Camille O'Sullivan
Camille O'Sullivan will perform at BBC Contains Strong Language in Hull.

BBC Contains Strong Language in Hull: 10 performances not to miss

Contains Strong Language, the BBC’s national poetry and spoken-word festival, is back in Hull this weekend.

The prestigious three-day celebration of the spoken word thrusts in the spotlight with coverage on radio and television both nationally and locally.

A partnership between the BBC, Wrecking Ball Press, Arts Council England, the British Council and the Makassar International Writers Festival, it features the best poets, musicians and performers from Hull, the UK and beyond.

In no particular order, here are 10 performances you should not miss – and one you probably already have …

1. Camille O’Sullivan
Sunday 29 September 8.30pm
Jubilee Church, Hull

This Irish-French musician, vocalist and actress has a strong international reputation for her dramatic interpretations of the songs of Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie and more. Here is Camille performing the former in Melbourne:

Dubbed “Queen of the Edinburgh Festival” by BBC, the multi-award-winning singer has sold out the Sydney Opera House, La Clique and Royal Albert Hall. Get tickets here.

2. The Freakzone on BBC 6Music
Sunday 29 September 8pm
Hull College Horncastle Building
Free (ticketed)

Join Stuart Maconie for a live broadcast of 6Music’s Freak Zone. Stuart welcomes special guests for a spoken-word and poetry special, exploring the underground and experimental side of the genre. Get tickets here.

3. Simon Armitage
Sunday 29 September 2pm
Hull College Horncastle Building
Free (ticketed)

The Poet Laureate reads from his latest collection Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, the volume that brings together many of his commissioned and topical poems written over the past 25 years.

Accompanied by a visual presentation, Armitage will touch on the expectations and excitements of delivering poetry into the public domain. Get tickets here.

4. East Coast Fever
Sunday 29 September 1pm
Hull Truck Theatre
Free (ticketed)

A short film by Dave Lee about Dean Wilson, Hull’s self-proclaimed “fourth-best poet”. Dave said: “Dean’s a beautiful soul and I think he’s the only genius in Hull.

“He’s our Ivor Cutler, our John Cooper Clarke. The more people that get to know him, the better. He’s not the sort of character that seeks out fame and attention so we need to impose that on him.” Get tickets here.

5. Rallying Cry
Saturday 28 September 8.30pm
The Old School House, Hull

A medley of compelling spoken-word performances sees some of the country’s most outspoken artists to address the state of the nation and imagine a better tomorrow.

Chiedu Oraka on his north Hull housing estate. Picture: Christopher Thomond.

Joelle Taylor, Chiedu Oraka, Zena Edwards and Francesca Beard perform newly commissioned work on the theme of protest. Get tickets here.

6. The Broken Orchestra – River Walk
Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September 11am-2pm (hourly)
River Hull
Free (ticketed)

Walk along the River Hull with a personal soundscape created by The Broken Orchestra exploring a historically rich yet seemingly forgotten area of the city.

The River Hull.

The River Hull.

Music and poetry are created by production duo Pat Dooner and Carl Conway-Davis and poet Vicky Foster. Get tickets here.

7. No Larkin About
Friday 27 September
Hull Central Library
Free (ticketed)

A new collective of Hull’s most exciting young poets who have a keen eye on the issues that define Hull and a generation battling with a social media-driven, globalised, marginalised, environment-crippling society. Get tickets here.

8. BBC 1XTRA Words First
Friday 27 September 7.30pm
Hull Truck Theatre
Free (ticketed)

This talent development scheme sees BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and BBC Contains Strong Language come together to discover the best emerging spoken-word artists in the UK. After a UK-wide search, the finalists come together to perform new work created during the project.

Words First ambassador is writer and poet Jude Yawson, who has chosen the theme of connectivity in the modern age. Get tickets here.

9. BBC Local Poets
Friday 27 September 5.30pm
BBC Radio Humberside
Free (ticketed)

Fake tan and body builders, flat caps and old factories, this show challenges cliches and celebrates all that is regionally distinctive about the north. Ian McMillan introduces a group of spoken-word poets to create a new commission on the theme of Home Truths. Get tickets here.

10. Testament & Jodie Langford
Saturday 28 September 5.30pm
Hull Truck Theatre
Free (ticketed)

Hull poet Jodie Langford is one of the Hull 19 and one of 13 BBC Local Poets. She has collaborated with Joe Hakim on a new commission for The Verb, inspired by Francis Turner Palgrave.

Jodie is joined by North London-born West Yorkshire resident Testament, a hip-hop MC, poet, theatre-maker and world record-breaking human beatboxer. Get tickets here.

Sold out – The Mother with the BBC Philharmonic and Maxine Peake
Saturday 28 September 6.30pm
Middleton Hall, University of Hull
Free (ticketed)

Lucky you if you already have tickets for a show starring award-winning actress Maxine Peake in the role of Pelagea Vlassova in Mark Ravenhill’s version of this Bertolt Brecht play.

If you don’t have tickets, all is not lost – this BBC Radio Drama North performance featuring musicians from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by HK Gruber is being recorded live for BBC Radio 3.

The Arctic Corsair was launched in February 1960. Picture Innes Photography
A parent and child