– interviewed by James Webster –
With the Saboteur Awards results to be announced at the Awards Party in just two weeks, we interview Best Regular Spoken Word Night nominees Come Rhyme With Me about their event and its unique food-themed format.
Let’s start with the basics: how long has Come Rhyme with Me been running and when/where does it take place?
How did Come Rhyme with Me come into being? Was it done with a particular ethos or mission statement in mind?
In 2010, Naomi Woddis put out a call for an event to take place at Cottons Islington. Dean and Deanna had previously curated events together at Lyric Hammersmith and were keen to establish their own independent event, one that promoted quality spoken word and poetry. They wanted to create an event they would pay to go to.
Come Rhyme With Me has a really unique spin on it with its “set menu of performers” and focus on food. What led to that decision?
Upon seeing the space and the restaurant the idea for a food and poetry night was formed. They pitched the idea to the owners (Beverley and Andrew) and Come Rhyme With Me was conceived!
You run nights in London and Brighton, do you find there’s difference in style/flavour between the events in different areas?
In 2011 Dean was invited to curate an event for New Writing South, an organisation that promotes writing and writers of all types in the South East of the country. Dean decided to bring Come Rhyme With Me, the event was a part of Brighton Fringe Festival and was a success. New Writing South invited Dean and Deanna to launch a regular Come Rhyme With Me at The Writers Place and so Come Rhyme With Me Brighton was launched!
Who have been your favourite performers that you’ve had at Come Rhyme with Us? What have been the other highlights?
There have been so many amazing performers at Come Rhyme With Me not to mention the performers that come through the appetiser (open mic) section. The Christmas party where we had an array of performers has been a highlight. Not to mention the successful collaborations between Come Rhyme With Me and Oval House Theatre and London Liming at Rich Mix.
What do you look for when you book performers for your “set menu?”
The menu is chosen with flavours in mind. What style the performer is and how they would fit in a holistic sense. Very few acts are rebooked though Starters are brought back as Mains or Desserts.
What have been the challenges of running a regular spoken word event?
Not so much challenges as standards. Come Rhyme With Me is all about quality of experience.
What is your opinion of the state of spoken word and performance poetry in London and the UK?
If you’re trying to convince someone who’s never heard of Come Rhyme with Me to come to your events then what do you say?
The food element is a massive draw as are the unique line ups and open mic aspect. Dean and Deanna have also been praised for their ability to create a warm and welcoming environment for all audiences. Why don’t you Come and Rhyme With Us!?
And finally, have you heard of Sabotage before (if so, what?) and are you pleased to be nominated for a Saboteur award?
Come Rhyme With Me is very pleased to be nominated for a Saboteur award. It’s a first of hopefully many. Massive thanks to all those who nominated and have voted.