If brevity is the soul of wit, then emoji is the funniest language on the planet. Or it should be. Stand-up poet Dan Simpson taps into the ideograms and idiocy of our modern anxieties with a little 'wordplay alchemy' (FringeReview.co.uk). 'Charmingly geeky' (Scotsman) Glastonbury and BBC regular returns to the Fringe with whip-smart words and playful performance.
4 - 26 August (not 15th), 6.40pm Banshee Labyrinth (venue 156), 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG Info
90s nostalgia, overpriced brunch, and the housing crisis: Millennials have a lot going on. A data-driven performance about wanting the security of home - but being unable to afford it.
Forthcoming solo show currently in development, with support from Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre, and Wandsworth Arts Fringe. Check out the development blog: avocadoeconomics.tumblr.com
Holmes & Watson: The Case of the Rhyming Crime
See Holmes and Watson as never before, as Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventures are turned into clever verse and lively lyrics by Dr. Illingworth & Mr. Simpson. As the pair engage in an acrobatic session of verbal cut and thrust, one mystery deepens over all others: what has become of Moriarty?
Sherlock and poetry are totally complementary and what’s the result? Why – it’s completely elementary!
Currently touring! Show development supported by Inn Crowd.
Biology meets balladry as leading scientists are paired with incredible spoken-word artists to collaborate on a new performance, celebrating the creative similarities between science and the performing arts. The result? A diverse display of rhyme, rhythm and reason. A project from Dr. Illingworth and Mr. Simpson.
“the packed out audience will never again doubt the validity of the two pursuits being combined” - Manchester Mule
Bexley Libraries Poet-in-Residence
Throughout Bexley Libraries' Book Buzz Festival, Dan will be in-residence: creating poems on-demand for library users, writing short verse on social media, facilitating creative writing workshops, and performing too!
• Poetry workshop for adults at Sidcup Library, Wed 21 Feb 2.30pm – 4pm • Poetry workshop and performance for teens and young adults at Central Library, Thu 22 Feb 4pm – 6pm • Poetry reading at Erith Library, on Fri 23 Feb 3.30pm – 5pm
Got the smartphone blues? Stand-up poet Dan Simpson focuses his high-speed fuzzy logic on the screens and machines that rule over our lives. As the robots rise and deep learning AIs threaten to take over the world – how will humanity survive? An hour of emoji poetry, selfie stick performance, and computerised comedy from BBC / Glastonbury wordslinger Dan Simpson.
First shown at Edinburgh Fringe, and touring to London, Gothenburg, Exeter, Barnstable and Harrogate. "the perfect antidote to the perpetual screen-burn of our internet-obsessed age" - The Scotsman "a talented wordsmith - this is poetry for the selfie generation." - West End Wilma
Dr. Illingworth and Mr. Simpson
Sam is a scientist who performs poetry. Dan is a poet who writes about science. Together, they are: Dr. Illingworth & Mr. Simpson!
Stand-up comedy: poetry’s idiot relation, right? Performance poetry: comedy’s boring cousin, yes? Let's find out! Stand Up & Slam is a battle show where six phenomenal acts from the worlds of comedy and poetry go face-to-face in three killer rounds of spoken word.
Currently playing at Camden Comedy Club and Komedia Brighton, plus Edinburgh Fringe and UK dates.
During climate change summit COP22, Dan crowdsourced a poem about climate change for Free Word. As COP22 discussed this global issue in Marrakech, we invited you to be part of the conversation by helping to create a brand new poem.
Being Human is a festival of the humanities. Dan worked with the University of Kent and Canterbury Roman Museum to deliver workshops and performances around the hopes and fears of architecture, using artefacts from Britain's Roman history to inspire participants.
23 Submarines is inspired by the three wrecks of World War I submarines which lie on the banks of the River Medway. Led by performance poet Dan Simpson, the poetry strand commissioned six local poets to compose new poems responding to these stories and objects.
Dan is leading workshops for emerging writers, local residents, and families. The output of these will form the basis of an outdoor poetry trail across Medway’s five town centres, leading into the libraries. Local writers will take part in library ‘open mic’ performance nights.
Weatherfronts is a series of poems on the subject of climate change, commissioned by TippingPoint, Spread the Word, and Free Word. Climate change is already having a significant impact on the planet, and its effects will continue to grow. In these poems Dan reflects the substantial disruption and damage already occurring, in the structure and form of a moving text.
Dan led the Arts Programme for the National Trust and Spread the Word at Knole House, working with local young people to create writing and performances. As part of the residency, Dan wrote commissioned poems and engaged the public with poetry.
Dan was poet-in-residence at Canterbury Roman Museum 2014-15. Dan walked from London to Canterbury following the Roman Road, visiting historical sites along the way and writing poems. He also ran creative writing workshops for adults, and turned all this material into a poetic audio tour of the Museum and pamphlet.
Transport for London teamed up with London poets and M&C Saatchi to help make travelling around the capital better for everyone as part of the 'Travel Better London' campaign. Dan was Poet in Residence at Waterloo Station and a Pop-Up Poet around the network. He wrote poems on station walls, cut up poems from free papers, performed in busking spots on the Underground and hosted a slam at Liverpool Street Station.
Since the beginning of scientific discovery, poets have written about science; while scientists have written poetry. In this live performance, poet Dan Simpson and scientist Dr Sam Illingworth consider the artistic value and scientific integrity of the two worlds, and how they interact. Performed at Edinburgh Fringe and Manchester Science Festival.
"introduces, play-fights with, and eventually dismantles the idea that there is an insurmountable opposition between ‘perfect/cold’ science and ‘irrelevant/beautiful’ poetry." - The Sick of the Fringe
What happens when you lock two poets in Southbank Centre overnight to come up with 154 new poems? Using Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets as inspiration, Dan Simpson and Niall O’Sullivan write throughout the night as part of the Festival of Love.
London Lines, from Southbank Centre and Jaybird Live Literature, involved creating a new poem for each borough in London. Dan was commission for his home borough of Bexley. Through making contact with local community groups and by interacting with members of the public, I collected thoughts, memories, stories and opinions about the borough before writing a new poem for Bexley. Look out for it somewhere in the Southbank!
A commission to write poems in response to the Corinium Museum’s collection, and their Food for Thought exhibition in partnership with the British Museum. The exhibition explored food in Roman Britain and the wider Roman world and is a , Roman archaeologists from UK Universities and the Corinium Museum.
A Street Slam is an outdoor, pop-up performance combining spoken word and poetry slam to engage the public. Using a portable stage in public places, a crowd is gathered to watch two poets go head-to-head with poems. Street Slam is a fast and impactful way to engage the general public with spoken word through guerilla-poetry. Audiences say:
"I used to think poetry was boring – but this is great!"
"I’ve been in a blue mood for a month and you’re the first thing to make me smile in all that time."
2015's Edinburgh Fringe show. A multi-verse of awesome spoken word from stand-up poet Dan Simpson (BBC, Glastonbury, Canterbury Laureate). Science and love are quantum-entangled with metaphors that are metaFTW, as high-performance poetry meets geek culture in an energetically entertaining show.
Reviews: "Simpson wants to show us that poetry can connect with everyone. He takes you by the hand and shines a light into this strange counter-culture that is poetry... mesmerizingly meta... wordplay alchemy." - Fringe Review Recommended Show
UCL: Engineering Exchange
A commission from UCL's Engineering Exchange to write a poem about the social side of engineering, and to judge the public competition.
2014 Fringe show, to coincide with the launch of Dan's first collection. Spoken word poet Dan Simpson (Glastonbury, BBC Radio, Canterbury Laureate) performs lively poems, smart jokes, and awesome flipchart presentations for geeks, nerds, and anyone who likes playing with words. Videogame verse and sci-fi-filled stanzas combine with meta-metre in an engaging show.
"Simpson’s poetry goes into a lot of unusual areas: using topics like video games and computer programming... but somehow managing to keep an emotional edge to the proceedings, while also having fun playing around with the idea of poetry itself... a hilarious ending to our week" Audience review
We Are All Orange Ghosts
Dan's debut solo show for the Fringe 2013. Feel like you’ve been badly coded? A comedic spoken word story about growing up and learning to be happy. It’s also quite a lot about the orange ghost from Pac-Man, who has problems of his own. Canterbury Laureate Dan Simpson presents a geeky confessional about childhood regrets, teenage idiocy and twenties stupidity told through poems, music, jokes and a ridiculous over-analysis of the videogame Pac-Man.
Reviews: "Charmingly geeky" - The Scotsman "endearingly nerdy" - Three Weeks "clever, frequently amusing" - Broadway Baby
National Museum of Scotland
The National Museum of Scotland played host to Game Masters, an exhibition showcasing classic and contemporary videogame design. The Museum celebrated the show with a Museum Lates event, featuring music, talks, and – of course – plenty of games. It also featured a brand new crowdsourced poem created by Dan!
A crowdsourced poem for the University of Kent's 50th Anniversary. The poem was read out at gala dinners in Eliot and Rutherford and subsequently shared across social media channels and in the Kent alumni magazine.
The Royal Academy of Arts wanted a crowdsourced poem for their Sensing Spaces architectural exhibition. Over the course of a Museum Late event - where visitors explored the show in the gallery after-hours - Dan spoke to lots of people, collected their words in response to the exhibition and architecture, and turned them into a poem. People also took part on Twitter.
A crowdsourced poem all about discovery and books created for The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury with artist Mark John Smith. Mark responded to the finished poem with a new artwork, currently displayed on The Beaney’s artwall.
Dan was Canterbury Laureate 2013-14 for Canterbury Festival, working on City of Voices, a community-based poetry project, writing commissioned poems, and delivering workshops for the Schools’ Poetry Competition. The competition culminated in a final event on National Poetry Day, where prizes for writing and performing were given.
Spoke 'n' Word
Dan was a Poet Coach on Spoke ‘n’ Word, a poetry in education project across East Kent from Workers of Art and Apples and Snakes. Participants were mentored in writing and performing their own poetry, taking part in a county-wide slam competition.
An inter-school poetry slam featuring primary and secondary schools from across East Kent. Rather than being taught by teachers and adults, Year 10s from Herne Bay High were coached by Dan to lead workshops with younger pupils to create poems and performances for the slam.