The Ferret to host two top UK poets this September

Posted on - 9th September, 2022 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
Harry Baker

Leading poets Luke Wright and Harry Baker will bring their UK tours to The Ferret this September as Preston enjoys a ‘growing reputation’ as a ‘cult destination’ for spoken word.

The duo are touring major cities but included Preston dates because of its emerging reputation, with BBC Radio One favourite Baker and regular John Cooper Clarke support act Wright visiting The Ferret on the back of successful Edinburgh Fringe runs.

World Poetry Slam Champion Baker has performed for and has been viewed millions of times worldwide. Baker’s mixture of humour and mathematics in his poetry lead to Radio 1 hailing him as ‘the greatest performer on Earth’.

Luke Wright will perform at Preston’s The Ferret on 22 September, from 8pm, with Harry Baker performing on 29 September, from 8pm to 10pm.

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Luke Wright

Promoter Garry Cook said: “There is a competition to book spoken word performers for gigs, which is why persuading them to come to Preston is such a massive achievement.

“Preston has become the jewel of the north for performers – they all talk amongst themselves about different venues and cities. What makes this city so attractive is the way they are looked after. Touring can be a lonely and expensive business.

“If they get here early, I will show them around the city and take them for some food or a drink. I often have them stay with me after the gig – they love that personal touch and the feeling of being made to feel so welcome.

“And even though Preston struggles because it does not have a proper theatre space like many towns in Lancashire, we make up for that by the experience we give these performers who visit the city.”

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Posters are on display to promote the events

Wright was the most recent winner of the prestigious Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Performer. He supported the Libertines on tour, delivering performances ranging from ‘tender and riotous’ to ‘caustic and romantic’.

Wright’s third poetry collection, The Feel-Good Movie of the Year, is available from Penned in the Margins.

Both performers return to the city after successful gigs. Wright performed at The Harris 12 months ago, while Baker came to The Ferret for the first time in 2020 for one of his final gigs before the pandemic hit.

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Leading poets Harry Baker and Luke Wright

The poets follow several high-profile spoken word artists who recently visited the city.

They include Louise Fazackerley, Henry Normal, Jess Green, Matt Abbott, Mike Garry, Kevin P Gilday, Laura Taylor, Toria Garbutt, Hollie McNish and Tony Walsh.

Garry said: “Some of these performers tour the world – Australia, Las Vegas, Europe – but they remember the coffee at Cafune or the pre-show meal they have at PLAU bar just as much as the show itself.

“The co-operation of all the independent venues I work with is also crucial to the success of the shows. Vinyl Tap, The Stanley Arms, The Larder, The Continental and The Ferret are all behind me, supporting and encouraging what I do.

“Nationwide, it has been hugely challenging putting on shows for the past six months, with audiences down on what they were before the pandemic. People got out of the habit of going out and seeing live performances.

“We are still feeling the effects of this in Preston, but a growing audience is coming to these shows, wanting to experience the unique atmosphere of a live spoken word gig.”

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Garry said it is an ‘exhilarating’ feeling, and the performances are ‘like a live music gig but with an increased sense of drama’ – guests ‘hang on every word’ of the performers.

Gritty Salford-born poet Barrington, who has supported Sleaford Mods and Reverend and The Makers on tour, also comes to The Ferret in October for the final night of ‘Showing Poetential’.

For more information, visit –

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What are your thoughts on spoken word performances? Let us know in the comments below.

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