Ready for another riotous round of Blahblahblah? We caught up with Vanessa Kisuule to find out about her upcoming show Sexy and how her experience at January’s Ferment Fortnight has shaped the finished piece.
Are you excited to be returning to Blahblahblah?
Yes, always! The audience is always lively and engaged. The Wardrobe Theatre is such a lush venue and Blah always packs it out. The best thing about Blah is that it attracts a crowd that don’t necessarily come to other spoken word events so it is a more varied demographic.
You performed Sexy earlier this year at Ferment Fortnight, how did that process help you?
It was lovely to perform in front of such a warm crowd with friends of mine amongst the audience. This was simultaneously an asset and a drawback – being in my bra and pants was that bit more nerve racking knowing that people I’ve known for years would be there! Ferment is such an important thing for artists that want a push to try new things but don’t want the pressure to come up with a ‘finished’ thing before an audience gets to experience it. Feeling what an audience do and don’t engage with as in invaluable part of the writing and devising process and it was hugely helpful for Ferment to be one of the first pit stops in the journey.
Did the feedback that you received from Ferment Fortnight impact you or the current version of Sexy?
The feedback was very encouraging and was mostly people saying how much they enjoyed it. Whilst that was heartening and confidence boosting, it perhaps wasn’t the basis for any further development – one needs some more incisive commentary to work on in order to develop things further. It was other scratches that I did after Ferment that provided that for me, I feel. But assurance that you’re on the right track is just as important as constructive cristicism!
What do you think of the Spoken Word scene in Bristol?
It’s a small, thriving and welcoming one – I wouldn’t say I am a part of it per se, purely because I perform all over the place and when I’m back home I don’t attend that many poetry events or open mics. But I know and am friends with many of the people who run and frequent them and am really happy to see how varied their voices they are and how hard they work to prevent it from becoming cliquey. Malaika Kegode and Danny Pandolfi are doing brilliant and tireless work and they really are the heroes of the scene in my eyes.
What do you love most about Blahblahblah?
Anna programmes really brilliant artists and I feel she does a great job of depicting the true breadth of the scene. She isn’t just booking her ‘mates’ or letting her personal taste dictate her choices. I would always recommend Blah to someone who wanted to get their first taste of spoken word because I feel every line up is varied and any longer show that is featured will be an example of the best of spoken word theatre.
Can you tell us anything about your upcoming poetry collection?
It’s slowly incubating – it’s called Sorceress and I want to be a big, meaty, fearless book full of heart and grit. It will hopefully be a good indication of how my writing has developed in the four years since my last book. I’ve been so busy that I worry it may never get finished, but I’ll get there in the end!