Serious Nonsense Festival 19th, 20th & 21st August!

Writing on the Wall are proud to have been commissioned to curate a series of outstanding events for the Knowsley Borough of Culture Serious Nonsense Festival, Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August, which is part of the celebrations of the opening of the iconic Shakespeare North Playhouse.

The Serious Nonsense Festivals celebrates derives from the legendary work of Edward Lear, who wrote The Owl and the Pussycat Fame and began writing his verse while entertaining the children in Knowsley Hall.

This three-day festival features events for all the family, with many outdoor attractions, and a host of writers and artists, including Michael Rosen, Lemn Sissay, Frank Cotterill Boyce, Shaparak Korsandi, Sarah Asuquo, John Dougherty, Eithne Brown, John Crystal, Dinah Birch, Amina Atiq, Cheryl Martin and Marie Bastings, Levi Tafari and Ashleigh Nugent. For all you wordsmiths serious about getting your work heard, there’s also a slamming with Shakespeare open spoken word slam hosted by Blue Saint.

Afternoon Storytime with Michael Rosen

Friday 19 August, 4pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Michael is a children’s author, poet, presenter and broadcaster who has written 140 books during his impressive career. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael will read a selection of his best-loved and silliest poems and stories followed by a Q&A session.

Setting the word on Fire with Lemn Sissay

Friday 19 August, 7.30pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Musician, stand-up comedian, radio and television producer, playwright, and poet Lemn Sissay will bring a chaotic cacophony of literature for your Friday night entertainment. Reading a selection of his poetry and prose and followed by a Q&A session to explore why words, absurd or otherwise, really matter.

Afternoon Storytime with Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Saturday 20 August, 4pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Multiple award-winning screen writer, novelist and local lad Frank Cottrell-Boyce will read from his latest book Noah’s Gold. Best known for his bestselling children’ s fiction such as Millions and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the Magical Car, Frank is also widely known as the writer of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. This is a wonderful opportunity for all the family to hear from and talk to Frank in the intimate setting of the Shakespeare North Playhouse’s Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden.

Silly Stories

Sunday 21 August, 1.30pm

Shakespeare North Playhouse Studio

Author Sarah Asuquo’s writing aims to reflect the multicultural society of today in an accurate, relatable, inspiring and positive manner. She was inspired to write her debut book ‘Shine’ for her niece and nephews when she struggled to find any books that were ethnically diverse. Join her for a morning of storytelling.

Wacky Words with John Dougherty

Saturday 20 August, 2.30pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Settle in for an afternoon of crazy storytelling and wild words from the author of Mark & Shark, Zeus on the Loose and the popular Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face books series of books.

Stand Up with Shaparak Khorsandi, followed by a conversation about women and comedy hosted by Pauline Daniels

Saturday 20 August, 8.30pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Shaparak (formerly known at Shappi) established herself as one of the country’s finest comedians with her sell out Edinburgh show, ‘Asylum Speaker’. This show led to the publication of her childhood memoirs, ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Acting English’, her best-selling literary debut.

Actress Pauline is hailed as one of Merseyside’s favourite theatrical daughters. In 2022 she returns to the stage with her hotly anticipated new show ‘Get me before the crematorium does’.

Join Shaparak and Pauline for a night of comedy and conversation.

Slamming at Shakespeare – A Young Poets Nonsense Poetry Slam

Friday 19 August, 5.30pm

Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Writing on the Wall is thrilled to be hosting a Poetry Slam and to have on board acclaimed Liverpool spoken word artist ‘Blue Saint’ hosting this event at the Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Shakespeare was all about wordplay, and this is your chance to show off your skills in the new iconic Shakespeare North Playhouse as part of its opening season. If you are a spoken word artist or poet who wishes to take part, apply, and enter by emailing with your name and brief bio.

Shakespeare and Soaps

Sunday 21 August, 12 noon

Shakespeare North Playhouse Studio

Social commentary and entertainment for the masses is what’s on order from queen of soap and stage Eithne Brown alongside our resident Shakespeare expert Ben Crystal. Together they will examine the commonalities between the Bard and Brookside! We see how amusement, anthropology and access were crucial for both.

Lunch with Lear – Dinah Birch

Saturday 20 August, 12 noon

Shakespeare North Playhouse Studio

Dinah Birch CBE is Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. She has published widely on Victorian fiction and poetry, and is also a renowned expert on Edward Lear. Join her for a lunchtime discussion on the life, work and inspiration behind the Serious Nonsense Festival.

Diverse Stories for a Diverse World

Saturday 20 August, 1pm

Bar Foyer, Shakespeare North Playhouse

Join Writing on the Wall for an afternoon of storytelling from the writers of Super Heroes: Diverse Stories for a Diverse World – an exciting new children’s book that celebrates the rich differences in our world. Featuring a range of writers, this anthology of creative stories, poems and illustrations for young people champions diversity and inclusivity.

This event will consist of readings and performances from artists such as Amina Atiq, Cheryl Martin and Marie Bastings with a discussion and Q&A session on the book.

Unreasonable Rhymes a WoW showcase

Sunday 21 August, 3pm

Shakespeare North Playhouse Studio

An evening of incredible talent showcasing the work of festival favourites; musician and writer ‘Blue Saint’, poet and educator, Levi Tafari, performance artist and writer Amina Atiq and author and director at RiseUp CiC, Ashleigh Nugent.

Click here to get your tickets.