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Spoken Word Performances in Vogue


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 27, 2010

Comments (6)

Julianna Margulies, WordTheatreWhen's the last time you heard a live performance of the spoken word?

Artistic hubs such New York and Los Angeles are brimming with opportunities to hear written works performed by talented actors.

One organization in particular, WordTheatre, has become an amazing force in preserving the art of the spoken word and involves talented actors, such as Julianna Margulies (pictured at left) to give live performances to fortunate audiences.

Learn more about how the spoken word, both live and recorded, is making an impact on our culture.

The Spoken Word is Hot!

From poetry readings to recitations of Shakespearean prose to avant-garde literature, spoken word performances are hotter than ever. People have always used storytelling to express ideas, share news and pass down information from generation to generation through Oral Tradition.

Spoken word performances have brought us back to our roots and are becoming part of the mainstream culture through recorded and live performances.

Spoken Word Recordings

Audiobooks are a prime example when it comes to the mass adoption and consumption of spoken word recordings. The Audio Publishers Association recently celebrated the art of storytelling at their annual conference (APAC) and industry awards show, the Audies. During the month of June we'll be celebrating Audiobook Month and exploring some of the goodies this aspect of voice over has to offer.

Live Spoken Word Performances

While spoken word recordings are very popular, there is a trend and rise in popularity with regard to live performances of the spoken word.

Although this trend isn't unique to New York or Los Angeles, there is a very strong community of committed actors who want to use the spoken word to inspire, engage and empower diverse audiences.

One such group is WordTheatre, a 501(c)-3 nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping the love of language and literature alive through the ancient tradition of storytelling.


Cedering Fox, WordTheatre

Since its inception in 2003, Artistic Director Cedering Fox, pictured above, and her partners have been creating, producing and recording live events featuring literary works performed by world-class authors and actors at salons in Los Angeles, New York and London. You might recognize Cedering's name from her contribution to Joan Baker's book, Secrets of Voice Over Success.

Some of the many actors who have participated in WordTheatre include James Franco (pictured below), Julianna Margulies, Angela Bassett, Michael Chiklis, Minnie Driver, Keith David, Illeana Douglas, Bill Pullman, Annette O'Toole, Zachary Quinto, Marcia Gay Harden, and Judd Nelson.

James Franco, WordTheatre Interview

When you have star power, the arts and a cause, some amazing things can happen. One of WordTheatre LA's upcoming projects involves designing a program that will bring their actor/associates into Southern California's toughest high schools to perform short stories with the goal of igniting a new generation of literature fans.

If you're interested in learning more about WordTheatre, you can visit their website WordTheatre.com or join the WordTheatre Facebook Page.

Are You a Champion of the Spoken Word?

Leave a comment and join the conversation!

Best wishes,


Photos courtesy of Bakers Man Productions

Related Topics: awards, Cedering Fox, High School, industry, julianna margulies, Los Angeles, narration, New York, Spoken word, voice acting, WordTheatre


    YES, I am a Champion of the Spoken Word!

    You know what they say:
    The early bird gets the WORD:)

    "Shaken, not stirred. Spoken, not slurred." ~ Ralph Hass

    Posted by:

      Yes, spoken word has always been hot. The oral tradition has fulfilled a basic human need throughout civilization. In my career, I have enjoyed performing live storytelling performances with children and adults alike. Now, in addition to my audiobook work, I am enjoying reading/recording some of my own original literary offerings -- specifically my poetry. Next month, at the BoCoCa Arts festival in Brooklyn I'll be taking part in a live podcast performance reading my poetry, with the Conflict of Interest Theater Company, which does regular podcasts of such readings. This will be the first done before a live audience. I have also recently published and recorded my poetry with Skive Magazine, an online literary journal.(http://www.skivemagazine.com/)

      Posted by:

        So glad you brought this up. There has always been a market for LIVE performances of literature and I hope that trend will continue. I performed/directed/produced a Readers Showcase (reader's theater) troupe in the Nineties, putting out a 2-hour show every other month. It is fascinating to pull together essays, letters, cutting from novels and short stories, news items and other written words around a central theme. It is both a challenge and a joy. I have saved every script I ever did, beginning in the 70's. We started a "salon" back in the Nineties, which was kind of a pot-luck party, where everyone brought something to eat and something to READ to the group. We kept it to about 12 people and heard some absolutely amazing literature that we normally wouldn't necessarily be exposed to. VO is great fun, but see how you can stretch yourself with a LIVE performance!

        Posted by:

          Thanks for the heads up. I do reader's theater on occasion, and love all things spoken word performance style.

          Posted by:
          • Rose Lamoureux
          • May 28, 2010 11:43 AM

            Glad to see that spoken word is still alive and well. I would love to perform more in the Philadelphia area - if anyone has info on this let me know.

            Posted by:
            • Wit
            • May 28, 2010 1:38 PM

              Philly crowds aren't the friendliest from what I hear:)
              A teenager was tasered earlier this month at a Phillies game.
              Go with Plan B...

              Posted by:

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