Hear the Word began in November 2001 as an opportunity for people to express their creativity and share their spoken words, poetry and storytelling with others. Having worked on her own poetry for quite a while Ruth initiated Hear the Word as a space to have a pint, listen to spoken word interact with performers and audience in a friendly, welcoming environment.
Some things about Hear the Word have changed, others have stayed the same through the years. After the first night Ruth wrote in her diary that “how the evening would take shape did not become any clearer as the night drew nearer”, which is still true. Each Hear the Word is created anew by the performers who take to the floor and by the audience; each event is unique, each unfolding differently and none complete until the last person has left at the end of the night.
Hear the Word always feels like a community – a usual, unusual evening of faces new and familiar, but just people being people and sharing life’s experiences. There is plenty of time in the breaks to chat and share with the performers and audience – Hear the Word is as much about interacting and sharing ideas as it is about performance.
Although Hear the Word began as a purely spoken word event, Ruth once tried inviting a guest musician to play in the break but found they couldn’t be heard over the conversation so breaks gradually evolved on either side of the musician’s set. Nowadays Hear the Word begins and ends with spoken word, and each evening features a guest musician who plays a set of around half an hour between two breaks. Previous guest musicians include Jane Griffiths and Colin Fletcher, Andy Letcher, Simon Davies, and Ian Trinder.