What you need to know:

So you’re a teacher, and you’d like to bring some real live poets into your classroom. Congratulations, we applaud your decision!  (We’re big on applause.) Of course, you’re going to have lots of questions about how WordPlay will fit in your classroom. Here are answers to some of the more popular questions:

What do you do – and how much does a WordPlay session cost?

It varies. We have a number of options, and we’re always willing to discuss creative solution for finding a way to make a visit happen. These, however, are our regular rates.

WORKSHOPS

Introductory Workshops: interactive presentations with the power to transform even the most diehard poetry haters into poetry lovers!

$250 – Single workshop, solo poet only
$360 – Half-day Rate, (up to) two blocks, before or after lunch
$575 – Full-day Rate, (up to) four blocks

One or two poets visit your school to lead workshops for as many as 35 students at a time.  Each workshop consists of a live performance, an overview of spoken word and poetry slam, and a series of fun-filled writing and performance exercises.  These workshops can be adapted to meet the needs of your students or your curriculum.

En français aussi!  Nous sommes heureux de vous partager que nous offrons nos ateliers entièrement en français, au même tarifs. Les pièces partagez, ainsi que les exercices, guideront vos élèves à écrire et présenter en français. Que ça soit leurs langue maternel ou encore un programme d’immersion, nos animateurs amènent avec eux l’influence cumulative d’es meilleurs contributeurs à la communauté de Slam francophone du pays.

$575 – Professional Development: workshops for teachers for Professional Development days that are insightful, thought-provoking, and a total blast!

Why let your students have all the fun?  At up to three hours, we offer teachers a hands-on experience that involves a private performance, writing and performance exercises, and lots of time for discussing practical applications of spoken word in the classroom.

Artist Residencies: a series of visits to your school that allows your students to wade deeper into the spoken word experience.

Moving beyond a single day of free-writes and performance exercises, a residency helps students build a complete “slam poem” of their own, while digging into some of the more exciting possibilities of spoken word, such as collaborative writing.

Residencies can be booked independently, or through the ArtStarts Artists in the Classroom program.  AIC grants cover up to 70% of eligible residency expenses.  Deadlines for ArtStarts applications are October 16, 2017, and and May 25, 2018.  Rates for residencies vary.

SHOWCASES
(min. 3 wks notice to book)

$920 – All-Star Slam: some of Vancouver’s best slam poets throw down in a three-round competition with student judges. 

With an energetic WordPlay host, our poets bring the poignancy, hilarity and immediacy of poetry slam to your school.  Students engage in time-honored slam traditions, such as booing the scores (respectfully), applying numbers to art, and cheering wildly for poetry. Perfect for an assembly audience representing an entire grade – or better yet, the whole school! After seeing how much fun it is, the students are excited to write their own slam poems.

$920 – Where I’m From: a theatrical spoken word show that examines, interrogates, and celebrates origins and identity.

Created with support from the BC Arts Council, Where I’m From is a theatrical spoken word show that examines, interrogates, and celebrates the origins and identities of its performers from every angle you can fit in under an hour. Expect to be moved to laughter, recognition, and contemplation. Under the direction of Johnny Trinh, Siling Zhang, Sonya Littlejohn and Lucia Misch offer up a lyrical journey, scored with evocative audio from composer and sound artist Nancy Tam.  

$920 – Van Slam Team: a showcase of Vancouver Poetry Slam’s competitive representatives.

Every year, out of over a hundred competitors at the Vancouver Poetry Slam, five poets earn much-coveted spots on one of the most storied teams in slam poetry: Van Slam.  These poets combine their powers in national and international slam competitions.  This showcase sees team members performing a mix of solo and collaborative poems, offering students insight into the absurdities and wonders of poetry as a team sport.

$805 – 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac: a showcase of one of Canada’s pre-eminent spoken word group acts.

In an act that combines layered narratives, vocal harmonies, bearded vulnerability, and absurdist humour, 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac perform works ranging from a poem about the Zamboni apocalypse, to a chant about YouTube cats, to a sobering history of maritime disasters off the BC coast. The Dope Boys showcase gives your students collaborative spoken word at its finest and shows them poetry can be found in unexpected places.

$690 – Roya & Francis: a showcase of one of Vancouver’s most dynamic poetry and music duos.

Spoken word lends itself naturally to music. Roya & Francis are a duo that incorporates singing, rapping, and poetry with a mix of digital and live instrumentation. Their sound crosses genres with roots in hip-hop, R&B and poetry. Sure to get your students dancing in their seats, if not up on their feet!

And don’t be scared off by the numbers—we like poems a whole lot more than math, and we’ll work hard to get poets into your classroom. Subsidized prices are available for certain schools (or other organizations) that can demonstrate financial need. You can obtain a more detailed breakdown by contacting us through wordplaypoets@gmail.com or the booking form.

My students are (young / old / poetry haters / teenagers / ESL students). Will WordPlay still work for them?

The workshops are specifically designed to adapt to the needs of your classroom. Our poets have an enormous variety of styles and experience, and they are experts at getting people interested. We like to find out as much as possible about your class before we come to visit, so that we can make sure to send poets with relevant material. We have a variety of workshops designed specifically for English, Drama, and Creative Writing classes at every grade level from 8–12. We also have experience working with elementary schools.

Elementary schools, really? Do you have a special set of workshops for younger students?

Yes indeed we do. Our poets are best suited to working with students in grades 5 to 7, but our programming is always adaptable to your needs!

The emphasis will be on playing with words and creating a shared imaginative place more than actually writing lines of poetry, but we’ve found this approach creates a great love of words and lays the foundation for young wordsmiths.

Don’t youth of today think poetry is boring?

Nope. We’ve done hundreds of workshops. Boring isn’t a word that has applied to any of them.

What will the poets do?

They’ll perform some of their own poems, lead students through writing and performance exercises, provide tools and feedback, and generally be charming. We can’t say in what order this will happen—it varies every time.

How long are the workshops?

Anywhere from twenty minutes to a 16-week poet-in-residence course. Our standard workshops are designed for 60 to 80 minute blocks, but let us know how long you’d like us to visit, and we’ll create a workshop to fit that time.

How should I prepare my students for the workshop?

You can have kids bring material that they’d like to work on during the workshop. You can have them watch videos of ‘slam poets’ ahead of time (check out Vancouver Poetry Slam’s YouTube channel). You can share your favourite poems with them. You can have them bring their favourite poems to share with us. All of these things are optional, but awesome.

How can I help the poets during the workshop?

Be ready to participate in the exercises (we write along with the students, and we like it when you do too). Don’t worry if the class gets excited—we’re used to it.

How many students can the poets handle?

We always send poets in pairs, and we’ve found from experience that 35 students is the maximum size for a workshop. We’re able to work with groups of most sizes, but the smaller the group, the more personal attention the poets can give to each poem.

How can WordPlay help me start a Slam Club at my school?

In many, many ways! We could perform in your auditorium at lunch to drum up interest, conduct workshops with Creative Writing and Drama classes (always a good place to start looking for aspiring spoken word poets).

What else do you want to know?

After you send in the initial information, we’ll contact you to make sure that we’ve covered everything.

What’s the most hilarious thing that’s ever happened during a workshop?

It involved a skunk.

When can you come?

Right away.  Unless you’re booking one of our showcases.  Then we need three weeks’ notice.  Otherwise, right away.  You can book us or contact us through the booking form.