Talkaoke is a pop up talk show that is has been gaining popularity in festivals, clubs, galleries, theatres, conferences and on the street. it consists of an illuminated round table with a host sitting in the middle on a swivel chair. Participants sit around the outside and are passed the microphone whenever they want to […]

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    Who Wants to Be...?

    Who Wants to Be…?

    Who Wants to Be…? is the ask-the audience game show, where the audience asks the questions, comes up with the answers, and sets the rules! Using two visualisation systems, some gameshow glitz and a visual voting system, a large audience can brainstorm, feedback, and generate the most incredible ideas together. In its simplest form each […]

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    Talkaoke Skills Lab

    Talkaoke Skills Lab

    Talkaoke Skills Lab is a structured creative development programme, where we share our 25 years of experience in creative facilitation, non-hierarchal spaces, emergent development, co-creation and use of technology. Talkaoke Skills Lab is open to artists, students, community leaders, young people and everyone interested in socially engaged creative practice. The sessions cover: facilitation, creative thinking, co-creation […]

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    One Night Grandstand

    One Night Grandstand

      One Night Grandstand: stadium for a night! One Night Grandstand infuses a normal kick-about with the excitement of a football stadium. Games have a live, amplified commentary, floodlighting and stadium style screens above the pitch, complete with sound effects, live motion graphics and action replays. Watch the One Night Grandstand promo video to see […]

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    The People Film

    The People Film

    Documentation is an always an overt and integral part of our events. We also have a long history of filming, photographing and editing performances, talks, exhibitions and workshops, from vox pops on the streets of Hornchurch to filming a 24 hour performance marathon at The Serpentine Gallery. Through our work on facilitation and Talkaoke, we […]

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    “Basically, it’s a film-making-conveyer-belt that squeezes the imagination out of anybody who comes along, mixes it with everybody else’s and puts it on video.” Segue – a developing experimental format from The People Speak. It has emerged from workshops we have done for our own creative growth and for others. We discovered a strong desire […]

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    Talkaoke turns 25!

    From a furry to a glowing doughnut – a conversation with Mikey Weinkove

    It is hard for me to believe that Talkaoke has been going for 25 years. It’s been one long party – says Mikey Weinkove, the initiator of Talkaoke and co-founder of The People Speak art collective.

    The origins of Talkaoke – the famous pop-up talkshow are indeed linked with the party scene. It all started in 1997 at the Hydra club in Brick Lane in East London, a fabled hang out spot for artists, anyone who was up for a party and something slightly unusual. Mikey, then a young art graduate, thought that there was one crucial element that the evening was missing. He rocked up with what became the prototype Talkaoke table no 1, with a round hole cut out in the middle, covered with faux fur for that extra cosy vibe, and of course, with the host in the middle, a couple of pints down for some courage. Did it work? Hell, it did! People just couldn’t shut up! It turned out that apart from wanting to let loose and seeing some art, people wanted to connect, talk and get deep!

    When I created Talkaoke it was out of a feeling of powerlessness to participate in the mainstream media – reminisces Mikey. That very same year, Princess Diana was killed in a tragic accident. The blanket and homogenous coverage of this event served to underline the implied passive consumer nature of media at the time. Talkaoke became a welcome outlet. 

    Since then there have been many events which have shaken the world, for example: 9-11, the Iraq War, the 2008 crash, Brexit, the Covid 19 pandemic and, most recently – the war in Ukraine. There is a demand for diverse narratives and a need for people to speak and to be listened to. It does not matter if the conversation is about local issues or events of a global impact. In the course of the conversation we explore how it all fits together. A Talkaoke chat is also about the immediacy of reaction and connection with others. When you grab that mic and experience others listening, chiming in, throwing in different views, you feel there is power in the room – explains the founder of Talkaoke.

    If you are reading this, there is a good chance you have been involved in The People Speak network or sat around the Talkaoke table before and don’t need to be told how it works. If, however, you need a visual prompt, have a look at one of the early video featuring The People Speak crew tending to a public art emergency. In a nutshell, the premise of Talkaoke is simple. There is no set agenda. It’s about forming a consensus of what and how to talk about something through the spontaneous flow of conversation. The onus moves towards listening, understanding and contributing.

    Looking back on the early Talkaoke sessions, it took a long time to firstly understand the role of the facilitator and then to be able to explain it to others. There are some early video recordings of Talkaoke, which should never see the light of day! – jokes Mikey. And even if that is true – you are welcome to go through hours and hours of archival footage, which is largely available on The People Speak YouTube channel. All the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Talkaokes form a very impressive record of conversations featuring hundreds of talkshow stars.


    We are planning the big 25 Years of Talkaoke celebration event on Sunday 10th July. In the build up we will be sharing snippets of The People Speak’s history and anecdotes, including a podcast with Mikey. If you have any stories or old photos, please share them and join the conversation! 

    More details on the event will follow soon. We hope you can be there to celebrate with us.

    Photo: First Talkaoke ar The Hydra Club, 1997

    Talkaoke Skills Lab

    Talkaoke Skills Lab is a unique artist development opportunity piloting a new approach to intercultural dialogue, collaboration and skills exchange by bringing together in a virtual and hybrid space artists, creatives, cultural practitioners and change-makers from Uganda and the UK.

    The programme is provoked by a 1970s ‘social sculpture’ theory by the artist Joseph Beuys, who proposed that everything is art and that every aspect of life could be approached creatively. Beuys believed that everyone has the potential to be an artist and can shape their environment on a local and global scale. We ask: what does a creative and socially engaged practice mean within the global community, where technology plays an ever increasing role?

    Talkaoke Skills Lab builds on The People Speak 25 years experience of creating participant-led, emergent and interactive formats such as Talkaoke – a hybrid pop-up talk show and KQ’s experience of collaborative art and activism initiatives. We invite the project participants to explore new ways of future-proof, cross-border collaboration using technology, resulting in creating and piloting their own interactive hybrid format in London and Kampala.

    Talkaoke Skills Lab is supported by the British Council Cultural Exchange programme, which supports cultural organisations, festivals, artists, and creatives between the countries of SSA* and the UK to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets and share artists’ work with audiences.


    What to expect

    • 8 online sessions via Zoom using Talkaoke – pop-up talk show format, where we will cover: key points of The People Speak methodology, including: facilitation and creation of non-hierarchical spaces and participation structures, use of digital / hybrid technology; 
    • Participant-led discussions exploring current themes and issues; co-creation of interactive learning structure where participants decide on the skills they wish to develop and share; 
    • 1 public facing hybrid event co-created by the participants in two cities, taking place in venues in London and Kampala
    • Mentoring and individual support with artistic and professional development by The People Speak, KQ Hub and a wider network of creative collaborators 
    • Technical support in how to get the best out of online platforms


    Key dates

    Monday 6 December 2021  –  Programme and artist call out announcement
    January 13th 2022  –  Talkaoke Online – an information session for applicants
    Tuesday 1st February  –  Artist application deadline
    w/c 14th February  –  Interviews with shortlisted candidates


    #1 Saturday 5 Mar [11am-12:30pm UK time / 14:00-15:30 Uganda time]
    #2 Saturday 19 March [11am-12:30pm UK time / 14:00-15:30 Uganda time]
    #3 Saturday 2 April [12pm-1:30pm UK time / 14:00-15:30 Uganda time] 
    #4 Thursday 14 April [3-5pm UK time / 17:00-19:00 Uganda time]


    #5 Thursday 28 April [3-5pm UK time / 17:00-19:00 Uganda time] + Aberfeldy Live! Talkaoke [6pm UK time / 20:00 Uganda time]
    #6 Saturday 14 May [12pm-1:30pm UK time / 14:00-15:30 Uganda time] 
    #7 Thursday 26 May [3-5pm UK time / 17:00-19:00 Uganda time] + Aberfeldy Live! Talkaoke [6pm UK time / 20:00 Uganda time]


    #8 Sunday 12 June [time TBC at Rich Mix, London / MOTIV, Kampala]
    #9 Sunday 26 June [time TBC at Rich Mix, London / MOTIV, Kampala]
    #10 Thursday 30 June [TBC 3-5pm UK time / 17:00-19:00 Uganda time] + Aberfeldy Live! Talkaoke [6pm UK time / 20:00 Uganda time]
    #11 FINAL EVENT Sunday 10 July [time TBC at Rich Mix, London / MOTIV, Kampala]


    March and July – arranged with individuals
    August 2022  –  Exact date TBC, Reflection session and follow up


    Who can apply

    The project is open to up to 20 artists of all disciplines [eg. writing, performance, visual arts, dance, making], art producers, cultural venue programmers and anyone who describes their practice as creative. You would have interest in or already existing socially engaged practice. We are most keen to hear from people aged 18-35 based in Uganda or the UK. If your age or location differs – it is still worth you getting in touch as we may be able to accommodate you. We welcome applicants with additional access needs and have allocated a budget to provide reasonable support to make it easy for you to take part. There is no fee to participate in Talkaoke Skills Lab.


    How to apply

    You can apply using an online form here. We ask you to describe your creative practice and reasons for wanting to be involved in the programme. You will have a 350 word limit or 3 minute video limit on your application.

    Deadline for applications Tuesday 1 February, midnight East African Time [Uganda], or 9.00pm Greenwich Mean Time Time [UK]


    If you have any questions 

    We will run an online Talkaoke information session on Thursday 13th January at 12pm [GMT] / 3pm [EAT] where you can get a flavour of the format and ask any questions you may have about the programme. Register for the session following this Eventbrite link.

    Feel free to drop us a line on

    The People Speak is a London [UK] based group of international artists, academics and arts practitioners with world-class expertise in getting people to understand each other. We have 25 years’ experience of using performance art, multi-media and technology to stimulate discussion, ideas, and actions in engaging, interactive and fun environments, pushing the boundaries of what a conversation can lead to. Our formats include: Talkaoke – our flagship pop-up talkshow, Segue – a generative instant film-making factory; Who Wants To Be – a direct democracy game show, The Slice Is Right – pizza-making under different political systems, Inverse Apprentice – a participant-led creative entrepreneurship programme provoked by the TV show ‘The Apprentice’. We have delivered projects in partnership with most of the UK’s national cultural institutions and museums – all Tate Galleries, National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Science Museum, V&A; universities and academic institutions – Queen Mary University of London, Goldsmiths University, Natural History Museum, The Francis Crick Institute, many UK festivals, such as LIFT, Shambala, The World Transformed; many social and youth charities. We have collaborated with partners in the US [Genomics Festival, Boston], Australia [The Street, Canberra], Norway [ice-9].

    Twitter @ThePeopleTweet 
    Instagram @The_PeopleSpeak
    Facebook @ThePSnet 

    KQ Hub Africa is a Uganda based  artist collective, creative agency and future consultancy working across visual, digital and performing arts — to produce meaningful culture programs, facilitate creative capacity building, and create platforms for skills and knowledge sharing, including the production of monthly networking, knowledge sharing experiential and imaginative events like creative talks, artists exhibitions, workshops, concerts, film labs + screenings, fashion and design incubators among others.

    Twitter @kq_hub
    Instagram @kqhubafrica 
    Facebook @kqhub 

    The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications.

    Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

    Twitter @SouthernAfricaArts, @ugbritish
    Instagram @SouthernAfricaArts , @eastafricaarts
    Facebook @SouthernAfricaArts.British @britishcounciluganda


    PiCK OF THE WiCK is a music video portrait project in Hackney Wick and Fish Island, in a collaboration with local residents and Knowledge Exchange Network, QMUL Centre for the Creative and Cultural Economy, Hackney Wick & Fish Island Community Trust and Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone.
    In this emergent project The People Speak ask the residents of Hackney Wick and Fish Island to create a music video representing the area. We will use conversation, comedy, video and graphic visualisations to tease out and imaginatively represent the key aspects of the band during a series of public consultation sessions around the area, which will take shape of pop up screen tests booths [inspired by Warhols ‘Screen Tests’ series], vox pops interviews and Pick of The Wick Talkaoke talkshow outdoors. For the Talkaoke we will bring a local lyricist/ singer, a musician and a live visualiser to create a sketch of lyrics and sound of the Pick of the Wick anthem, and the look of the hypothetical band.

    Following on from the research we did through the Wick Speaks! project in 2020, Pick of the Wick takes music as the element that connects various members of the community. We will use this theme as a framework to explore people’s wider ideas about:

    – How do people feel about public spaces in the area?
    – How does the community come together?
    – People’s emotional response to the place?
    – Divisive lines within the area and how to cross them?
    – What is the set of values about the area we can all agree on?

    Step into our DIY mobile Screen Test Booth, which will be popping up on the street throughout July. Tell us about the music and the look of Hackney Wick you know. What does it mean to you?
    Join us at one of the Screen Test Booth sessions in July: Friday 16th, Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th between 2-7PM, at and around The Pearl [11 Prince Edward Rd, London E9 5LX].
    Then on Sunday 1 August take part in an open space Talkaoke – a pop up talkshow, where we will be joined by local musicians, lyricist and illustrator who will compose a soundtrack and explore the visual identity of Hackney Wick & Fish Island based on the conversation between the participants. If you are a musician yourself – bring an instrument.

    PiCK OF THE WiCK is a collaboration with Knowledge Exchange Network, QMUL Network – centre for the creative and cultural economy, Hackney Wick & Fish Island Community Trust and Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone.


    Screen Test Booth sessions
    Friday 16th, Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th July
    2-7PM [drop in]
    Location: outside PEARL Hackney , 11 Prince Edward Rd, London E9 5LX

    Pick of the Wick Talkaoke
    Sunday 1 August
    Time, location, booking link tbc


    The People Speak People! – Zoe

    Welcome to our micro-blog series where we will introduce some of the recent members of The People Speak team.

    “Living in the present”

    Zoë is an American theatre maker, facilitator, and educator based in London. She works with creators and communities around the globe to tell stories that prompt conversation and run workshops that create change. As a theatre maker, she recently worked with Audible and the BBC on their new podcast and play The Hijack. Previously, she worked with a young spoken word artist to develop Outgrown at Shoreditch Town Hall, and with Company Three to develop The Act at The Yard. She was a member of the Orange Tree Writers Collective, where she developed her new play Return. Her plays The Burning, The Net, and Define have premiered in Edinburgh and London.

    As a facilitator and educator, Zoë has had the privilege to create and run a series of workshops for The Incident Project that spark conversations on race and privilege, and toured in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and London. She has also worked with Rewrite, bringing newly arrived refugees and born-and-bred Londoners together through creative writing. She believes that play and creativity are the best ways to spark change.

    Working with the People Speak has been one of the best things about the insane year that is 2020. In a time of so much isolation and anxiety, the People Speak events have reintroduced me to the power of fun, silliness, and connection. Whether it’s moderating Aberfeldy Live or facilitating the Tree of Success networking event for Waltham Forest, I have learned that collective laughter is one of the best tonics in this time. Collaborating with the People Speak has taught me loads of other small lessons: how to create legitimate connection and fun over Zoom; that sometimes outright silliness is the best way to unearth new ideas; and that, as a facilitator, I can really trust my participants and audience to take the lead. In 2021, I’m most looking forward to getting in a real life room filled with real life strangers and experiencing moments of collective fun and joy in person together.

    Check out Zoe’s website

    The Inverse Apprentice

    You’re hired! The Inverse Apprentice in Aberfeldy Street

    We are thrilled to announce that our project The Inverse Apprentice has been awarded a Small Grant Scheme from the new Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, delivered by Foundation for Future London.

    The Inverse Apprentice is a creative entrepreneurship programme provoked by the TV show ‘The Apprentice’. Our format, in contrast to the TV programme, is led entirely by the participants – Tower Hamlets residents. The programme delivered in partnership with the local talent, business owners and entrepreneurs uses personal creativity, cooperation and diversity of thought as a framework to develop participants’ self worth and employability skills. The apprenticeship aims to raise aspirations of the participants by helping them to gain agency and practical tools to become local instigators of change responding to their community’s needs.

    The Inverse Apprentice is a collaboration between The People Speak art collective, Spotlight youth hub and a posse of creative businesses in Aberfeldy Street, Poplar.

    Find out more about the fund and other awardees here.

    Get involved

    If you are interested in joining the project as a participant, aged 18 or over and based in Tower Hamlets – we would love to hear from you.

    If you are an artist, creative or entrepreneur linked with Tower Hamlets or wider east London, who wants to help us shape the project and respond to participants needs – let’s have a chat.

    Drop us a line to find out more


    The Inverse Apprentice is supported by

    In collaboration with