Word Travels Story Week is Australia’s annual celebration of performed writing. The festival, which takes place from Monday 22 November to Sunday 28 November, is spreading its wings post-lockdown to find us at home, in our hood, in venues and all around Sydney. In other words, the stories are coming to us except for a few that we’re going to have to find or help put together.
Private calls with Poets, Stop Signs + cash that comes to life, hidden capsules across the Botanic Gardens or strolls with TEDx Speakers – there’s so much secret goodness coming to life this Story Week – see the website + USE CODE: SW21ARTISTS to book your own free adventures.
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Top Events at Story Week
Australian Poetry Slam National Final
The National Final is the climax of Word Travel’s Story Week. The top 16 of Australia’s best-outspoken wordsmiths, who have already battled it out against a thousand others at heats and slams across the country, will take to the stage to share their words, their stories, their message.
Their wordplay, delivery and presence will reverberate around Customs House and online as they slam it out for the title of Australian Poetry Slam National Champion and our slam-bassador. On the night, they will be joined by former champion Ren Alessandra, comic, playwright and actor Oliver Twist as well as DJ Meem.
However, prior to the National Final, wordnerds from across Sydney and New South Wales will need to spit their truths on stage in order to make it to the final round. The Sydney Final sees host Defne welcome guest appearances by Hani Abdile, Roje Ndaymbaje and Scruffamudda whereas the NSW Final has Mel Ree make welcome star of Rent Sean Miley Moore, as well as Raveena Grover and Trevor Brown.
Sydney Final – Friday 26 November – $19 – $26
NSW Final – Saturday 27 November – $29 – $36
APS National Final – Sunday 28 November – Online (Pay What You Can: $5 – $50)
The stories of our First Nations people, as well as those from Canada, have travelled across time and space to reach our ears today. They speak of Country, how they awaken here, care for her and praise her.
First Person Voice is a three-part series of events that begins with a celebration of language and an intimate In Conversation event where guests get to find out how First Nations people are weaving their stories together today. This is followed by a series of micro performances featuring Jazz Money, Lu Norton, Daniel Mateo, Ché Baines, Travis De Vries, Rob Waters, Reneltta Arluk and Tully De Vries.
The series culminates in a ground-breaking workshop where you can learn to write love letters to Country as well as discuss where settlers might fit in this conversation.
First Person Voice events take place at Customs House on Saturday 27 November.
The journey of a refugee occurs over unforgiving seas and treacherous lands and often ends in detainment while their claims are processed. Their stories are powerful, heroic and as more form part of our communities, they become part of our story as well.
Join Hani Abdile as she hosts refugees who will share poems, stories and ideas inspired by their journeys.
Chasing Home takes place at Customs House on Sunday 28 November. The cost is $10.
Hit up Word Travels HQ for a round of podcast presentations including a panel, perofrmance and a workshop.
The workshop is hosted by Awesome Black and Audiocraft and attendees will gain insight into technical tips and tricks for writing for audio. With many industry secrets and gatekeepers, it’s no easy feat making it but participants will be invited to submit a piece to the Word Travels team for consideration to perform at a live podcast recording event.
Podcasts have grown in popularity and many of our favourites include telling the story of someone’s life with everything that entails. Therein lies responsibility and high ethical standards. Join seasoned and emerging podcast journalists as they unpack the complexities of telling stories with guts and honour in this discussion.
Finally, the performance brings together people from a range of communities to share a short personal story that will bring you into their world for just a moment. Don’t just hear what they have to say, but how they have to say it as well.
The Audio Galore events occur early in the week from Monday 22 November to Wednesday 24 November.
Top Experiences at Story Week
Do away with small talk and meet up with a fabulous storyteller, a star poet or a friendly face that knows a hell of a lot about the Hadron Collider or birds for Story Walks, a curated talk and walk experience for small groups.
Lunchtime won’t ever be the same after a Story Walk, which takes place in Gough Whitlam Park and around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Talkers and walkers include Kim Graham-Nye, speaker at COP 26 and one of the 100 most influential environmental x designers, poets Shema Mow and Lucia Moon, and keynote speaker, DJ, and quadruple amputee Tom Nash.
Have a listen to what they have to say and you’ll be left with food for thought.
Story Walks take place from 12-1pm on 25, 26 and 27 November.
Take your phone out of your pocket and point it at the STOP sign because there’s more to the command than meets the eye. With Story Week’s Stop Money AR Experience, your phone will transform the sign to reveal lines of hidden poetry by Miles Merrill. If there’s a STOP sign, there’s a poem.
The same AR experience can be used to do away with the two old white-dude poets on our $10 note and replace them with two powerful First Nations poets whose previous works have seen them be rewarded with the David Unaipon Award among other prizes.
Stop Money is a free experience, but you’ll need to head here to get it working.
It’s a literary scavenger hunt where poet Awale Ahmed and author Randell Adjei have spilled their thoughts into words. But, Story Week have cut up their texts and hide them around Sydney and its suburbs. You’ll need the GPS coordinates to find them and when you do, it’s up to you to take a photo and upload it to your socials tagging Word Travels.
In doing so, you and everybody else will be the text’s new creators as you join the two narratives and give it life.
Join the Story Caching adventure. It’s free.
This is a phone call you’re going to want to answer because on the other end of the line is a writer, poet, performer or lyricist who will give you your daily dose of art.
You can hear from the likes of Awale Ahmed, Anjalica Solomon, Manal Younus and Emily Radford with tales of love, separation and resilience among many other themes.
1-800-STORIES is a recurring event that runs multiple times during Story Week. Phone calls are $5 for a three-minute call.
Sydney’s 12 LGAs of concern faced some of the toughest COVID restrictions out of any of us and as a response to this, Word Travels is inviting writers from these areas to send in video poems and stories which will then be embedded on landmarks in the various suburbs. A bridge will cover poetry, a park bench comedy, a post office wall will become a theatre.
Audiences will see the videos by pointing their cameras at the landmarks to reveal what they hide.
Make these stories live with 12 Cocoons.
Bedtime is storytime and Word Travels is inviting parents to make a pledge to read their children original stories and sing songs before they go to sleep. Register and set your pledge to help raise funds for Australian Poetry Slam youth programs.
Get in on the storytelling fun with Sto-Re-Mi.
Word Travels Story Week Details
Of the past two years, Word Travels’ Creative Director Miles Merrill says, “It’s like we’ve gone into cocoons and now, by literally transforming our bodies through vaccination, we emerge, spread wings and gather.” Subsequently, this year’s week’s worth of events have been structured around three key stages in the life cycle of a butterfly—Caterpillar, Chrysalis and Kaleidoscope—which reflect three key elements: Incubate, Create and Celebrate.
Crack open your cocoon and open your world to the power of words this Story Week.
WHEN: Monday 22 – Sunday 28 November 2021
WHERE: Venues, STOP signs, suburbs online across Australia and the world
WORD TRAVELS WEBSITE: www.wordtravels.info
STORY WEEK ARTISTS: Artists
AUSTRALIAN POETRY SLAM WEBSITE: www.australianpoetryslam.com