What is Outspoken?
Outspoken is an annual celebration of the spoken word, with its own special mix of stand-up comedy, poetry and storytelling. Performers rely on their talent with words to entertain and move audiences. Like Wanaka, our base, Outspoken is not mass market but created to provide intelligent entertainment. The best wordsmith acts – that’s Outspoken.

What’s different about it?
Born in Wanaka, Outspoken is the only festival in New Zealand dedicated to the spoken word. We harness the special-ness of our area, choosing specific venues to enhance the character of each performance. Outspoken is also a festival with personality, bite and a sense of fun. Through our programming and marketing, we unleash the magic of words and show that they’re not just for bookworms!

Who is Outspoken?
Outspoken is a registered charity (registration CC51197) - the Outspoken Charitable Trust Board whose Trustees are:
Luc Bohyn – entrepreneur, owner of Bistro Gentil and arts patron
Grahame Sydney – artist and Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to painting
Tony Williams – Williams Hotel Group owner
Margo Berryman – Media owner, journalist and radio presenter
The festival is developed on behalf of the Trustees by Julia Le (julia@outspokenfestival.co.nz 021 993 780) and Liz Breslin (liz@outspokenfestival.co.nz 027 622 5075)


 Any un-spoken agenda?

Beyond bringing inspiring entertainment to Wanaka, we really want to promote engagement with words and encourage people to find their own voices. The beauty of spoken word is that it’s available to all as an outlet for self-expression and creativity. It’s an art form that can help foster self-confidence in young people and add a pluri-cultural perspective on life... Hearing different voices opens up minds.

We also want to make sure we're accessible to everyone, with a varied programme and a mix of affordably-ticketed and free events. If financial constraints prevent you from participating in Outspoken, please email liz@outspokenfestival.co.nz and we'll make a plan!

So how did Outspoken start?
Over a cup of coffee and dreams of bringing city-quality spoken word entertainment to the Wanaka area. The initial idea of a series of performances at a Wanaka restaurant rapidly turned into plans for a more inclusive, wider-reaching festival.
The first Outspoken Festival took place over six weeks in January – February 2014. Kickstarted with private funding, it received a fantastic response which prompted the formation of The Outspoken Charitable Trust.
All our Trustees were won over by the first edition of Outspoken, where they were involved as audience members or sponsors.

What’s your vision for the continuation of the Outspoken Festival?
To become a destination festival for spoken word lovers and performers from around New Zealand and beyond.
We will achieve this by not only delivering exciting performances but also by being a catalyst for new creations and collaborations.
Our festival programme is designed to encourage the emergence of new voices, and give a platform for the best to get heard.
We give budding local talents the opportunity to share the stage with established performers. Through this, audiences can discover and delight in fresh, new voices. Visiting schools, organising open mics and workshops are also an integral part of what we already do and will do more of with your continued support. Working with local people, businesses and events, we want to build the Wanaka area as a place to come to for the arts. We have the opportunity to develop a flagship cultural event for our region, a drawcard for visitors.

Like Wanaka, our base, Outspoken is not mass market but created to provide intelligent entertainment. The best wordsmith acts - that's Outspoken. 

Cultures don't survive accidentally.

We are currently fundraising to make the festival an annual event.

Your support can make the difference.