Betty Carpick and NOWW hosting spoken word workshop

Sleeping Giant, Lake Superior Thunder Bay Ontario
Sleeping Giant, Lake Superior Thunder Bay Ontario

Thunder Bay – Multi-disciplinary artist Betty Carpick will host a workshop called Outloud: Speaking Volumes with Spoken Word at 7 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the meeting room at the Mary JL Black Library.

Organized by the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW), Betty’s workshop will describe the ins and outs of spoken word, including the creative process, expressing narratives, writing styles, delivery techniques and relationship to audiences.

“I’ll focus on how you develop the work. It truly is a craft. I write mostly prose monologues and some poetry. It’s a wider approach so people realize they truly can do spoken word,” she said.

Perhaps the most important topic will be relationship to the audience. “A lot of people get up and read too fast without pacing the reading,” she said.

When Betty performs spoken word, it’s often confessional. Her writing can also be saucy or political. “I sometimes use themes people can relate to, for instance how mundane housework can be.”

In a piece called, Clean Thoughts, a woman fantasizes about Molly Maid coming to clean her house. “She does prep work before the visit. To her there’s an illicit element and she’s expressing her frustrations,” Betty said.

This workshop will help writers (whether they’ve tried spoken word before or not) who want to be more agile and confident in performing in public. “It’s good to learn some tips to bring theatricality to your presentation.”

Betty certainly knows about theatricality: she was the instructor of the Theatre in Education program at Magnus from 2002 – 2015.

She said participants will walk away with more knowledge of the oral tradition of storytelling and a better understanding of “the beauty of hearing writing read aloud.   I’d like people to have some tools so when they do a reading they will think more about presentation.”

Betty said the workshop will be both fun and serious.

“With all art, you have to remember that there’s a sense of playfulness about it – there’s a lot of joy in writing, editing, honing,” she said.

“And the presentation is a great way to connect with people because you see how they react, you hear them laugh and feel their silences. I want people to feel better equipped to be playful and innovative.”

Betty’s art includes writing, spoken word, design, photography, drawing, film, performance and installation. She’s made a sustained and visible presence particularly at the community level. Since 2008, she has performed spoken word annually with Definitely Superior Art Gallery’s Random Acts of Poetry.

She’s also performed for LUSU’s Gender Issues Centre, the Feminisms at the Lakehead conference, the Bay Street Film Festival Cabaret and other intimate gatherings.

Her most recent project was as a director for the 10×10 Theatre Project 2016. Prior to that she directed a four-minute pseudomentry film, “Impersians”, an exploration that incorporates the painting app, Brushes, with documentary footage about Thunder Bay’s iconic pastry.

Betty is of Indigenous decent, from the Nelson House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba.

Betty’s NOWW workshop will end with a collaborative exercise where participants  create and perform a spoken word piece. For more information, please visit or attend Betty’s free workshop. Registration is not required.

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