Word's out - poetry can be fun, says Jude

FRENCH poet Jean Cocteau said that the poet doesn t invent – he listens – and so Bassingbourn s very own poet must be a very good listener. Jude Simpson, 35, is taking her stand-up poetry to the Cambridge Wordfest next week, with her one-woman show Growin

FRENCH poet Jean Cocteau said that the poet doesn't invent - he listens - and so Bassingbourn's very own poet must be a very good listener.

Jude Simpson, 35, is taking her stand-up poetry to the Cambridge Wordfest next week, with her one-woman show Growing Up Games.

"My work is performed rather than read," says Jude at her High Street home.

"It's a bit of comedy, it's observational, there is lots of banter with the audience, and some songs - it's a bit of a fusion really."

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Jude has been performing for five years, but hadn't always dreamed of performing her poetry.

"I was a civil servant, which was good, but it wasn't really the life I had set out for myself.

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"I had a year off work to see if I could do something creative, and performing poetry was something that really took off."

During her gigging season Jude does around two to three performances a week.

"From March to June I'll be quite busy, but in December I didn't have any gigs.

"I prefer it that way. I'd rather do them all together.

"I do get to go all over the place performing, and do a lot in London and the south, although I'd like to go up north a bit more.

"I like doing festivals, there you are the rebel! But I do a lot of different gigs.

"I'm looking forward to the Cambridge Wordfest. I get to do a full show, which is just under an hour.

"The strength of my act is relating to the audience. It's a fun show, and there is a great atmosphere."

Jude, who grew up in Bassingbourn, moved to London after university, and returned to the village two years ago.

The Greenbelt festival was one of her most memorable gigs says Jude.

"I had to perform to a thousand people in a marquee, and I had to concentrate like I've never done before.

"It was brilliant though, the only negative is walking around afterwards. The comedown can be massive when everyone has left."

It's not hard to see why her sets are so popular and 'friendly' as she describes them.

"I put a set together, but tweak it and try different things, seeing how the audience react, to see if they work.

"When I'm writing poems, the dynamic shape is really important.

"They have to be energetic, thoughtful, and funny.

"My show is totally friendly, very positive, and fun.

"I think comedy can put people off because they think they are going to get picked on, but my show is more a celebration of life - it's quirky and unusual.

"People often say that they never knew poetry could be so entertaining."

Jude will be holding a workshop on the day of her show for people who want to improve their performing skills.

And after the show there will be an open mic so that people who write poetry can come and perform.

You can see Jude at the Cambridge Wordfest on Saturday March 29 at the ADC Theatre, at 10pm.

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