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11th September 2017

Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons will visit Hull College, alongside a bumper programme of events featuring the UK’s leading Poets and Spoken Word artists.

Contains Strong Language celebrates the power of poetry in all its forms; fusing old and new, page and performance, digital, music, documentary and drama. In celebration of Hull being UK City of Culture 2017, Hull College will join other venues in the city to play host to the festival from 28 September – 1 October.

Kicking off on National Poetry Day, it is the UK’s biggest poetry festival devoted to new work. It is committed to representing the diversity of poetry performance in the UK and features 17 new commissions spanning page poetry, spoken word and grime. There will be something for everyone with an exuberant mix of gala readings, live radio broadcasts, TV and film screenings, music gigs and open mic nights, first edition readings, outreach activity and workshops, discussion sessions, and cultural tours, amongst other events taking place during the four days.

In addition to performances from previously announced Kate Tempest, Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Unthanks, and the BBC Philharmonic, some of the UK’s most-renowned actors, including Jeremy Irons and northern actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, will perform Hull’s famous poems in a star-studded gala reading.

Surrounding the festival is an extensive collection of TV and radio commissions, including new documentaries, dramas and live performances on BBC Two and BBC Four.

BBC Radio Humberside, joined by all of the BBC’s network radio stations will take audiences to the heart of the festival in Hull with broadcasts from Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2, Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music, Ian McMillan on BBC Radio 3, John Wilson on BBC Radio 4, Sarah Brett on BBC 5 live and Mim Shaikh on BBC 1Xtra.

Director of Contains Strong Language, Sue Roberts, said: “Poetry is enjoying a renaissance. From moments of national significance to mainstream advertising, poetry is being chosen to persuade, charm or express outrage, defiance and solidarity.

“It is one of the oldest art forms, and is being rediscovered as a versatile, dynamic and powerful mode of expression, enjoyed and created by young and old, on paper, phones and tablets, in digital spaces, on the streets, as well as in books and magazines.

“Contains Strong Language reflects this diversity by providing something for everyone.”

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “Contains Strong Language is bringing a staggering array of talent and events to Hull for what will be a literary highlight of Hull's City of Culture year. If you're a little unsure of poetry and the spoken word, this is the perfect opportunity to find something you will enjoy.

“As well coinciding with the start of our fourth season Tell the World, it is helping kick off a fantastic series of other literary events over the next weeks and months, including Hull's annual Humber Mouth festival and Out of this Word in East Riding, plus an exploration of crime fiction in Hull Noir.”

Contains Strong Language is produced by the BBC in partnership with Wrecking Ball Press, Humber Mouth, Hull UK City of Culture 2017, The British Council, The Arts Council and a number of other poetry organisations.

View the festival’s brochure here.

Tickets for all events are available to book on Hull 2017’swebsite.