Made in Roath – A Community Festival of Arts & Culture

The Bard of Ely

Made in Roath is a local community arts festival which began eight years ago and has grown into something not to be missed. Roath (aka The People’s Republic of Roath) is an ever-expandable quirky area of Cardiff which even has its own alternative ‘Actual History Museum’. The festival involves art in all its forms and this year, despite a nasty autumnal cold, I managed to get along to some of the spoken word / performance events, which were as fascinating and unique as ever.   

Poets in a Play

Mark Curtis reading at the Square Writers Open Mic Night

Mark Curtis reading at the Square Writers Night

Local writer Mat Troy created a “beautiful cosmos” of a play about the eccentric Scottish poet Ivor Cutler and his companion Phyllis King. The room was packed, the acting was exceptional and their cosy relationship was portrayed against the backdrop of Cutler’s surreal lyrics (such as his song “I believe in bugs” which is still rolling around in my head over a week later).

Global Home

Global Home was a street party with live music, art, and workshops celebrating the diversity of Roath. I had a go at communicating through clay – an activity designed to help you understand the difficulties of speaking without knowing the same language. In the end, I had to admit defeat, as I had interpreted the phrase ‘You need to open a bank account’ as ‘I want you to rob a bank’! It certainly gave me an insight into the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers.



“It was a fun challenge being involved in the Poetry Takeaway and finding myself writing poetry to order about Tea, Cwtching, Yorkshire and Prince” (Will Ford, a local writer)

Bards in a Bookshop

Mab Jones

Mab Jones

Wellfield Road Bookshop is a fabulous independent bookshop which supports local writers. It isn’t really designed for performances, but that’s the beauty of Made in Roath – you get unique experiences in unexpected places. We heard from local poets Rufus Mufasa and Mab Jones. We also heard some unusual songs from Steve Andrews, aka ‘The Bard of Ely’ (Ely is another part of Cardiff), who has recently made it through to the second round of Britain’s Got Talent (He’s the guy with the green beard in the picture at the top).

Square Writers Night

Nick Fisk

Nick Fisk

Held in the forgotten side room of Roath Park Pub, competing with a party on one side and a pool table on the other, this spoken word event featured some of our local poets including David Foster Morgan and Mark Blayney. It was also the launch event for Nick Fisk’s new book Funny Business, and John Brookes’ book More Last Poems. We had plenty of pub related poems and lots of laughter.


Octopoet certainly finished off the week with style, featuring a total of thirteen writers (some local, some from further afield) performing for an eager audience in The Coffi House. We had a hilarious poem from Mike Greenhough about knees, including memorable lines such as “knees are your flexible friends”, and a laugh-out-loud alternative love song, reversing the trend for describing your lover’s features and, instead, describing what they are not.

Boyd Clack performing at Octopoet

Boyd Clack performing at Octopoet

Carly Holmes read us a sad story about Russian dolls, Jonathan Edwards read from his book, My Family and Other Superheroes, and Betty Lane told an amusing tale of acquiring an electric mobility scooter. We also heard from Jane Roberts, Gary Raymond, Kate Noakes, Nicholas Whitehead, Bethany W. Pope, Mark Blayney (the host), Boyd Clack and Kirsten Jones.

There was laughter, audience participation, and much fun, with the evening ending on a more serious note, as Boyd Clack read us an emotive poem about the Aberfan disaster, a tragic event which will be commemorated this Friday, fifty years on.

Made in Roath – as weird and wonderful as ever. See more photos on my Facebook page.

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  1. Pingback: Regular Literary, Creative Writing and Performance Poetry Events in Cardiff

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