This Thursday coming, the 3rd March, is the next installment of Pen:Chant at Contact theatre – featuring the triumphant triumvirate of legendary beatboxer and vocal sculptor Jason Singh, UK Anti-Slam and BBC National Slam Champion 2015 Scott Tyrell, and indefatigably prolific author of erotic fiction, including the ‘best-selling’ Sticky Digits, Pamela DeMenthe! It will of course, be an absolute corker, with a typically high-quality open mic section and the usual arsing about from me, but as it happens to be World Book Day on the 3rd as well, we thought we’d chuck in some celebrations of a book-related nature as well. So we are asking anyone coming along to bring a book they’d like to give away and in the interval we will host a book-swap stall. We’ll also be putting on a raffle to raise money for Book Aid International, featuring prizes from local bookshops and other assorted goodies. Most exciting of all we are giving away two tickets for the show to the person who writes the best fictional review of one of Pamela DeMenthe’s incredible portfolio of erotic novels – featuring titles such as Moist January, Scared Stiff and Panties Inferno! You can find a list of Pamela’s prolific output on her website or Facebook page. Reviews can be of any length, up to a maximum of 200 words, and sent to penchantevents[at]gmail[dot]com by 5pm on Wed 2nd March. If you’re not the lucky winner you can of course buy tickets for the night from Contact, though [...]
I’ve been commissioned to write a new monologue as part of Z-Arts’ Family Matters project. If you don’t know, Z-Arts, formerly the Zion Arts Centre is Manchester’s only venue dedicated to inspiring and providing creative opportunities for children and families across Manchester and the Northwest. Here’s the blurb about the project from Z-Arts website: A series of 5 monologues from spoken word artists on the theme of family. Each piece is a real life portrayal of one person’s family, what it means to them, what family life is like growing up, the challenges, the love and ultimately how it has shaped them as an individual. Including a gay Muslim who grew up in a loving Bengali family in a small Essex town, now living as a practising Muslim with a non-Muslim partner who want to start their own family, or a Somali woman who is cohabiting with her partner and now has her own young family, but has estranged from her parental family for seven years, as a consequence. Or a simple story of a teenager and the dependent /independent struggle of family ties and releases that represents. This project doesn’t just focus on families, it puts families into focus. Each monologue would be a piece of beautifully crafted writing, drawing on emotions and creating a window on the multiplicities of human existence in the modern world. Followed by Q&A on the state of the ‘family’ in 21st century Britain, and what it means to be part of a family in this day and [...]
At long last, having performed at two Edinburgh Fringes and a two month schlep around Australia, we are bringing Anthropoetry to the fair cities of the UK (well, England). This will be the last ever outing of this show as it’s really time we got on and made a new one, so do catch it if you can as it’s your last chance, and you wouldn’t want to miss out now, would you?
Edinburgh Awesomeness Is awesomeness a word? It is now. So, we’re all up in Edinburgh’s grill right now doing various shows which I’ve probably already told you about but am going to tell you again as I’m a sucker for repetitive self-promotion. But to take the edge off the self-indulgence a little bit (only a little) and to give you a reward for wading through my relentless solipsism, I’m also going to give a list of recommendations of things you should also see at this year’s fringe, once you’ve been to see us of course. I’m only going to recommend people/shows I’ve actually seen already, so I may do another list half way through the festival once I’ve seen some more things that I’d like to recommend. If I’m not lying face down in a gutter by then stinking of haggis, self-loathing and Caledonian 80 mumbling ‘t…t…two shows… a…at the s..same time… why? why?!’ etc. So, to begin with, stuff you may already know about: Mellor & Steele present ‘Anthropoetry’ and ‘Shaggy Doggerel’ Anthropoetry, our humorous, musical, spoken word journey around the human body opened at C Nova on the 31st July and has already picked up a four-star review in Three Weeks. We’re on every day at 8pm, tickets are various prices depending on the date, but we have 2 for 1 offers from 3rd – 6th and will announce more 2 for 1 days as the run goes on. Follow us on twitter or facebook for announcements. We [...]
Shaggy Doggerel is the new show from ‘award-winning’ duo, Mellor & Steele (aka me and Dan). We will be premiering the show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013, as part of PBH’s Free Fringe, at Fingers Piano Bar, 61A Frederick St. More details will be available shortly from my gigs page, but basically it’s on every day (except Mondays) at 5.30pm – 6.30pm, from 3rd – 24th August. This is the blurb: Superman and Lois do battle with a uterine super-villain; Peter discovers there’s more to the wolf than the stories tell; a philandering footballer suffers the grisly consequences of seducing a team of WAGs… Combining spoken word, comedy, music, storytelling and hip-hop, award-winning duo Mellor & Steele spin deliciously dark yarns both familiar and strange. You’ll bark with laughter and take paws for thought. Acclaim for previous show, Anthropoetry: **** The Scotsman **** Broadway Baby **** Sabotage **** Flaneur Fringe Weekly Award Winner, Adelaide; Performance Award runner-up, Fringeworld, Perth More details, extracts of the show, tour dates etc. to follow (once we’ve actually written it).
I’ve been back at home a few weeks now and although various trips around the country since I returned have meant I haven’t properly finished unpacking yet, let alone begun to deal with the fallout and debris (financial, professional, emotional) of being away, I’ve realised that a proper blog post about our travels is long overdue. This is partly in case anyone’s interested in what we got up to while we were away, but primarily to signpost people to the brilliant artists that we met while we were out there, so that hopefully you will look out for them if and when they visit these shores, or you visit theirs. So this is the Perth bit: The Perth Fringe Festival, or Fringeworld as they would much rather you called it, is only a baby – this is their third year – but it’s roughly doubled in size and popularity every year and looks set to become a mainstay of the Perth cultural calendar. As, I hope, will the venue that we performed at – The Noodle Palace/Bok Choy Ballroom. Aaron & Fletch from JumpClimb were first-timers to running a venue this year, but with the management of a number of bands and acts plus the annual Beaufort St festival, which this year drew over 100,000 punters to its massive one-day party, they were bound to make a decent stab at it. A last minute fall-out with the owner of the noodle factory that inspired the venue’s names meant the boys [...]
Voices of Dissent was my first solo show, which I made in 2008 at Contact, Manchester. It was ‘an anarchic multi-character piece combining spoken word, dramatic monologue, movement, music and renewable energy’. Voices of Dissent began life during my At Home residency at Contact in 2006. I wanted to create a piece of work that explored the issue of sustainability, while being a sustainable product in its own right. The piece tells the story of Tali – an ancient trickster god from a forgotten pantheon who ‘in the beginning’ stole fire and gave it to humanity. For his crime, Tali was condemned by the other gods to live out his immortal days on earth, experiencing their pain and hunger forever. But now the gods are over-heating, and are forcing Tali to try and steal fire back from the humans. Realising the impossibility of his task, Tali sets out to try and prove to the gods that humans are worthy of the gift of fire, intervening in the lives of a host of characters to make them act more responsibly. Tali’s story and the stories of the characters he meets are told in a combination of dramatic monologue, dialogue and Ben Mellor’s trademark verse, full of imagery, wit and wordplay in this engaging new solo show. The production aimed itself to be sustainable, and as a result was necessarily participatory. A bicycle was used on stage, mounted on a pedal generator which powered the lights. The faster the pedals turned, the [...]
Sumit Sarkar, my go-to guy for everything of an art and design nature, has produced this beautiful artwork and graphic design for my new show, Everything We Need, which as you can see opens at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, on the 28th June. It’s only on for three short nights so it’d be lovely if you got along to see it, and bought a ticket soon to avoid disappointment. I also, shall attempt to avoid your disappointment by making a show at least half as good as the poster makes it look…
Apparently it’s bad form on blogs, newsletters etc to apologise for how long it is since you last sent out a missive to your adoring public, as this would imply that you were egotistical enough to assume you had any sort of public at all, let alone a public stupid enough to adore someone who uses words like ‘missive’. So I won’t even mention how long it’s been since my last post, let alone apologise for it, and just get on with writing about what I’ve got coming up. Phrased & Confused This weekend I and my fellow Geddes Loom band mates, Léonie Higgins and Dan Steele, will be performing a new music and spoken word commission at Summer Sundae Weekender in Leicester, brought to you by the lovely people at Phrased & Confused. The piece is themed on protest, and we’ve tried to imagine what Poetry and Music would protest about if they were characters, with what I hope are quite amusing results. I’ll also be performing in a Gil Scott Heron tribute slot and Geddes Loom will be performing a set of our other material on the Rising Stage on the Sunday. If you’re not around in Leicester we’ll be performing the protest piece at Interrogate Festival in Dartington on 23rd Sept, and at Contact, Manchester on 23rd Nov. A Game Of Consequence Over the last couple of months I’ve been busy working with Contact’s Young Actor’s Company on A Game of Consequence – a new piece of [...]
I’m just coming to the end of my brief residency at Dartington Arts, and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to spend some creative time in such a beautiful setting supported by such a friendly and progressive arts organisation. I’ll post a bit more about what I’ve done while I’ve been here etc. in due course, but I just wanted to post this before tonight’s show so that anyone who wants to leave any feedback or continue any conversations we have in the bar afterwards can do so through the comments at the bottom of the page. Looking like it’s going to be a sell-out so thanks in advance to everyone who comes tonight, I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing what you’ve got to see (albeit slightly apprehensively!) Cheers.