Word Mess: monthly open mic night

Word Mess open mic night

Word Mess is Penrith’s monthly wordy open mic night.

Words out loud – that’s the brief for performers. Spoken word, short readings, poetry and more from Cumbrian writers and occasional guests in this new, monthly event – on the fourth Tuesday of every month. An intimate event, upstairs in the Old Fire Station’s Mess Hall.

Penrith Old Fire Station, 4th Tuesday of the month.

2016 dates:

  • Tuesday 24th May
  • Tuesday 28th June
  • Tuesday 26th July
  • August: NO WORD MESS (break for summer)
  • Tuesday 27th September
  • Tuesday 25th October
  • Tuesday 22nd November
  • December: NO WORD MESS (break for Christmas)

Doors open at 7pm

Ticket prices: £3 admission/£2 performers (pay on door)

Click HERE to reserve your ticket or call . Pay on the door – cash only please.


Callout for The Carrot Issue #3: Masked

Winter Droving

Secrets. Hidden identity. The cloak of disguise. The theme of Issue #3 of The Carrot is: MASKED

From a child’s birthday party at a fast-food restaurant, to the opulent elegance of the Venice Carnival, masks are everywhere. They range from comical to stylish to functional to sinister. They can provide protection or anonymous freedom. Are you fascinated by what lies behind the costume, or is it the disguise itself that catches your interest? How else can someone mask their true feelings? Where is the line between deceit and masquerade?

Whether it’s a mystery guest at a masked ball, a vigilante superhero leading a double life, or even an ode to masking tape, we’re looking for your writing and artwork that explores the hidden and concealed.

We’ll be launching Issue #3 at the Winter Droving in Penrith, on Saturday 14th November – the perfect setting, as hundreds of masked people process through the town carrying torches and giant lanterns. (Oh, and talking of secrets, here’s one: there may be real carrots involved! But hush hush for now…)

When’s the deadline? Wednesday 28th October 2015.

Who can submit? Anyone from or living in Cumbria.

What can I submit? We’re looking for writing, but we’d also love to see more of other types of artwork: poetry, prose, crosswords, reviews, scripts, memoir, journalism, photos, pictures, video, music, animation… The list goes on. The only rule? It has to fit in some way with the theme.

How do I submit my work? Email your work to, with the subject line ‘The Carrot issue 3′. Make sure you include a short writer’s bio (approx. 50 words).

How long should my work be? How long is a piece of string? How big is your idea? This is entirely up to you, but bear in mind that this is a magazine featuring a number of pieces of work, so we’re unlikely to include your whole novel.

Anything else I should know? For writing, we favour work that’s accompanied by an image, whether this is an illustration, artwork that sheds some light on your piece, or just a (quality) photo of you. This isn’t a prerequisite, and we won’t disregard any piece because it doesn’t have an image – it just makes the magazine look more visually exciting. But please make sure you own the copyright to your image, or have permission to .

Where can I find out more about The Carrot? Right here. Learn about the project and get a feel for the magazine by perusing Issue #1: Cumbria-Land, or Issue #2: Killing


Liz Lochhead: Somethings Old, Somethings New


Tickets: ten quid on the door. RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE

Poet Liz Lochhead at Penrith Old Fire Station, Cumbria

From the bittersweet to the rude and raunchy, Scotland’s Makar, Liz Lochhead, weaves a spellbinding and beguiling show, mixing poems, monologues and music. Accompanied by the soulful sax of Steve Kettley she presents an intoxicating mix of some of her best work over the past 45 years.

“brilliant, raucous and scabrously funny” Sunday Times

“‘an inspirational force in British Poetry… funny, feisty, full of feeling, a fantastic performer.” Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate.

“funny, frank and frisky” Scotsman

These events are relaxed and informal. Join us for some friendly company and great music.

Gallery: Jacob Sam-La Rose / Northern Sky – a benefit for Nepal

On 16th May, we held a benefit gig for Nepal at Penrith Old Fire Station: featuring poet Jacob Sam-La Rose & duo (trio!) Northern Sky.

Here are a few photos from the event.

You can also reserve tickets to our next events on Eventbrite:
Katus & Yankuba Conteh / Virtuoso West African Kora player and Griot singer
Liz Lochhead / Somethings Old Somethings New

Coming Soon: Jacob Sam-La Rose / Northern Sky: benefit for Nepal

Poetry from Jacob Sam-La Rose and music from Northern Sky at Penrith Old Fire Station. Event by Eden Arts and New Writing Cumbria.


It’s a ‘pay what you want’ event, so you pay what you think it was worth at the end of the night. This event is also a benefit to support the work of the LED and Junipert Trust Charities who have collected a fantastic 7 tonnes of tents and sleeping bags for Nepal in Penrith Old Fire Station.  All money raised will go towards the releif effort.

A night of poetry, music – and a quiz! Featuring poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, musicians Northern Sky, and (as always) a chance to win the famed Map of Shap.

Jacob Sam-La Rose’s poetry has been characterised as vivid, masterly and carefully structured. He’s widely recognised as an indefatigable facilitator, mentor and supporter of young and emerging poets, and as an advocate for the positive impact of new technology on literary and artistic practice and collaboration. He lives in London.

Northern Sky are Abby Colombi (vocals) and John Osborne (guitar & vocals). Once upon a time, they formed a little covers band in order to play a gig to raise money for charity.  As it turns out, they were rather good and have continued ever since!

They play a mixture of our own work (listen & watch here, if you fancy) plus unlikely choices of great songs by Kate Bush, Everything But The Girl, Gnarls Barkley, New Order, PJ Harvey… the list goes on!

The quiz will be cheesy – in the best possible sense.

The events are relaxed and informal and tickets are ‘sold’ on a pay what you wish (on the night) basis.

An evening in pictures: Joan Shelley & Simon Sylvester

On Thursday 5th March, Simon Sylvester and Joan Shelley performed at Penrith Old Fire Station.

From Kendal: Simon Sylvester. From Kentucky: Joan Shelley.

And as always, there was a chance for one quiz team to win a Map of Shap…

Valentines Day event at Penrith Old Fire Station: run by New Writing Cumbria and Eden Arts; featuring Lady Layton, Les Melheureux and a quiz!

Valentines Day Massacre / Love-in @ Penrith Old Fire Station

Lady Layton, Les Malheureux and a quiz!

Just a few shots from our Valentines Day Massacre / Love-in @ Penrith Old Fire Station:


Event #1 in Pictures

Our first event at Penrith Old Fire Station went down a storm!

The event featured poet Kareem Parkins-Brown, musicians Kev Kendal and Bill Lloyd, writer Stephen Redman, and filmmaker Richie Johnston.

Want to know about the next one when it happens? Sign up to the mailing list using the form and buttons on the right: —->