THE Arts Barge's Riverside Festival, at Tower Gardens, York, celebrates the power of words in Common Ground Theatre's Made Of Nowhere and the Say Owt Showcase on Tuesday night.

First up, at 8pm, will be Made Of Nowhere, written and performed by York poet, musician and playwright David Jarman, directed by Ruby Clarke.

In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit Referendum vote in summer 2016, Jarman scraped together his last few pounds, packed a borrowed tent into an old, torn rucksack and hitched a lift north to the start of an unofficial, but well trodden footpath spanning "Coast to Coast".

Made famous by fell walker Alfred Wainwright, it runs from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire, and takes in three National Parks, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

Jarman's performance charts how, as he makes his way from one side of this island to the other on a shoestring budget, he wrangles with strangers, friends and versions of himself he thought he had left behind.

Journeying across the landscape they all inhabit, he navigates between the past and the present, between new ground and old mistakes, between the forgotten and the found.

"Inspired by motorways and sweeping moors, this is a solo show about identity, scraping by, and learning how to let go and move on," he says of his boisterous and captivating blend of poetry, music, story and song. "All live. All lived," as he puts it.

"This period was turbulent not only for me, but for the country as a whole," recalls David. "I set off to try and find my place in the country, but I think what I found instead was the place that this country has in me."

Made Of Nowhere was developed as part of Sheffield Theatres' Making Room Studio Takeover and is produced by York company Common Ground Theatre in association with York record label Young Thugs.

After opening at the Riverside Festival on Tuesday (tickets at, it will play the Camden Fringe, then tour throughout autumn and next spring to theatre and gig venues across the north.

Tuesday's eloquent entertainment continues from 9.30pm to 10.30pm with Say Owt's end-of-season celebration of its latest programme of spoken-word gatherings Admission is free or "pay what you decide".

"Say Owt has run a season of poetry slams and open mics since September 2018," says artistic director Henry Raby. "Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, we've brought some of the best names in performance poetry to York, such as poet and playwright Inua Ellams, BBC Slam Champion Jess Green, award-winning poet Hollie McNish and Penguin-published author Lisette Auton.

"Now we're hosting a special end-of-season showcase tomorrow, inviting the past three Say Owt Slam Champions, plus the previous Champions of Champions to York for an evening of unforgettable performance poetry."

Who's coming, Henry? "Prerana Kumar, Slam Champion from our 20th Slam, will be joining us from Durham. Prerana is an Indian spoken word artist who likes chasing dreams and chugging coffee. Her poetry revolves around identity, love, loss and, occasionally, a healthy dose of nyctophilia [definition: an attraction to darkness or night; finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness]," he says.

"Then there's Susie McComb, who won Say Owt Slam #21; she's a lyrical writer who has performed at the Helsinki Rhyme Conference. Finally, we have Sheffield’s Dami Okhiria, who won Say Owt Slam #22. Dami’s poetry is both funny and hard-hitting, and you can find all these poets on Say Owt’s YouTube Channel."

Say Owt’s previous end-of-season event was a Clash of Champions Slam won by York poets Lily Luty and Kit Rayne with, incredibly, the exact same score. "Say Owt has asked both poets to create some brand new writing especially for the showcase on the 30th," says Henry.

"The showcase is part of the Riverside Festival and audience members can pay whatever they want after the event. It’s Say Owt’s first time working with the Arts Barge to perform poetry on the cargo barge Selby Tony, the new on-the-river arts venue."

Henry adds: "This has been our biggest season to date, with so many amazing events. We’ve met so many brilliant poets and people, so this is going to be a huge celebratory party, and everyone is welcome.

"Say Owt will be taking a much-deserved rest this summer, but will be back in October to celebrate our fifth birthday with a special weekender series of events. Watch this space."

Charles Hutchinson