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Big Trouble on the River Medway…

Big Trouble is a monthly poetry performance night that has been taking place in the Chatham Intra area since 2018.

As part of Medway River Lit, 'Even Bigger Trouble' will be running a writing workshop and a poetry performance night during the week of the festival.

In its current form, Big Trouble switches between showcasing poets from Kent and the wider South East and “social club” nights for poets to catch up and share their work. We spoke to Big Trouble hosts and organisers David and Beth to find out more about their story…

A performance. A woman stands before a seated crowd.
Leonora Nicholson performing in October 2022

“We started doing Big Trouble actually after big encouragement from Barry Fentiman Hall, one half of the driving force behind Wordsmithery and Medway River Lit. It’s safe to say we didn’t really know what we were doing for those first few nights but we’ve always tried to let our passion for poetry take centre-stage and trust that will carry the night. And we’ve been lucky to have a poetry community in Medway and Kent that is equally passionate (as well as forgiving!)

“Our first nights were mostly all open mic performances with some extra focus on a few performers. But we soon wanted to give more prominence to featured performers and try to give poets space to explore longer sets or different ideas that didn’t fit into your typical open mic night.

“We have a big range of poetry tastes and we try to reflect that at Big Trouble. We’ve had former Kent Slam Champions Pauline Holmes and Sam Tate headline, MsLexia and Ambit award winner Jane Lovell read from her books, Medway Poet Bill Lewis and Bad Betty publisher Jake Wild Hall share their work as well as many, many more.

“We try to use Medway’s geography to its advantage, so as well as featuring talent from the Medway towns we often draw in poets from London as well as further flung Kent locations like Margate or Canterbury to put on lineups you don’t see elsewhere in Kent. And we’ve even made use of Medway’s history, putting on a ‘Mystic Medway’ night.

Big Trouble logo
Big Trouble Social Club

“We’re a bit restless at Big Trouble. We’re not really out to be a big thing, we like the freedom of staying a bit underground and we think our audience trust us to try out a few things. One of the most recent things we’ve tried is “Big Trouble Social Club” which is a night where we forget about a stage and chat and share poetry in a more laid-back format. We found that having a poetry night where you get to talk more about what you’ve written was a breath of fresh air.

“In some ways we feel we lucked into coming to Medway and starting a poetry night at a time where so many exciting creative things are happening. But on the other hand it feels like the area was always teeming with this creative, literary energy.”

We can't wait to see what Even Bigger Trouble David and Beth will get up to as part of Medway River Lit!


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