Spoken Word and Cabaret at Buddhafield Festival

Word Up! is the Spoken Word Live Lounge at Buddhafield Festival.

Featuring interactive poetry, comedy, story, cabaret & open mic we seek to model, validate & encourage authentic self-expression. Word Up! aims to inspire celebration, reflection & relationship.

2019 Word Up! Programme








A Persian Tale Storytelling Performance - a poetic narrative journey. 

Zahra Afsah was born and raised in Tehran. She studied Art and Archaeology at SOAS and in 2016 completed her second MA in Persian Painting and Transcultural Visuality at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In June 2018 she completed the UK's only national storytelling development programme (TellYours2018), which aims to transform the way stories are told, and she showcased a Persian tale at both Canada Water Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre. 


Tree Stories.

 A new sho  based around the tree ogham.where a member of the audience picks one of the ogham wands from the bag and the story is selected from Celtic, Greek and European myth around the tree.


The Legend of Prince Lindworm

”No bride for you until a bride for me!” So shrieks the great reptilian elder worm-brother of the Golden Prince. But bride after bride vanish from the bridal suite.... and no one else will suffer their daughter to be offered up. How can the land be saved form this dark threat?

Award-winning performer/writer Jonathan Brown takes you on a wild, newly-discovered each performance theatrical telling of this ancient myth, with in-the-moment plunges into archetypal worlds.

Jonathan won Best Male Performer Brighton Fringe 2013, Best New Play, Brighton Fringe 2012, Best Male Performer Nominee Fringe 2007, Best New Play shortlisting, Fringe 2013.


The Grateful and The Dead

World renowned for his playful performances, allow Ben Haggarty to lure you into the richly metaphorical world of a full-blooded fairytale for grown-ups.

Dark, beautiful and startling by turn, this is a story of dreams, initiations and the repayment of debts - a journey from innocence to experience, which delves into a disconcertingly familiar narrative world, complete with bizarre marriages, wild hags, strange companions and magical items that can get you in and out of a lot of trouble.

Ben Haggarty performs with infectious charm and ease - fierce, fast paced, and unashamedly magical.

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Queer Monster!

A young queer entity, who is, was and will be born fabulously live on stage before your very eyes. Oh, and she’s green. Queer Monster has many talents for such a young baby. Nurtured by her pushy Mother, all she wants to do is make her proud and meet her high expectations. Along the way she will try and discover who she is and what she wants to be!

In this cabaret, her extraordinary tale comes alive with Disco music, ludicrous jokes and choreography that would knock the high heels off Ariana Grande.


DONT DO IT, DONT DO IT, DO IT... (Adult show with trigger warning, 16+)

No one likes to be told what to do, least of all Zuma Puma... ​Especially when facing the Good Girl’s dilemma: DON’T DO IT, or DO  IT? ...DO IT, Obviously...

Zuma leaps head first into unknown realms of power, pleasure and womanhood.

Sexual rebellion, fatal destruction and unsolvable riddles guide this idiot's journey to confront the inner demons. Blending clown, puppetry, mask and music, Zuma finds freedom in foolery and refuge in the ridiculous. Join the Gaulier-Pochinko trained clown and her singing vagina on this odyssey of self discovery. ... with Dan Lees' direction chaos and mayhem abound…


Pussy Tutorials. (Adult show, 18+)

An absurd sexy-storytelling confessional monologue; Kali-clown, singalong, performance lecture. Suitable for the curious, confused and confident; explicit, honest, dickriculous.

Izabella is a Somatic Activist and Educator, Comedienne Extraordinaire, Singer-Songwriter and life-long Earth Lover. A.K.A Cosmic Fire Maiden.


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The5thGeneration is UponUs

A guided tour to the End of the World. Serious Fun, for the Bravehearted.

Izabella Finch is a Somatic Activist and Educator, Comedienne Extraordinaire, Singer-Songwriter and life-long Earth Lover. A.K.A Cosmic Fire Maiden.


Oh Humanity

Our topical Spokenword Highlight act, is an interactive poetry show about facing the difficult realities of our planetary crisis, acknowledging despair and re-finding some faith in the good of humanity. Expect tear-jerking honest appraisal, warm performance and quality poetry, and some warm-fuzzies as we collectively remember that these times arent all bad.

Liv Torc is a WOMAD poetry producer and Buddhafield favourite, director of the HipYak Poetry School, renowned writer and performer with many professional accolades and a recent viral video on Climate Change. Also dynamic working mum, silly sausage, and all round Class act.

Scott is a Newcastle-based multiple slam winning stand-up poet and award-winning comic. He won both the BBC Poetry Slam and the UK Anti-slam in 2015 – which makes him simultaneously one of the best and worst performance poets in Britain. He’s performed his work on Radio 3, Radio 4, BBC Arts, ITV, Sky Atlantic, and a tube station in rush hour. He is author of three collections of poetry, and has been both Poetry Blogger and Poetry Artist in Residence at Glastonbury.



With 23 letters and a hyphen, Christian Russell-Pollock is technically one of the biggest names in comedy.

Lauded as “a stand out stand up” by Taking the Mic, Christian is an award winning performer who has been entertaining audiences across the country since his debut in 2016. Since then, his friendly, affable nature combined with his carefully crafted brand of incisive jokes and witty stories has seen him become a firm crowd favourite. He’s won the Ha-Hart Comedy Awards (2019), been a finalist at Comedy Gladiators (Heat Winner) (2019), at Stand Up for Cider (2019) and been support for Simon Evans and Lost Voice Guy. This chap is “an act definitely worth keeping your eye on” (SoapBox Culture).


The Stand-up intuitive show

If you LOVE learning tools that help you grow, yet often come out from dry talks feeling inspired but just a little bit more inadequate then you did before you went, this is for you! 

Becky’s hilarious show is never the same twice. Interacting with the audience she answers some of life’s most difficult questions using intuition and by turning them into a self-help comedy routine. Be prepared to laugh and compelled to take part. 

Becky Walsh has been turning the world of self-development on its head for years with her down-to-earth and uniquely funny style. 

Becky’s TV show ‘Anything goes with Becky Walsh’ aired across the ‘Made TV network’ weekly.  

Before this she hosted her own show on LBC radio a late Friday night call-in advice and talk show, she then went onto Hay House Radio online and is now a freelancer for BBC Radio. 

She also writes for Huffington Post and Psychologies Magazine. Becky has a private practice as an intuitive catalyst in London, Bristol and worldwide online. www.beckywalsh.com 



Phil Kay is a force of nature. Not a metaphorical one; an actual force of nature. “The guy that speaks really fast until it goes wrong” waxes sagacious about staying in the bit that works, no longer being appropriate to the bullets, and most importantly of all believing in belief.  

Phil Kay burst on to the comedy circuit in 1989, when he won the new act contest So You Think You're Funny in only its second year. His unpredictable, freestyle approach won him a Perrier nomination in 1993 and the award for best stand-up at the 1994 British Comedy Awards, and he was given his own Channel 4 show, Phil Kay Feels..., in 1997, recorded in front of a live audience to try to capture his manic energy


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A Wild Rumpus 

Come down to where the wild things are and join in a wild rumpus with Max


One of the weirdest shows you are likely to see, full of clowns, characters, music and more. The Lost Cabaret is one of the most eccentric nights out on London's alternative comedy scene, with an informal, unpretentious approach and a different line-up every week. From character to clown and everything in between it's a guaranteed riotous laugh.  So do yourself a favour, "get lost" in the weirdly wonderful world that is The Lost Cabaret.

In February 2013, Zuma Puma teamed up with Adam Taffler a gifted London Cabaret Comedian and together they ran the Lost Cabaret developing their double act and touring to a variety of UK festivals including Wild Heart, The Roll Right Fayre, Buddhafields and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. From 2013-2015 they helped over 50 Edinburgh, Brighton, Prague and Camden Fringe shows to develop . 

These days you can see an incredible variety of performances, from clown to character to puppetry to undefinable alternative feats by performers from all over the world. 


The Hearty Cabaret

Open stage. Open hearts. Open minds. Join us for a night that’s guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings, tinker with your thinker, and wobble your belly. Amy HoopLovin hosts an event like no other… where song, dance, words and wit take you to the dizziest heights of delight.

Get up and get involved, or simply sit back and soak up the love.

Either way, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a whole lot more soul.


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Outside the box

A “large-hearted” and “life-affirming” one woman show about Death, from  performer, celebrant and award winning natural burial ground owner, Liz Rothschild. 

Outside The Box asks its audience to embrace mortality and look on the bright side of life, with a weave of untold and surprising stories, a hint of history and some pithy commentary on the funeral industry (from one who knows!). 

Part theatre, part spoken word; an intimate theatrical conversation which is “beautifully performed” and the result is a taboo busting affair that expertly handles the ‘elephant in the room’ with humour and grace. 

www.fullcircleproductions.org.uk “A remarkably refreshing and important show, gently dancing on the line between playful irreverence and necessary solemnity” - Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Festival “It made me laugh. It made me cry, It made me want everyone to see it!”- Matt Holland, Director, Swindon Festival of Literature.


Dare To Share - True Stories, on the theme of ‘Extinction or Evolution?’

Could this be your moment? DO you have a real-life anecdote about a time where you were forced to ‘evolve or die?’ (whatever this means to you). After setting a president of truth and vulnerability on our stage all week, we are looking for people to take up the mantle, and inspire/ amuse or move us with your own first-person account. Sign up or show up, Stories must be true, have happened to you, and be roughly 5 minutes in the telling…

This was the highlight of last year’s WordUp! so we look forward to being regaled by your luminous lives and learnings. It’s worth the risk and you will be warmly held... 

[Please note: due to it being less popular, (and also the abundance of other storytelling options onsite), we have scrapped our 7pm bedtime story slot this year as a trial – in favour of a longer evening programme and ‘Interactive Afternoons’. We welcome your feedback and aim to please (as well as challenge or inspire) – if something is missing from our line-up in terms of your festival needs and desires then please speak to one of WordUp!’s friendly crew]

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“Peeling Away the Layers” with Jonathan Brown

Inspired by the tale of Prince Lindworm (as performed by JB at Word Up on ….) , you’ll spend some time developing, and then sharing, a short & sweet piece of performance that asks… Who are you when you shed your seven reptilian skins? Who are you under the reviled one? What Golden Child awaits discovery under the scales of the worm? No need to have seen the performance to participate. Expect reflection, imagination, meeting your inner worm, experimentation, failure, theatre, movement, sharing. 

Jonathan is an award-winning writer, performer and teacher and artistic dir of Something Underground Theatre Co.

‘Theatre of Awakening’ for Women. with Agata 

We let the body speak, let it lead and reveal its wisdom, using the power of performance as a transformative container. We will not only “tell our stories” but fully claim and embody all of ourselves- now, with all that brought us here. We transform the rough material of our experiences into gold. It’s a "work" of play and deep healing at the same time, a kind of ritual that occurs through the collective witness. Through it we can recognize that our story, though unique, is shared and creates a tapestry of Her-story. Work with presence, embodiment, improvisation, inquiry, telling and personal reflection



Dress the Diva

Could how we relate to performers and art in general be a reflection of how we relate to higher beings? Are we content to keep them remote, or are we brave enough to enter into a more intimate and caring relationship?

Audience members are invited to dress a performer who is singing on stage. Clothing is layered on, and then removed. Songs range from the operatic to folk, to comic. A cacophonous backing track interrupts, supports and at times threatens to overwhelm. 

Open Mic 

Hosted by our adorable resident professional weirdo Rosa Wright, aka the Glittersaurus!

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Drag Workshop with Clare Finlan, (who has her​ own drag persona QUEER MONSTER) and Joe Brooks, (who likes to dress up, but don’t we all.)

Queen​s/Kings (or whatever you wanna be baby) Come along explore the heightened version of yourself, be funny, sexy, dangerous, brilliant and a hot mess or whatever... Dress up, lip sync and dance like no ones watching but they will be watching because you’re fabulous!!!! 

The beauty of Drag is for everybody no matter what age, sex, gender or physical ability. The Works shop is about self expression, and finding your inner glamour diva. There might be some physical activities such as lip syncing and sassy walking. We will put a name to your alter ego. The workshop aims to make people feel fabulous and to learn about an art form that you wouldn't necessarily come across. 'Drag doesn't change who you are it reveals who you are'

Fool Expression with Christie Animas

Do you long for more play and authenticity? Are you ready to access more aspects of yourself? Are you ready for more inspiration in your life? The Fool Expression is calling us as human to access the Unicity in ourselves, and learn to play with the masks in us, some known, some not known yet. It is a deeply playful and transformative process. It allows us to dive deeper into ourselves through a safe connection with an audience. One foot in the known, one foot in the unknown. To be able to access our Inner Fool, to have the freedom of being fully alive at each moment and sharing that with an audience, we meet and learn to play with a range of masks: the mask of ourselves who holds us back; the ones who long to show up; the one who keeps us small; the one who wants to share the uniqueness and subtlety of our being; the mask who knows; the mask who doesn't know... Welcome to a magic and surprising Fool-filling journey!


3 Minute Poems by Harula Ladd.

Drop in for a tailor-made personal poem, created on-the-spot in response to your specific subject or keywords. An ideal gift for a loved one, or souvenir to take away. Harula can write about anything and she’d be delighted to pen a unique and bespoke piece of art in your honour. Or in honour of your dog / car / agrophobic aardvark / quest for meaning in your life.

Open Mic 

Hosted by our adorable resident professional weirdo Rosa Wright, aka the Glittersaurus!


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Fool Expression, with Christie Animas

(See Friday)

Clownlife teaser, with Zuma Puma

Join Zuma Puma in a two hour long facilitated play session that gives festival goers a safe place to be seen and connect on a ridiculous, open level. Through a series of exercises Zuma evokes the players to find their childhood joy, their un-tainted freedom of expression and their pleasure to be seen.

Whether you are a beginner in clown or have practiced for years this workshop is a great place to make new (often long-lasting) friends, develop your unique sense of humour, get inspired, express your freedom and above all laugh more than you have all year. Zuma has been facilitating Festival workshops in North and Central America, UK and Australia since 2008, some of which include; Burning Man, Earth dance, Shambhala and Buddhafields the list goes on and on. She has taught a wide range of abilities from professional Clowns- to elders- to shy players ready to be seen and experience a community of support.

" I had an amazing time, she brought everyone together, brought us to this place where we could feel our hearts. She talked about sensitivity and we just emerged with play. She facilitated it with such enthusiasm, I had a great time!"- Participant, ArtsWells Festival 2015

‘Theatre of Awakening’ for Men. with Phil Barber.

 In the workshop we will engage in creative ways to uncover and unfold stories of your life. There will be writing, reflection, poetry, movement, and short personal performances, and you will discover the stories important to your well-being waiting to be told.


Bela Emerson

Make Piece Together is a 50-minute group piece comprised of a series of two-minute interactions with self-selecting audience members. They come forward to play with me (playing cello) by: using their voice or another sound source, manipulating the sound of my cello with an effects box, or using a visual method (drawing or movement work) to interact. The piece is completely different and totally unique each time it is performed. Total beginners of all ages are encouraged and supported to join in, creating empathy between performers / audience members (who are of course the same people).

A ten-minute feedback / debrief session is offered after the performance-workshop. It has been played / explored at the Green Gathering (2016-2018), Dharma School, Fort Process, Leigh Folk Festival, and several other places since 2014.

Open Mic 

Hosted by our adorable resident professional weirdo Rosa Wright, aka the Glittersaurus!


‘Theatre of Awakening’ for Men and Women, with Agata and Phil.

 This is a blend of self-discovery and creativity, where spontaneous performances are created from personal stories and inner experiences. By working in this way we free up our self-images and beliefs, realizing our potential and the gifts we have to bring. As we explore together, we come across parallels, mutual recognitions and emergent collective narratives. Work with presence, embodiment, improvisation, inquiry, telling and personal reflection.