Featured Event


Saturday, October 12 @ 7:00pm


Brunswick Mechanics Institute
270 Sydney Road Brunswick



Has an Open Mic?


Melbourne Spoken Word is excited to bring you US poet Desireé V. Dallagiacomo to Melbourne in October. Supported by local spoken word artists to be announced.

Tickets on sale now.



Listen to the latest issue of Audacious

Listen to the latest issue of Audacious, the audio-journal of Melbourne Spoken Word, a quarterly album of spoken word of the most bold and fresh voices in Melbourne.

Listen to Audacious .. ›
Event — Saturday, September 21 @ 10:00am

Melbourne Fringe: For Our Freedom

Brunswick Street Gallery

The exhibition is open from 10am to 6pm each day.

For Our Freedom is an audio/visual experience exhibiting a collection of stories of identity from Indigenous Australians and asylum seekers, interpreted by multimedia artists.

This debut multi-arts installation combines storytelling, original music, dance and film into an exhibition to explore a narrative of cultural identity in Australia. As part of a projected collection of visuals and accompanying soundscape compositions from different sound and media artists, each piece of work uses a different spoken text from individual writers that shares their poetry and tells their stories.

Each voice tells a story of identity theft, traumatic pasts and uncertain futures yet carries a message of hope and sense of belonging to this country. A collection of spoken word poems from writer/filmmaker and head of the Wilin Centre of Indigenous Arts Richard Frankland and Somalian slam poet Hani Abdile are told in tandem with recorded spoken stories from Abdul Aziz Muhamat and Professor Munjed Al Muderis about arriving as asylum seekers to this country. This compilation of prose and poetry aims to highlight a shared voice of cultural identity in Australia, presented as an audio/visual narrative in a unique immersive installation.

The sound design and original music by Melbourne composer Jordan Gilmour intertwines with the spoken voice to magnify the meaning and narrative of each story and enhance the emotive quality of each writer’s work and is responded to by six multimedia artists to create a collection of short films and animations that are projected onto 4 screens to guide the audience through the exhibition. These three arts practises are intended to play with the audience’s perception of how a narrative is interpreted, shifting each medium from foreground, middleground and background to explore how each practise can carry a story.

All Ages. Alcohol Free.

Event — Saturday, September 21 @ 5:15pm

Melbourne Fringe: Passionate Machine

The Butterfly Club

Call mum. Buy milk. Cancel free trial. Everyone writes instructions to their future selves. But what if the future starts writing back?

Rosy Carrick has to build a time machine – because her future self has already done so and is now stuck 100 years in the past. Given that her knowledge of quantum physics is more Arnold Schwarzenegger than Stephen Hawking, Rosy must summon the help of science’s greatest minds if she is to rewrite history and save herself…

Darting playfully between multiple narratives, this complex and original performance explores the realities of time travel and self-determination – taking in Bowie, motherhood and some most heinous hangovers along the way.

Winner of the Best New Play Award 2018 (Brighton Fringe) and The Infallibles Award for Theatrical Excellence 2018 (Edinburgh Fringe), Passionate Machine is a hilarious and searingly honest UK smash-hit about obsession, salvation and finding yourself – literally.

A truly fascinating and empowering piece – ★★★★’ Broadway World

‘Surprising, audacious, original. Superb – ★★★★’ Edinburghfestival.org

‘Playful, engaging, refreshing – ★★★★’ The List

‘A narrative of obsession with a clever and destabilising time-travelling framework, bags of wit and enormous heart… Carrick has crafted something genuinely one of a kind’ Exeunt

‘Gorgeously crafted, clever and uplifting, it is a deeply original take on autobiography, unlike anything I’ve seen before’ Velvet Box Office

‘Elegant, delightful, heartbreakingly beautiful’ Total Theatre

‘Excellent show – this is fresh writing at its very best’ Fringe Review

‘Intelligent, articulate & funny… an entertaining hour full of warmth and compassion’ The Scotsman

Interviews — July 18

A Waffle On with Waffle IronGirl

By Tim Train

I’m sitting down for an interview with Waffle IronGirl, me on one end of old faithful (Facebook Messenger), her on the other. I’ve – somewhat unwisely – started off proceedings with a list of ‘suggested’ questions from my partner Lexi, all of them uniquely bizarre. For instance:

“How adaptable is the waffle iron as a printing technology?”

Waffle IronGirl shoots this one down:

Waffle Iron isn’t a printing technology.

It’s very adaptable personal weaponry though.

Things are off to a cracking start.

We’re here to talk about performing in Singapore (she was recently a support act in the Singapore poetry slam) and chapbooks (she’s running a workshop on chapbooks for the Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival). But I can’t resist. Where does the name “Waffle IronGirl” come from? ” I once wrote a flash fiction story about a vigilante called Waffle IronGirl,” she explains. “She used a waffle iron to dispatch with those who would violate her boundaries or the boundaries of those she cared about. When I started performing I needed a stage name, and it seemed like she could impart a courage and frankness that I felt I was lacking personally.”

I could pause here to note that Waffle IronGirl is one of the most original performers I’ve seen, and when she featured for us at the Dan, I felt like the top of my head had been taken off and I had a whole range of new weird and wonderful ideas poured in. Instead, I ask about the Singapore slam; what differences between Singaporean spoken word and Australian spoken word did she notice? “What struck me wasn’t so much the difference in style”, she says, “although that was certainly there.  From a style perspective, there was certainly a more natural use of multiple languages and accents and dialects within the same

Interviews — July 15

Addicted to the feeling of feelings: Interview with Thabani Tshuma

By Poetpre

What does your name mean?

Thabani means “be happy”.

What makes you happy?

Connecting with people. I enjoy consuming art in all its forms. Art is one of the most connective things in which we can participate.

What made you leave Zimbabwe and come to Melbourne? Is Melbourne home now or is there more to your journey?

I left to study in the US and South Africa and finally Melbourne because I have family here. I just thought it would be beaches and people in swimsuits all day but had a rude awakening!

There is so much more to the journey. The project I’m working on now is about the sense of identity displacement. Even in Zimbabwe, I was not culturally accepted because I went to a lot of “white” schools. I’m still searching for a sense of belonging.

Do you know what this place looks like?

No, that’s why it’s so hard to find. But it’s not about the finding, it’s about the journey towards finding. In fact, I’m content to continuously search and not find it because it’s in the search that the most meaningful interactions are to be found.

You’re a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow. What that does mean to you?

It is a great opportunity. Connecting to other writers and becoming a part of the literary world – that is the most valuable aspect. The biggest growth for me is the discipline – working on one full body of work thematically linked, where the content needs coherent narrative. I’m usually very sporadic and volatile in writing, so it’s been an interesting challenge to get into the frame of mind where I’m still authentically expressing myself but it’s a controlled expressing. Not writing to the feeling, but bringing the feeling and writing to it.

You’re part of the Slamalamadingong National Poetry Slam Team. How do you feel and what are you expecting at the event?

A lot of poetry! It’s great to see people workin

Interviews — July 10

Deciding where you stand: Interview with Stephanie Dogfoot

By Waffle Irongirl

Stephanie Dogfoot! We are very excited about your upcoming visit to the Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival 2019, especially in the festival opening night but also you’re feature at Mother Tongue. What else have you planned on your visit?

I am going to Brisbane to visit friends, and also to check out this Melbourne based sketch group I am obsessed with, called Aunty Donna. Of course I am also excited to check out MSWPF19.  I’m also really looking forward to doing some hiking around Melbourne.

Before Melbourne, I’m going to Malaysia for a show there.  I’m going to be bringing my new book there, they actually have a very big spoken word scene in KL, with a number of spoken word events.  The scene is buzzing and exciting.

Can you tell me more about the spoken word scene in this region?

That’s something I am hoping to talk about a bit in my workshop. I’d like to draw on my own knowledge and experience, the history of spoken word in this region (including the English language slam poetry scene), and explore if there’s anything poets can draw from the history and stories of the region.  I also plan to explore political spoken word, as it has emerged from the political context of this area. This includes drawing on the examples of poets I admire from this region.

There is a long history of spoken word poetry in Singapore.  It started in various languages, especially Malay, and forms like sung poetry were practised extensively.

As for the history of English language spoken word, well I was on a panel a year ago where the panelists tried to trace the history of spoken word and open mics in Singapore from the sixties.  There were open mics organised by university students, featuring visiting artists and professors.  In the nineties, Borders (an international bookstore chain) came to Singapore and people used that space for open mics or spoken word poetry events.  Legendary Singapo