Two days in Manchester for award winning poet’s new show, based on Georgian street ballads. Also published in book form with illustrations by Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson
‘His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour, peppered with brilliantly smart observations.’
Back in Georgian times we got our news from poetry. Before newspapers, broadcasts or the internet, ballad sellers would hawk broadside ballads on street corners for a penny. Scandalous affairs, grisly crimes, and colourful characters were brought to life in rhyming verse long before the first tabloid was printed.
Luke Wright, winner of Best Spoken Word Performer at May’s 2021 Saboteur Awards, has based his 11th full length poetry show, The Ballad Seller, on these bawdy street ballads. As part of an extensive UK tour the show comes to Manchester’s The Edge, Theatre & Arts Centre for two dates on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October.
‘One of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation’ Independent
Wright has rewritten the very best of these stories for the modern ear. Take a trip through Drury Lane gin shops with the Boxing Baroness; filch oysters by the dozen with celebrated gormandizer (glutton) Dando; and escape the Bull Ring with Jemmy the Rockman. Expect scandal, excess, and beautiful flawed humanity.
The Ballad Seller is also a limited edition book which features illustrations by The Guardian’s chief political cartoonist Martin Rowson.
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Luke says: ‘These days we associate the word ‘ballad’ with a kind of slow, syrupy song, but traditionally it meant a narrative poem or song. For hundreds of years ballads were the backbone of the average Briton’s cultural experience. By the 18th century the most gossipy, salacious news stories were written as ballads and sold in their thousands. Frankly, the quality of the verse was pretty awful, but the characters brilliant. In this show I’ve brought those characters to life by extending the ballads and giving their stories space to breathe.’
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Luke Wright is one of Britain’s top stand-up poets. Flamboyant, political and riotously funny, Wright’s inventive shows are enjoyed by thousands of people across the world every year. He is the author of three full collections and three pamphlets of poetry, and three verse plays. He is the winner of a Fringe First, a Stage Award for Acting Excellence, and three Saboteur Awards.
He regularly tours with John Cooper Clarke and The Libertines and was recently dubbed ‘the bard of lockdown’ by The Daily Telegraph after his marathon stint of 100 consecutive nights of online shows.
Luke Wright: The Ballad Seller
Multi award winning poet updates the scandalous, bawdy and colourful Georgian ballad storytelling style for the modern ear in his eleventh full length poetry show.
14/15 Oct The Ballad Seller
Manchester The Edge, Theatre & Arts Centre Manchester Road Chorlton M21 9JG
7.30pm £14/12 0161 282 9776 www.edgetheatre.co.uk