The Sonnet Youth Weekender is a mini-festival of poetry at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. Over the course of the weekend there is variety of spoken word events that are being presented by Sonnet Youth, the self-styled ‘spoken word house party’ who regularly host events in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Victoria McNulty is a poet and performer and Confessionals is her latest solo show. The performance is a mix of poetry and music and is a powerful story of domestic violence, activism and hope. Confessionals is set in the East End of Glasgow where a young barmaid experiences violence, sectarianism and poverty and struggles to overcome the troubles of the society she lives in. The performance is delivered with conviction, certainty and emotion, where the poet bestows every word with a deep and powerful feeling. Through the direct language the audience feels attached to the character and see the world through her distinctive eyes. This intensity is occasionally lifted with original songs from Abi Normal which underline the themes of activism and political engagement that run through the performance. The sense of location is driven home through photographs of Glasgow that are projected to the back of the stage. Other than witnessing images of people, we view black and white photographs of streets and pubs along with the dazzling lights of the Barrowland Ballroom. Confessionals is very much a story about Glasgow.
The performance concludes not with a projected photograph, but a written statement. The words are shocking and leave the audience aghast, but they are also a call to action. This call to action presents a sense of hope, as with action can come change. Confessionals is about growth and looking to the future without forgetting your past, even if that past is filled with strife, hardship and struggle. The text for Confessionals is available from Glasgow based publisher Speculative Books and well worth reading, even if you haven’t had the benefit of seeing the show live. Victoria’s words are passionate, powerful and deserved to be experienced by a wide audience.