Drew Taylor, compere and promoter of the Tron’s Licence Pending night, is outlining the ideas behind the event when he stops and checks himself. He’s just used the words ‘performance poetry industry’ and he feels the urge to add the caveat ‘if you can call it that’.
Indeed. ‘One of the problems with staging a regular event like this is that the Scottish Arts Council don’t actually have a live literature section within their funding scheme,’ says Taylor, who has performed poetry since leaving drama school in 2006. ‘There’s such a great arts scene up here, but since the loss of Big Word’s funding there’s a gap within the schedule to get a performance poetry event funded.’
Licence Pending, originally a collaboration between Taylor and Glasgow actor and playwright Martin O’Connor, is an attempt to remedy that. ‘Our ethos is that everyone who performs should use a lyrical form of expression,’ says Taylor. ‘Previous guests have included a girl called Adele Sande, a captivating jazz musician who has now signed a record deal. We book a duo called Molly and Me, who have this in-character ukulele act, and then more traditional performance poets like Jenny Lindsay, Eilidh’s Daily Ukulele Ceilidh and Martin O’Connor, who’s still a regular.’ This latest event will feature Molly and Me, Big Word alumnus Graeme Hawley and Edinburgh’s Creative Martyrs.
Next month, Licence Pending will feature as part of Glasgay!’s programme, and many of the regular performers’ work deals with their sexuality. ‘What I very much enjoy about the forum that I create is that people can be as expressive as they want to be,’ says Taylor. ‘Much of our performers’ work is incredibly candid, but they don’t labour their sexuality above style or content. It’s something to talk about, but it doesn’t become the whole event.’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 4 Sep