OUR 2ND BIRTHDAY – June 19th – and the theme is… DIRT

Yep, you read right – we’re being blatant this time, our theme for our 2nd birthday is dirt – so come prepared to listen to us twisting that topic into the darkest and dingiest of places.

June 19th 2014, Rhymes with Orange turns two. So, come and celebrate with us on what will be without doubt the greatest night of spoken word nonsense in the world ever – until we turn three that is.

We’ll have the FULL set of featured performers:

  • Ellie Dawes
  • Becky Dennis
  • Rachel Marsh
  • Thomas Muirhead
  • Dan Piper
  • Kimberley Pryor
  • Stevie Tyler
  • and our open mic winner from last night – Josh Allsopp

As well as the WORLD FAMOUS ORANGE CRUSH OPEN MIC. If you want one of the tickets for that – do make your way to the booking page: http://bookwhen.com/rhymeswithorange as soon as you can as there are only six places available.

In fact, all of you be warned, this event will sell out, so buy your tickets now so you don’t have to cry into your ready meal wishing you were there.


The view from the audience

Last night for the first time since we started, I was an audience member not a performer, viewing the poets and the poems just like anyone else.

I was really happy to be ‘taking a rest’ (as all good performers like to say) because writing and performing new material every month or so is really quite hard work. Not, like, manual labour hard or even making custard from scratch hard, but playing a game of mental scrabble with yourself hard. With added self-doubt for extra fun.

So it was nice not to write, of course. But the real pleasure came from watching my fellow poets get up on stage and perform new poems, for the first time, all over again.

Because of our promise to write new material each time, every Rhymes with Orange is like the first one. No two have ever even been remotely similar in content, audience or performer. The combination that comes together each time is a unique and heady one. Is the audience rowdy? Or reflective? Are the performers feeling funny or feisty, or sad? Has the compere had a really shit day? Are we all going to be able to come together and make this thing happen?

But we do it, every time.

And sitting there in the low-lit room last night made me realise just how essential the audience is to the night. We are the cheerleaders and enablers, the shouters and the clappers. We’re the ones who implicitly give permission to the poets to perform. We, like a Roman emperor, give the thumbs up or thumbs down for each poem. We can condemn a poem to death with the mere stilling of our shakers or the silence of our laughter.

I watched spellbound and proud, as people I know and love; and people I barely know, stood tall and proud, pushed their chins up and walked into the blinding bright of the stage to share their words with me.

Their hearts will be beating so hard they’ll hear it in their ears like a bassline. They won’t be able to see the faces of the crowd, but they’ll be thankful for it. And they’ll have a dry taste in their mouth like they just did a shot of sand at the bar. But they’ll do the long slow walk to the stage anyway.

My privilege is in knowing how they will have sat down and written, rewritten, edited, panicked, practised, read out and read out and… had a quiet word with themselves in the loo beforehand. All before walking up on to the brightly lit stage and saying their poems for the first time to a crowd of people who’ve paid good money to be entertained by them.

And we will watch them, willing them on for their own good but also for ours. We want them to be good because we want to have a good time. I learnt last night that it is always the audience and never the poet who thinks ‘we’re in this together’.

We observers only ever see the tip of this enormous poetry iceberg,  the very peak of the giant thing that is writing and preparing for the stage. And I think that is good and right, because that’s how we want it to be.

The audience made the night last night, just like they have every time before.

Because of that, I can’t wait to get back up there and read out my tip of the iceberg, my  top of the mountain, my moment at the summit . Last night reminded me that the view up here is amazing and that I am so glad we’re all up there together.

April Rhymes tickets on sale, plus catch us at a festival in a brewery

Firstly, you can book your tickets now for the next Rhymes! It be happening on 10th April at Bedroom Bar and you can book your tickets here.

If you want in on the open mic ACT FAST, just book a ticket and select open mic. 6 slots available, go go go.

The theme for this one is Play. If you’re performing on the open mic you can write about the theme, or not, we don’t really mind.

In other news, several of us shall be performing at this here festival on 24th May called Hear No Evil. You should come and say hello to us and cheer our poems.

It’s in a brewery so there will be beer, so that’s a bonus. And as an extra special BONUS bonus, it’s all for charity. so you’ll be enjoying us, lots of other cool stuff like music and comedy, and you’ll be supporting Macmillan Cancer Support who support people with cancer. All good things.

Sort your January out. Rhymes with Orange is this Thursday.

Ah, January. You’re a hard month to love. The weather is awful, everyone is poor and on a diet, or even worse, off the booze. You’re a four week guilt trip that no one needs. The days are still so short that many of us only ever go outside in the dark and there aren’t even any Christmas lights up to make it look pretty.

But you’re nearly over! Hooray! Soon it will be February and that means it is almost time for SPRING. More importantly, it means most people have finally cracked and agreed that, yes, they should be fun and come out and do something that doesn’t involve wearing a onesie and watching repeats of CSI.
And this is where WE come in, oranges and oranginas! We ARE that fun.
Rhymes with Orange is this Thursday and we have a rhyme-slinging, shaker-shaking, beer-drinking poetry ruckus heading towards us faster than you can say ‘No booze for me, Im doing dry-January’.
The theme is Revenge – so we are hoping for some laughs, some chills and probably something a little bit creepy. The poets are in full swing and we can’t wait to see you there, so get a ticket on the website or just turn up on the door ready to blast the January blues away!

Get your advance tickets now

Bedroom Bar (upstairs in the comedy theatre)
66-68 Rivington St, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
£5 in advance, £6 on the door

Future dates of Rhymes with Orange

Good news! We’ve booked in dates for Rhymes with Orange for the first half of next year. All are at the bedroom Bar on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Add these to your diary:

  • Thursday 30 January
  • Thursday 6 March
  • Thursday 10 April
  • Thurs 15 May


Havant Literary Festival: Rhymes with Orange on Tour!

Last weekend your favourite spoken word night packed up its shakers and shuffled on down to the south coast to bring our unique brand of rhyme to the Havant masses.

It was Havant Literary Festival and we were invited to run our night on the Sunday. There were some differences to our usual setup. In place of the night sky was blinding sunshine as it was a 1pm slot; in place of shots were roast dinners; and instead of a room of 100 two-drinks-in punters were a cast of 40 ranging from dogs to kids to granddads. And boy did that excite us.  We are used to performing to a liveley evening audience willing you to do well and up for a night of laughter but with the motley crew we’d gathered up, we didn’t know what to expect.

Well, we had nothing to worry about. Ellie Dawes kicked us off with her fox onesie crowd-pleaser and they immediately warmed. They first enjoyed Ellie’s set, followed  by me, then by Stevie, who’s stalking poem had the audience in fits, and finished up with Thomas whose old-favourite, Hula Hoops went down a storm. The applause didn’t end there though, because we had special guest Audi Maserati with us and his 80s-rant style poetry entertained us until the roast dinner plates were squeaky clean.

The Limerick Challenge was a full one with the prompts being literary characters and places – around 15 people came up and showed us their lyrical skills entertaining us with the real story behind such literary favourites as Heathcliff and Oliver Twist.. The open mic was equally successful with Daisy Dawes taking the title after her poem about her sister (our very own Ellie) and their not-so-secrets-anymore.

Over the weekend, our stand-up poets were also asked to perform on the town stage and to partake in some guerilla poetry. I tell you, accidental swears in a church and library aren’t nearly as embarrassing as you’d think – the unexpected performances were mostly well-received (we shan’t talk about Barclays Bank…) and we all appreciated having to get out of our comfort zone.

We had a great time in Havant. It was a fantastic opportunity to do a daytime gig, to work with a new audience in a new location and introduce some more people to spoken word. Thanks Havant for Having us – hopefully we’ll be invited back next year!

Rhymes with Orange turns one year old!

It’s been a year. One whole earth year since Rhymes with Orange set up shop and started disseminating our lyrical service to the masses. To celebrate this mighty achievement, we are throwing a birthday party! It’ll be the usual Rhymes with Orange nonsense but with much more orange paraphernalia. We promise the following – Bunting (standard party behaviour), cake (standard party bahviour), FREE ORANGES (non-standard (exceptionally kind) behaviour) and more poetry than you can shake a lyrical stick at.

The open mic will be a bumper one, not least because among the prizes is an ORANGE SPACEHOPPER (cue audience *ooooooooo*s). We are excited to get a load of the open micers back that have graced our stage over the last year. They are the ones that have inspired us, kept us going and are the reason we are here – to help you get from page to stage.

So come to the night and help us celebrate – we are celebrating you, our audience, our faithful supporters, our orange shaker-enthusiasts, our poets, our comedians, our brave stage-goers, our limerick-virgins and limericks-pros, our Rhymes with Orange family!

Get your advance tickets now

Bedroom Bar (upstairs in the comedy theatre)
66-68 Rivington St, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
£5 in advance, £6 on the door


Finally, we’ll leave you with a few words about the night from some of our Twitter peeps and attendees* to persuade you that not coming on 18th June will be the worst decision you ever made:


“Rhymes with Orange makes me feel vital with life and creativity and in some way, has saved me” – R.Boudour


“I thought it was going to be shit, but actually it was really good” – H.Winter


“Rhymes with Orange is the reason I am the man I am today” – Anand Modha (@Modhabobo), inventor of the term hypnorape


“Rhymes with Orange is the most fun you can have without lube” – Ellie “onesie” Dawes


*These were in no way harvested through leading questions or threatening tweets.



A little bit about who’s behind all this

We have just added a new page to the website to tell you a little more about our comperes and resident poets. Go and check it out and read a little more about who we are.

People behind the rhymes

Some Spoken Word Inspiration

It’s been a little quiet on the blog lately so I thought I’d share with you a few of the things and people that inspire us. When I say ‘us’, I mean your monthly hosts and co-founders of Rhymes with Orange, one video from each of which I have shared below with a little explanation of why they get us going.

Buddy Wakefield – Human the death Dance

Chris Wolfe’s inspiration

‘This video is crap. it’s shaky, the audio is tinny, the quality is poor. And yet the liveness of the poem and the poet come through. It gave me the chills and ignited the light over a new path for my poetry.’ – Chris

Polarbear – Jessica

Kim Pryor’s inspiration

‘My boyfriend in High School sent me this video and I think it was my first introduction to spoken word. I watched in awe as Polarbear told stories in ways I had never heard with such lyricism and sincerity. He made me care about what he was saying and feel what he was feeling – he had me holding onto every word that fell from his mouth and I was all like, “I need to learn how to do that”.’ – Kim

Tim Minchin – Storm

Thomas Muirhead’s inspiration

“There are two main reasons why I love Tim Minchin’s STORM. The first is his approach to argument, to influencing people, to convincing people: it’s a powerful piece. The dialectic of conversation around a dinner party, as Plato showed in his Symposium (don’t worry I’m aware dropping Plato into this makes me sound like a wanker – but it was an important book for me – OK), uses a social situation which makes what could be dry, logical argument into an entertaining mechanism to outline illogical positions and tear them down. The second is that he does it with such charm, lyrical inventiveness and theatrical performance that it’s great even if you don’t agree.” – Thomas

Rob Auton – Leaves

Stevie Tyler’s inspiration

“I love this video because it pokes fun at itself and some of the overly sincere videos out there. The poem is both funny and tragic – something I am drawn to increasingly in my writing and which I think Rob Auton does very well. A sprinkle of the surreal makes it less intimidating to the listener and that’s what we’re all about at RWO. And god, I love Rob’s flat vowels” – Stevie

Rhymes with Orange in numbers 2012

In Praise of 2012 (and us)

At the beginning of last year, no one knew of Rhymes with Orange, not even the future hosts, but by the end of May 2012, there was dream working its way down a pipeline ready to burst out as the June Rhymes with Orange debut night – intended as a one-off celebration of a challenge set by five intrepid writers.

Thomas, Kim, Chris, Stevie and Rachel had been writing from 7-9am on Wednesday mornings for a while (Chris and Rachel from way back in 2009!) and had challenged one another to write spoken word and perform it at a London open mic night. Not content with that, they decided that the best thing to do was to put on our own night. Just once. Just for our friends.

Thankfully, the enthusiasm of your hosts meant that one thing led to another and a monthly open mic night was born. And we have gone from strength to strength. Here is 2012 in numbers:

Rhymes with Orange in numbers 2012

We couldn’t have done it without the help and support of so many but props to Brette Carrigan & Danny Pryor for door duties, Michael Thackray for playing music man, Geoff Marsh, Thom Hoffman & James South for superb videography, the bar staff at Star of Kings, supportive other-halves and friends for putting up with an absent second-half/friend/mother/cousin for a good portion of the month and, most importantly, all you outrageously awesome people that have come along over the past 6 months and fully intend to come back every single time and also perform. Loads.

We’re veering on sentimental here, we know, but it just feels so goddamn good – we are so grateful for the fun we have had and for the chance to motivate you guys into getting some words out too! There is lots more to come in 2013 – writing workshops, more indecently-early writing breakfasts, more ad-hoc limericks and many, many more rhymes for you to devour.

Tell your friends, come again, clap for the brave stage-goers, write something – even if it’s shit, re-write it, re-write it again and then come play at Rhymes with Orange.