Kirsten Luckins is a poet, performer, and spoken word theatre-maker based on the north-east coast of England. Her creative practise is eclectic, multi-artform and collaborative, with an emphasis on compassion and playfulness. She is artistic director of the Tees Women Poets collective, leading women of all background in Teesside to create and perform work about the issues that affect them and the values they live by.
She is a director, dramaturg and creative producer specialising in taking poetry to the stage. Recent projects include dramaturgy for The Empathy Experiment by Rose Condo, (shortlisted for Saboteur Awards 2020 Best Spoken Word Show; winner Best Solo Show Manchester Fringe 2019); creative production/direction for the performed launch of Rare Birds : Voices of Holloway Prison by Natalie Scott; and currently online creative production for the launch of Sleeper by Jo Colley. Her work is based on ten years experience working as creative producer for national performance poetry organisation Apples and Snakes.
As an educator, Kirsten is currently creating video resources on making spoken word theatre for 11-18 year old Arts Award participants via Durham University. She is also delivering a series of workshops on collage and blackout poetry for mental health on behalf of Sunderland Culture.
With filmmaker Laura Degnan, Kirsten is one half of Celebrating Change, a digital storytelling project and poetry blog. She and Laura have previously collaborated on film-poems Impermanence, Love Is Waiting To Come Through You, and Imelda Says. The latter two were part of Kirsten’s second theatre show, The Trouble With Compassion, which was accompanied by a poetry collection of the same name with award-winning independent press Burning Eye Books. Kirsten’s first show, The Moon Cannot Be Stolen, wove together 20-year old travel journals with live tabla music, and was nominated for a Saboteur Award for Best Solo Show.
Kirsten’s recent projects include a commissioned community art project for Summer Streets festival, in which she interviewed people about their lockdown walks in order to write micro-poetry based on their experiences, and present it to them in the form of collaged zines. In 2019-20, she undertook a writer’s residency at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, where she used archive documents to develop techniques in the blackout, erasure and found poetries that make up part of her online practise. Kirsten’s ekphrastic poems have been published in literary magazine Ink, Sweat & Tears and critical art journal Corridor 8, and have been HIghly Commended in for the Poetry Society’s Artlyst Art To Poetry Award 2020.
Kirsten has also held writing residencies at archive project Hartlepool History Now & Then, and at the Bloodaxe Archives at Newcastle University. The former residency resulted in a series of poems re-telling the experiences of merchant mariners and their families in WW1, which were published in chapbook form by Black Light Engine Room press, and sit as audio poems on the archive website. The latter residency resulted in poems, a performance piece and some text-based visual art in response to ephemera from Bloodaxe Press.
Kirsten’s poems have appeared in print and online in magazines such as Strix, Under The Radar, The Blue Nib, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog and Magma. She has been shortlisted for the York Mix Poetry Prize and the Wenlock International Poetry Prize.