From competition finals to family friendly spoken word theatre, our programme is jam packed with poetry goodies! Browse through our digital brochure, or scroll down for a complete guide for every Syntax event.

Peterborough Poet Laureate – The Final

Friday 1st November. 7pm – 10pm
The John Clare Theatre, Broadway, PE1 1AY
Cost: FREE
Booking: Visit
Age 8+

Join us for the crowning of Peterborough Poet Laureate 2019.
Finalists will read or perform their entry to a team of judges before the official crowning of Peterborough’s newest poet laureate. The newly appointed laureate will begin their reign at the start of the festival, and spend their year working with the Syntax team to celebrate Peterborough’s thriving poetry and spoken word community.

Hosted by the incredible Kat Francois. This event is brought to you with the support of Apples and Snakes and Vivacity Culture and Leisure Trust.

Metal Masterclasses: Creating Stage Presence (for 13 – 18 year olds)

Saturday 2nd November. 10.30am – 3.30pm
Metal Culture, St Peter’s Road, PE1 1YX
Cost: FREE
Booking: Via Facebook
Age 8+

Apples and Snakes is pleased to bring international poet/performer Kat Francois to Peterborough as part of the Metal Masterclass series. So, maybe you’ve been writing your own poetry and want to share it on stage, on Insta or Youtube – but you haven’t yet worked out your ‘style’. This workshop with Kat Francois will get you trying different performance styles, mic skills and working on that stage presence.

Peterborough Poetry Stanza:
The personal as Political ft. Edward Doegar

Sunday 3rd November. 1pm – 5pm
Peterborough Museum, Preistgate PE1 1LF
Cost: FREE
No booking required

Peterborough Stanza is a poetry appreciation and writing group, which explores 20th and 21st Century poetry relating to a monthly theme. This is a guided writing workshop which focuses on ideas or techniques emerging from the reading.

This November, the theme will be ‘The Personal as Political’ and will be led by our first visiting poet, Edward Doegar.

For further details visit : Peterborough Stanza

The Mystery of Raddlesham Mumps and Down With The Poetry King

Sunday 3rd November. 3pm – 6pm
Key Theatre, Embankment Road, PE1 1EF
Cost: 8.50
Age 7+
Booking: Vivacity’s website or call 01733 207239

A unique double bill of two acclaimed family shows presented together for the first time here in Peterborough!

Murray Lachlan Young’s gothic masterpiece The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps is a darkly comic tale of 7-year old Crispin and his deeply eccentric ancestors. It mixes compelling story telling with a brilliant musical score, oodles of theatricality and a touch of exquisite silliness. It’s a theatrical treat that’s perfect for lovers of Harry Potter, Tim Burton, Lemony Snicket and The Brothers Grimm!
Mark Grist’s Down with the Poetry King (fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe) fusing award-winning funnies with choose-your-own-adventure poems as you, the audience, use your poetry skills to defeat the Poetry King.

Expect a double bill of gruesome deaths, odes to stinky pirates, bizarre ancestors and some very silly sheep.

Presented by Matthew Linley Creative Projects

Murray Lachlan Young + Mark Grist

Sunday 3rd November. 8pm
Key Theatre, Embankment Road, PE1 1EF
Cost: £13 Full Price, £11 Over 60’s (inc fees), £8.50 if bought in conjunction with 3pm showing
Booking: Vivacity’s website or call 01733 207239

Acclaimed poets Murray Lachlan Young and Mark Grist first met 10 years ago on a Phrased & Confused tour which saw the birth of Mark’s hit show (with MC Mixy) Dead Poets. Ten years on they reunite for this one off special – exclusively for Peterborough.

With both Mark and Murray sharing a mix of new and old material – as well as one or two surprises – it’s a true once in a lifetime evening where thongs meet Donald Trump, and where Girls who Read meet Ronnie Wood falling out of a coconut tree!

Presented by Matthew Linley Creative Projects

Peterborough Feminist Book Club ft.
Jen Calleja

Tuesday 5th November. 7.30pm
Metal Culture, St Peter’s Road, PE1 1YX
Cost: Free
No booking required

Peterborough Feminist Book Club offers a relaxed and informal space for discussion of writing. We welcome all those on and off the gender spectrum.

This month we are joined by Jen Calleja, writer, literary translator, musician and activist. Her poetry collection Serious Justice was published by Test Centre in 2016, followed by the pamphlet Hamburger in the Archive from If a Leaf Falls Press in 2019. I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For, a collection of short fiction, is forthcoming in March 2020 from Prototype. She has translated over a dozen works of German-language literature and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2019 for her translation of Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands (Serpent’s Tail). She plays or has played in the bands Sauna Youth, Feature and Monotony, and is a senior trainer at anti-harassment organisation Good Night Out. Image by Sophie Davidson.

Broadside Making Workshop

Saturday 9th November. 11am – 12.30pm
Metal Culture, St Peter’s Road, PE1 1YX
Cost: Free
No booking required
Age 12+

Join former Peterborough Poet Laureate Keely Mills, and other Syntax poets in a workshop where you will get to create instant, one of a kind poetry graffiti, all by using just your words, a bit of craft and some old postcards. Broadsides are the name of the game, these physical gems of poetry have been used to quickly share poets words for centuries and can pop up in the most unusual spaces. Please bring old postcards, cards or favourite images and we will provide the space and support to create your own broadsides. Please be aware that no walls will be harmed and no spray cans will be opened but there will be cake and a cuppa!

Pete (The Temp) Bearder: Homer to Hip Hop – A History of Spoken Word

Wednesday 13th November. 7pm – 8.45pm
Lecture Theatre, University Centre Peterborough, The Crescent, PE1 4DZ
Cost: £5
Booking: Pay on the door

From Virgil to Biggy Smalls, meet the poetic movements that have shaped history. In this entertaining and performative talk with panel, Pete shows how rappers and spoken word poets are connected to West Africa praise poets, medieval bards and even tribal shaman. Pete brings to life some of the most iconic moments in the history of performance poetry. You can also find out more about Pete’s groundbreaking new book Stage Invasion by Out-Spoken Press.

Scratch Peterborough

Friday 15th November. 6pm – 9pm
Key Theatre, Embankment Road, PE1 1EF
Cost: Free
Booking essential. Click here to book

Scratch Club is a space where performance poets at any stage of their career can share work in progress and get constructive, supportive feedback on their performance from their fellow poets. This session will be facilitated by Hannah Davies. Hannah is a writer theatre-maker and spoken word poet. She is Associate Artist at Say Owt, York’s leading spoken word night and is a multi-slam winning poet.

Places are limited to 10. Please let us know if you require any additional information, including if you have any mobility or health questions.

Battle Lines ft Ellie Sandall vs Kate Hawkridge

Friday 15th November. 7pm – 10pm
Venue TBC
Cost: £5 on the door
18+ (under 18’s to be with an appropriate adult)
FB and Insta: Battle Lines

Battle Lines is a live art battle event sponsored by Posca Pens. Two artists have 90-minutes to complete an illustration. The crowd then vote the winner.

In this special Battle Lines for Syntax Festival each battle artist is teamed up with a performance poet as they go head to head. Battle Lines has been featured on BBC’s Inside Out and has been to Bring The Paint and New Urban Era Art festivals. An evening of awesome live art by great artists, and great tunes. Music may contain strong language.

Surreal Words: Film and Live Poetry

Sunday 17th November. 7pm
Key Theatre, Embankment Road, PE1 1EF
Cost: £7.50
14+ (under 18’s to be with an appropriate adult)
Booking: Click here to book

Live poetry and surrealist film, come together in this exciting screening in collaboration with Syntax, the Peterborough Poetry Festival. Local poets, Hana Sayeed, Pete Cox, Ross Sutherland and Charley Genever will perform alongside the silent films in this not to be missed conclusion of the Gateway Film Festival 2019.

UCP Presents: Andrew McMillan

Wednesday 20th November. 7pm – 8pm
University Centre Peterborough, PE1 4DZ
Cost: Free
Booking essential. Click here to book

University Centre Peterborough and Syntax Festival welcome acclaimed poet Andrew McMillan to Peterborough. Andrew McMillan is a poet with an exceptional and distinct voice. His poetry is widely acclaimed and deals with the urgency of contemporary life. His work was called “Sensational” by The Guardian in the review of his latest collection, Playtime. Andrew will be reading from his collections and there will be a Q&A at the end. This is not one to miss.

Good Shout Poetry Slam ft. Toby Campion

Friday 22nd November. 7.30pm – 10pm
Lightbox Cafe, Bridge Street, PE1 1HA
Cost: £2 on the door
Sign up to slam via Good Shout facebook page

A Poetry Slam in Peterborough? That’s a Good Shout, Mate!
Good Shout is a competitive poetry night, focused on making space for new voices to share a space together. We especially celebrate those who are new to stepping up to the mic, or new to poetry in general. Our headline act for November is the sensational Toby Campion

Transformations Workshop:
Poetic visions collaboratively reimagined

Saturday 23rd November. 2pm – 5pm
Compass Orion Community Hub, Fitzwilliam St, PE1 2RR
Cost: Free
No booking required

Transformations – the poetry workshop that celebrates diversity! The Transformations workshop aims to bring together seasoned and emerging poets of different languages who are interested in the art of translation and/or in seeing their work in translation.
First timer or seasoned writer? We look forward to seeing you all there! Experienced hosts Julia, Mark and Judita will guide the sessions and offer mentorship. Expect to share, explore and reimagine your own poetry, embracing how our cultural backgrounds bring new and exciting perspectives to our craft. To get a taster, come along to the kick-off event in the brand new COMPAS Orion Community Hub. Children, family and friends are welcome.

Syntactics Residency Celebration

Thursday 28th November. 7pm – 9pm
The Undercroft, Serpentine Green Shopping Centre, PE7 8BE
Cost: Free
Please book via this link:

Hear for the first time all work that has been created as part of Syntactic and its 3 month long residencies in the city market, the Allama Iqbal Centre in Millfield and at Nene Park. This is where the work of three poets will culminate and also merge with the ten other poets from the Flash residencies to create a gorgeous evening of poetry, stories and performance.

Expect to hear real stories from the most overlooked but most appreciated parts of Peterborough and experience the tales of its citizens mingled with the poet’s eye for intimate and beautiful detail.

Publishing Masterclass

Saturday 30th November. 10.30am – 3pm
Metal Culture, St Peter’s Road, PE1 1YX
Cost: £10
Booking: email

Get one-on-one advice from a professional in the spoken word and poetry publishing industry. In your slot you will be able to ask questions about putting together a collection, submitting to publications, and receive advice and feedback on one of your poems. Ideal for aspiring poetry and spoken word writers looking to take their writing to the next step.

Spaces are limited. Please book in advance.

A Foreign Policy

Saturday 30th November. 7pm – 9pm
John Clare Theatre, Broadway, PE1 1AY
Cost: TBC
Booking: TBC

A night of poetry exploring masculinity, politics, chicken shops, grandparents, belonging, heartbreak, learning and loving. British Pakistani Men present the first batch of fresh(ly) prepared reflections, stories, and poems on issues and current affairs most local to them, and quintessentially foreign to many.
Peterborough is home to a thriving Pakistani and Kashmiri community, and for the first time in the Key Theatre a group of three Pakistani British storytellers and poets take to the stage and invite you into their homes for an intimate evening of unrequited hospitality, political mangoes and fading photos from dusty albums. Stories that span from Punjab to Chicken Palace, Green Street to Lincoln road and everywhere in between. Featuring Zain Haider, Awan, Jamal Mehmood and Zia Ahmed.

In the mean time, why not follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get updates as we release our programme direct to your newsfeed!

If you have been to a Syntax event and would like to leave us some feedback then please go to this Jotform and fill it out here:

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