Phrased & Confused 2011 Review

Well we’ve said goodbye to 2011, and what a fantastic year it was for Phrased & Confused.

The year started with us commissioning four artists to create a piece of new work, centred around the theme of protest. Laura Dockrill, Shane Solanki, Yusra Warsama and Ben Mellor were charged with responding to the following brief…

This year we want to commission four new pieces of work that take as their starting point the theme of protest and at the same time explore the fertile ground between music, lyrics and poetry.  We hope these commissions will give you the chance to create new work that plays with the connections – and differences – between poetry and lyrics, and the conventions attached to their presentation.

We’re also looking for material that will ‘speak’ to music fans, hopefully opening up a new audience to spoken word along the way.  And we want to commission work which will look at home in an independent festival environment, but which will also have the potential to tour the country, or feel equally at ease in another festival contexts too. 

With the help of Creative Mentor for the project, Stuart Silver, the four commissioned artists set about writing their new pieces of work in preparation for Summer Sundae, and with the help of work shop days with Stuart and P&C Director Matthew Linley.


The Summer Sundae Weekender came around quickly, and the P&C team set off from all corners of the country to Leicester for the weekend of the 12th – 14th of August to once again spread wordy wonderment and musical magic across the festival site. Alongside our four commissioned artists and their performances we programmed a full three days of poetry, music and spoken word performances across three stages of the festival as well as readings, intimate performances and word games at our base the ‘Shhh Library Tent.’ You can view our full line up from the festival here, and the 8-page fanzine we produced for weekend can still be viewed online.

P&C Director Julia Payne introduces her highlight from the weekend…


We also produced podcasts everyday at the festival which included highlights, interviews and snippets from each of our four commissioned artists’ performances…

P&C at Summer Sunder Podcast – Day 1

P&C at Summer Sunder Podcast – Day 2

P&C at Summer Sunder Podcast – Day 3

P&C at Summer Sunder Podcast – Day 4

So with Summer Sundae done and dusted, we looked forward to the Interrogate! Festival at Dartington in September, the first ever festival of social justice. Brand new and unique in the UK, the Interrogate festival took a fresh approach to looking at income inequality, its impact and what we can all do about it. Through performance, debate, comedy, film, music, workshops, podcasts and ideas, Interrogate was about inspiring people – and P&C were delighted to be right there in the mix!

We were very excited to take three of our four commissioned artists to Interrogate! as well as a new take on our ‘Insulting Cabaret’.

 Ben Mellor, Shane Solanki and Yusra Warsama combined their new pieces of work for a special one off show entitled ‘Phrased, Confused & Angry’ including some special guests especially for Interrogate! Ben Mellor was again be joined by the wonderful, Leonie Higgins and Dan Steele for his performance of ‘This Poem Is On Strike’ and Yusra welcomed International DJ, Beatboxer, Experimental percussionist, Composer and Visual Artist Jason Singh to perform ‘Street Prophets’ with soundscapes provided by DJ Gazzhands , and Shane Solanki was reunited with the wonderful Ben & Alfie for his piece ‘Bipolar.’

Interrogate! Cabaret based on our infamous ‘Insulting Cabaret’ brought a special evening of late night word play, vocal trickery, comic truths and some good old fashioned fun to Interrogate. Hosted by BAFTA Nominated and Perrier Award Winning Stuart Silver, the line up included…

Natural Causes (house band) and Stuart Silver (MC)

Sieze The Day

Inua Ellams – Resident Poet at Interrogate Festival

Hannah Silva

chris T-T

Caspar Walsh

Jackie Juno

Natural Causes

Finally 2011 saw us look to answer the question, what does it take to get poets and musicians cross? On the 23rd of November at Contact in Manchester we found out with the full UK premiere of our Phrased, Confused and Angry! Show, featuring all four of our commissioned artists; Laura Dockrill, Shane Solanki and Manchester’s own Ben Mellor and Yusra Warsama.


Taking as a starting point the work they created for Summer Sundae, the show featured four very personal takes on the theme of protest, from a girl’s battles with her male alter-ego ‘Sebastian’ to a poem that goes on strike! Collaborating musicians included international beatboxer Jason Singh, with DJ Gazz Hands providing soundscapes and protest playlists on the night.

Check out our photo gallery from the night below… courtesy of Ian Taylor.


Phrased & Confused in 2012…

Keep your eyes peeled for news of our exciting plans for this year. Stay in touch via our social networks…

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