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Never before have I seen such an assortment of talent in such an informal setting. Yes the Ink Festival in May 2011 was my first experience of this kind. I have performed poetry before but Ink Festival was unlike anything I had ever expected. It took place across four nights. Following was the schedule:

May 5th - Comedy Night
May 6th - Scratch Night
May 7th - Scratch Night
May 8th - Music Night

Of these, I had the priviledge of attending the first 3 nights. Couldn't go for the fourth because I was too exhausted. I cannot even imagine the amount of stress the organisers would have gone through to organise this festival. I met two of them, Becci and Rachel, and I am sure there are many others behind the scene who made this excellent show possible.

I was all excited to attend the comedy night for two main reasons:

1) This was the first one that I would be attending
2) I was getting a 50% discount owing to the fact that I was to perform on the scratch nights

So even though the venue was far-off at The Corner House in Heaton, I hired a taxi right after my evening class and headed there. In my enthusiasm to get the most from the night, I chose the front-most seat, a decision I was to considerably regret and enjoy later because I was picked on by every single performer that night. I was propositioned, pretend-licked, scared out of my wits by the ugliest doll I have ever seen, all in one single night. All performers were amazing though there was a prevalance of toilet humour in some performances which I didn't really enjoy as much. The host was the brilliant Graham Oakes who was the star of the night along with the guy who was asked to extend his act at the last moment from 5 minutes to half-an-hour and did it brilliantly.

The Scratch Nights were held in a Cafe, known as The Blake's Cafe right in the middle of the town which wasn't such a good idea considering that it was a weekend and there was a game on at St. James Park and Newcastle United was playing in it! The compere for the first scratch night was Liam Frost and all performers were brilliant. My personal favorites were Shakirah Bourne's Rock-a-bye (the actor who performed this was brilliant) and Jonny Bussell's Nod of War (Absolutely Hilarious). I also liked the actor who played the Redundant God and the Intrusive fellow traveller in another play. The first night was unexpectedly quiet outside the Cafe. The only noise being that of the performers, compere, and generous applauses. I performed my poem "Drifting with the Tyne" and I think I did alright. Moreover, I had my friends in the audience and that mattered a lot. Here is a video that one of them recorded of me performing.

The second scratch night was so much more inappropriate and hence a lot more fun. All performances from the first scratch night were to be repeated and the event was to be hosted by Graham Oakes, the guy who hosted the comedy night. The town was unexpectedly loud that day because Newcastle United had won a game. We had a lot of window thumping, shouts of "You suck!", and naked-ass-rubbing on the glass doors of the Cafe that night, all from drunk people outside. Some of the actors even reacted to these insults by incorporating the responses into their acts much to the delight of the audience. It was much more fun because the actors could barely stop laughing during their own acts. We could see them trying to suppress the grins and even full-fledged laughters while they were performing. But it was awesome and added to the fun. My own performance was better than the first scratch night. Unfortunately, I did not have any friends in the audience that night to record my performance. But I was delighted that I got an opportunity to perform in front of such a supportive audience.

Overall, the festival has encouraged me to send my creative writing to other festivals and publications. If my poem could get selected amongst such brilliant writing, I feel that my skills as a poet have been validated. On to other goals now.

Thanks Ink Festival Organisers. I wish I am here to perform again the next time you organize the festival.



  1. Good show.

    The line between performer/poet is blurring I guess :-)

    I can not seem to click on the video. You might want to give the youtube link as well.

    Good show.

  2. Thanks Nandan,

    yes, its true. The line is blurring. Poets were given an option for this event to either perform their own poems or have an actor to do it for them. I chose to do it myself. It felt really nice.

    I have replaced the video with that from Youtube. Please let me know if you can view it now.



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