry combines lyrical flair with a solid emotional core. In a scene full of copycats and trend-chasers, there is no one quite like her...” - Tim Clare, Founder member of “Aisle16”

“Fay performs her poetry with confidence, passion and an intimate, hypnotic vibe.” - Elaine Ewart, Fenland Poet Laureate 2012-2013

“Fay Roberts... never disappoints and often amazes... She uses words with judgement and economy - a whisper instead of a shout, and always a smile...” - Young Dawkins, Scottish Slam Champion 2011-2012, host/ compere of the BBC Slam at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

“... an artist who can incorporate the funny, the emotive and the surreal into a single set... a valued part of the UK scene.” - Russell Thompson, London Programme Co-ordinator, Apples & Snakes

“... a dragonness of a poet who will seduce you with her musicality...” - Tina Sederholm, Co-host of “Hammer & Tongue” Oxford, Shadow Artist at the “Shake The Dust” program 2012

“Known to us as ‘The Welsh Whisperer’, Fay Roberts has the ability to bring a room to total silence, her mellifluous tones sending her audience into a dream like trance... cannot recommend her highly enough.” - Paul Eccentric, Co-founder and host of “Rhythmical Ravings & Rants” (RRRants.com) and speaking part of “The Antipoet”

“... she combined a compelling mix of emotions... ranging from excitement, joy, uncertainty and fear in deftly modulated piece. Fay is certainly one to watch on the performance poetry scene.” - Pam Thompson, Producer of ‘Write Way Up’

“... I’m beginning to lose count of the times she’s transfixed audiences at MK poetry nights with her deceptively soft-spoken yet powerfully compelling words... Plus she sings like an angel frosted in icing sugar.” - MMT, editor of Monkey Kettle magazine

“... hauntingly brilliant.” - Richard Tyrone Jones, ringmaster of Utter! poetry.

“... Fay’s words are the good stuff; the nourishing, soul-strengthening shot that warms you on the last train back home; the line you can’t get out of your mind...” - Mark Niel, Milton Keynes Poet Laureate 2011-present, former host of Tongue in Chic

“Inaccurately described once as “a tsunami of hair” Fay Roberts is in fact more akin to a sunset over a glorious coastline... Treat yourself: See her perform, read her words.” - Ian Barker, award-winning fellow-performer

“if you have the chance to see her, make sure you take it.” - Noel Hill, reviewing Utter! Sickness, 1-Feb-11.

To see these (and others) in more detail, please click here.

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