Biggest month of spoken-word performance in Preston this September

Posted on - 2nd September, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
Poet Luke Wright

September will see three of the UK’s best poets head to Preston for the biggest month of spoken-word performance in the city’s history.


Acclaimed Manchester-based poet Tony Walsh will perform at The Ferret for his only North West gig this autumn on Thursday, 30 September.

Before Walsh’s one-off show, legendary performer Attila the Stockbroker has a date booked at The Continental on Thursday, 9 September, while the UK’s hottest rising poetry star Luke Wright has a gig at Preston’s newest venue The MET on Thursday, 16 September.

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Wright, recent winner of the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer 2021 award, has supported John Cooper Clarke and opened for The Libertines. He will perform poems from his highly-rated show The Ballad Seller.

The Independent newspaper hailed Wright as ‘One of the most brilliant poets of his generation’ while The Guardian said ‘His performances rumble with rage, passion and humour. They are also peppered with brilliantly smart observations. You will leave his show brimming with energy, heart pounding and brain whirring’.

Cult performer Attila the Stockbroker comes to the Conti’s Boatyard theatre space in celebration of 40 years as a performer for what is sure to be another sell-out gig.

Meanwhile, Walsh – aka Longfella – has agreed to do an intimate gig at the cult Preston music venue The Ferret on Thursday, 30 September.

The spoken-word legend regularly plays to audiences of around 400 in Manchester – so the intimate Preston gig of under 100 is sure to sell out.

Walsh said: “I’m excited to be back on stage with my full one-man show and I’ve heard great things about The Ferret and its audiences. I love performing in pub venues when everyone can relax and have a drink.

“The promoter, Enjoy The Show, are doing a great job bringing some amazing artists to the area and I’m proud to be in their line up. 

“What to expect? Poems to make you laugh, some to make you think, and a few that may bring a tear to the eye – all adding up to summat a bit different and a rip-roaring, loud, lively, good night out.  This is my first full show in 18 months and I’ll give it everything I’ve got! Grab some mates and I’ll see you there.”

Walsh is best known for his Manchester poem This is the Place which was performed live to an audience of millions at the incredibly emotional 2018 vigil for the Manchester Arena bombing victims.

Tony Walsh

This iconic performance, together with Tony’s spontaneous closing comment of ‘choose love, Manchester’ was widely credited with helping to define the city’s notably defiant, compassionate and creative response to the terrible events at Manchester Arena.

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Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher said the poem was the “best thing I’ve heard to come out of any Mancunian’s mouth.”

The poem – which has subsequently been painted on to walls, recited in schools, re-mixed by DJs, and tattooed on to skin – has since been used and licensed to raise approaching £200,000 for the survivors of the bombing.

Attila the Stockbroker kicks off the spoken word events on Thursday, September 9, at The Continental’s Boatyard space, doing a special show to mark his 40th anniversary as a performer.

Atilla the Stockbroker

Promoter Cook of, said: “I’ve been chasing Tony Walsh for years, trying to get him to Preston ever since I saw him perform years ago in south Manchester on a bill with Marvin Cheeseman and Louise Fazackerley.

“When I watched him on TV perform his amazing poem This is the Place at the vigil for the arena bomb victims, I was choked up like everybody else watching. Tony has played some massive gigs since then – so for him to say yes to a gig in Preston is absolutely stunning for the city.

“He’s not doing any North West gigs in the autumn so this is another massive coup for Preston – get your tickets now as there won’t be any left on the night of the gig.

“If you’ve never seen performance poetry, come along – you’ll be blown away. The emotions and feelings spoken word can you give you are every bit as good as an amazing music concert. Captivating is the best way I can describe the experience. And to feel all these emotions in such a wonderful, intimate venue as The Ferret will be a truly exceptional experience for everyone there. I can’t wait.”

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As well as programming the Walsh and Wright poetry gigs, Cook is also bringing several comedy and contemporary performance shows to the city this autumn.

Stand-up comics Carl Hutchinson and Jonny Pelham are part of a brilliant stand up night at The MET on Wednesday, September 22, which is hosted by Phil Ellis. And comedian Tom Mayhew brings his acclaimed show From Rags to Slightly Newer rags to The MET on Thursday, September 23.

The Ferret hosts the wonderful comedy performance The Adventures of the Bearded Lady on Thursday, 28 October. On Sunday, 21 November, the writer and poet Henry Normal – famous for writing The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family – brings his show The Escape Plan to The Ferret.

More shows are set to be announced. Full details at

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Will you be attending any of the events? Let us know in the comments below.

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