Unspoken Words Storytelling is taking a break

Dear friends,

Unspoken Words Storytelling is now on hiatus! Our last gig of 2019 is book club on Monday 25 Nov (it’s free and all are welcome).

This multi-disciplinary artist collective was started in 2017 when I (Emma Rose Smith) did a residency upstairs at the Red Rattler Theatre. The Rat was so encouraging, and I thank them over & over for bringing me into the space. The first festival ran in June 2017, and the second festival in September 2018. Unspoken Words has also been involved with various other projects (including a residency, a book club, and some bespoke performances & partnerships).

Alongside many formal and informal collaborations with artists, and with brilliant direction from 2018 festival co-producers Gabe Journey Jones, Vanessa Lee and Wil Roach, our focus has been on mental health and artist professional development. We aim to make events by and for artists, and have honed in on active participation and community. We’ve had free entry to sessions where possible, and have operated under accessibility priorities.

At the beginning of this process in 2017, I had produced gigs and arts projects but had never run a festival before. I was supported along the way by countless friends & peers who saw what I was trying to do and directed me towards ways that I could make it happen. Sometimes, we had some killer events & hit our mark. Other times I fell short and made mistakes, and the learning has been steep. An unconditional thank-you to everyone who has had input into the collective, and stuck with me through this coming of age as a producer / director.

During our three years of operations, Unspoken Words Storytelling has:

  • run 2 festivals, comprised of 33 sessions in total (performances, workshops, panels and special events)
  • worked with over 70 brilliant presenting / performing artists across our festivals and other projects, including Candy Royalle, Hani Abdile, Eunice Andrada, Evelyn Araluen, Arielle Cottingham, Emily Crocker, Winnie Dunn, Robin Eames, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Pola Fanous, Betty Grumble, Lizzy Jarrett, Jacqui Malins, Sara Mansour, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Bill Moran, Jesse Oliver, Mel Ree and Alison Whittaker (thank you to all artists!!!)
  • operated a 12-artist residency project with public events and an artist studio
  • had 16 book club gatherings at Better Read Than Dead bookshop
  • offered 2 artist scholarships (new work commission + festival access) in partnership with R U OK?
  • collaborated with wonderful peers, including the Red Rattler Theatre, New Moon, Humans of Newtown, Spark Youth Theatre, Newtown Festival, Griffin Theatre Company, Word Travels and YOKE magazine
  • been supported by Writing NSW (2018 Emerging Writing Organisation grant), Red Room Poetry, Inner West Council, Lesbians Incorporated and Pride Foundation Australia

THANK YOU to all our collaborators, peers, partners, supporters, friends and mentors! Thank you to everyone who has come to an Unspoken Words Storytelling event. Specific appreciation goes to Candy Royalle, Gabe Journey Jones, Vanessa Lee, Wil Roach, Meredith Williams and the whole Red Rattler team, Zak Moore-Boyle and the Better Read Than Dead crew, and every artist who has worked with us.

I’m taking time to focus on my health conditions, my solo arts practice, and some work in chronic pain / chronic illness and creativity. Also just to chill for a bit.

Maybe see you at book club next Monday? It’s at Better Read Than Dead in Newtown and this month there is no title book; we’re bringing our own favourite poems to share with the group.

With love & signing off for now,

Emma

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