Abby Oliveira is a spoken-word poet, writer, performer, and arts facilitator. In 2006, she entered the performance poetry world, in which she would build an impressive reputation and following. As she tells the Irish News, “I fell in love with how much electricity words could create, especially among audiences who wouldn’t necessarily have considered themselves poetry fans.” Oliveira was a champion in spoken-word competitions including the Belfast Poetry Slam and the Ulster Slam and a finalist in several others, and she went on to host and organize slams herself.
Oliveira frequently works across genres, incorporating poetry, prose, music, and performance into her creative output. She has been commissioned as a writer by organizations including BBC Radio 4, RTÉ Radio, Foyle, and the MAC Belfast. Her recent publications include contributions to anthologies The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices (Unbound, 2021), The New Frontier: Reflections from the Irish Border (New Island Books, 2021), and Empty House: Poetry and Prose on the Climate Crisis (Doire Press, 2021). In 2021, Oliveira was awarded SIAP funding by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland toward the completion of her debut poetry manuscript.
As a performer, Oliveira has appeared in multiple stage productions, including two shows of her own, Cast Away Your Compass and the multimedia show Legends of the Coven. She is a regular performer at events in the UK, Ireland, and abroad, and she has toured in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, the latter via support from Arts Council NI. Oliveira is a frequent collaborator with other artists, often incorporating her spoken-word work into projects with practitioners of other disciplines. Her musical collaborations range in genre from folk and trip-hop to electronica. She has worked with musicians Mark Graham, Basork, Warriors of the Dystotheque, Garth McConaghie, and others, as well as with the acrobats of Compagnie XY.
An accomplished facilitator of creative workshops since 2007, Oliveira has taught performance poetry, creative writing, storytelling, and drama for all ages. She has led workshops for Creative Lives, the Irish Writers’ Centre, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, The Playhouse, The Waterside Theatre, Derry and Strabane District Council, Cara-Friend, Donegal County Council, Wainfest, and many other organizations. She is based in the North of Ireland.
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Photo by Matthew Thompson