Debut show from B’ham Poet Laureate Dancing To Music You Hate – May 25 @ MAC

Award-winning spoken word artist, beatboxer and Birmingham Poet Laureate Jasmine Gardosi is hitting the road with her debut show, Dancing To Music You Hate. 

Combining poetry, beatbox and Celtic dubstep, Dancing To Music You Hate sees Jasmine delving into themes around gender identity.

Through explosive tracks that blend dubstep bass-lines and soaring folk violin, she boldly articulates what it feels like for someone to come to terms with their own queerness. Delving deeper, she also emphasises how everyone – straight, gay, trans or cis – can find joy and fulfilment from questioning the gender binary and its expectations: “What if you’re everything you’re supposed to be?” she challenges. “What if there are as many genders in this room as there are people?”

Blowing apart the boundaries of both gender and musical genre alike, Jasmine converses, argues and competes with a live band of instrumentalists as she cracks open the binary with boldness, humour and celebration. “Trans or not, questioning or not,” she offers, “I wish you gender euphoria.”

Joining her on stage are Alternative Dubstep Orchestra’s DJ C@ In The H@, Ire-Ish’s multi-instrumentalist Jobe Baker-Sullivan, and drummer Noemi La Barbera, plus additional guest musicians.

Jasmine Gardosi is a beatboxer, multiple slam champion and Birmingham’s first Poet Laureate from the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has appeared on BBC Four, Sky Arts, Button Poetry, and across BBC Radio while her poem about the pandemic, filmed on a rollercoaster, was broadcast across America on PBS. She has worked with such organisations as the National Trust, The Poetry Society, National Literacy Trust, B:Music, and was previously Poet In Residence at both the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. Winner of numerous prizes, including the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry and Outstanding International Entry in Button Poetry’s Video Contest, she is also a festival regular, with appearances at Glastonbury, WOMAD and Shambala.

Dancing To Music You Hate is her debut show. Commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre, it premiered at the Coventry venue in October 2021 to standing ovations, and was shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards’ Best Spoken Word Show. It went on to become Verve Poetry Festival’s best-selling event of 2022 and sold out B:Music Symphony Hall’s show at the Jennifer Blackwell Space earlier this year. The show’s titular track was also adapted by conductor/arranger Jules Buckley, and performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra, for BBC Four’s Inside Classical: A Birmingham Celebration.

Discussing her debut show, Jasmine says: “It explores gender identity and being genderqueer, but really, at its heart, it’s a set about self-expression. Struggling to express myself – whether as an anxiety-ridden kid, a teenager unable to accept their sexuality, a poet trying to find the words, or a partner trying to communicate honestly in relationships – is a common theme in my life, and Dancing To Music You Hate moves through all of these.

“Through the show, I want to offer that with radical honesty about yourself comes the potential for deeper connections with those in your life, and I’ve been blown away by the impact this message has had on an audience of all demographics. People have told me they’ve been encouraged to come out to their own family after the show, whilst others have shared that the show has validated them in their cis, straight identities and changed their perceptions of gender.

“You don’t have to be trans or gender-questioning to see or enjoy the show – this is for anyone else who’s also wrestled with self-expression and societal expectations of gender. ie. Everyone”

As to the title, she’s quick to point out that there’s nothing negative about the music.

Dancing To Music You Hate is the title track of the show – it’s a poem about being gay while surrounded by your straight friends in an uber-straight nightclub, pretending to love where you are, but just not feeling like you belong. The show is about grappling with sexuality and gender identity, as well as the musicians I’m on stage with, which is why it felt suitable as a title, but don’t worry. You won’t hate the music. The music’s actually pretty rad.”

Commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


Tuesday 9 May 2023
The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH
£12.50 (stnd), £15, £10.
Box Office: 020 7258 2925
Part of RE-ENCHANT FESTIVAL: Poetic Experiments For A New World

Thursday 25 May 2023
Midlands Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH
Box Office: 0121 446 3232

Monday 10 July 2023
The Wardrobe Theatre, The Old Market Assembly, 25 West Street, Old Market, Bristol BS2 0DF
Box Office: 0117 902 0344
In collaboration with Milk Poetry

Thursday 20 July 2023
Left Bank, Cardigan Road, Burley, Leeds LS6 1LJ
Box Office: 0113 2785822

Saturday 29 July 2023
The Wardwick, Derby
Details to follow …

Thursday 3 August 2023
The Brunswick, 1 Holland Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 1JF
Tel: 01273 733984

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