Gran Slam to go digital as seniors embrace chance to release their inner poets

Canowindra's Max Harriswill showcase what he has learnt during eight weeks of coaching and workshops when he takes part in Gran Slam this Friday.

Hariss will be among more than 40 poetry-slamming seniors who will light up the internet when the ground-breaking 'Gran Slam' project goes digital in a free live-streamed event.

The 2020 'Covid edition' of the popular slam poetry project will culminate on Friday, November 27 when a razor-sharp collective of seniors showcase what they have learnt during eight weeks of coaching and workshops under the tutelage of experienced poets and literary performers.

Hosted by award-winning comedian and cabaret artist Jenny Wynter, Gran Slam LIVE will see the free-wheeling wordsmiths perform their own works, as well as special appearances by their Gran Slam mentors, Sarah Temporal and Luka Lesson, and musicians Gordon Hamilton and Tom Thum.

Harris, a 65-year-old from country Canowindra who is a belly-dancing, Latin-grooving, weightlifting-record-holding grandfather of seven is among those set to share stories of life, freedom, skateboarding, lost loves, lost keys, the comedy of biology and speeding fines.

Gran Slam is a collaboration between performance producers Everybody NOW and people care provider Feros Care - two organisations that share a commitment to smashing stereotypes around age and ability and supporting communities to live bolder lives.

Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said Gran Slam LIVE would be a rich reward for the men and women who refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic halt their slam poetry dreams.

"After a successful inaugural year that included a performance at the Byron Writers Festival, it's exciting that the class of 2020 will get the chance to entertain an even larger audience via the wonders of technology," she said.

"In a year like no other, they committed to a series of Gran Slam online workshops and will now deliver an entertaining show that will be live-streamed direct to the comfort of people's homes.

"Gran Slam not only allows seniors to step out of their comfort zones and learn new skills but gives a voice to the ideas, opinions and experiences of older Australians."

Everybody NOW Executive Producer Kate Baggerson said the participants had been guided by Lesson, an influential artist in the slam and poetry scene for more than 10 years, and Temporal, who was recently highly commended at the 2020 Queensland Poetry Festival.

Gran Slam LIVE will be live-streamed via vimeo on Friday, November 27 from 7-8.30pm (AEDT) and 6-7.30pm (Qld time). To register for the free online event, visit www.feroscare.com.au/granslam-2020.