Can we talk about performance poetry?


Performance poetry, or spoken word as some people call it, is a very popular type of live theatre. It’s like a cross-over experience – part theatre, part rock gig. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling of being in the audience.

It’s an exhilarating, captivating and moving experience. Anyone who has seen a brilliant performance poet knows this – and having had this experience, they usually lust for more.

The big problem for performance poets is attracting new audiences – and that’s because of the word poetry.

Poetry is a wonderful, complex, confessional  rhyming, non-rhyming  rollercoaster of emotions. But for many people it conjures up painful memories of torturous schooldays being force-fed John Keats or Ted Hughes at an age when they were not ready for it.

People also associate the word poetry with the rather dull, slightly geeky misfits of society who they would try and avoid sitting next to on a bus. The word poetry has an image problem.

Now, I’m going to be honest here and say that some people into poetry are a bit geeky. And some poetry groups, the ones where people meet once a month and read out their own work, can also be like this. I’m not saying it’s bad to be a geek or a misfit – I consider myself to suffer from that affliction – but that perception can put off non-believers from engaging with poetry.

But here’s the thing: performance poetry is poetry but not as you know it. Performance poetry is rock and roll. Performance poetry is the aching honesty of desperate feelings wrapped up in theatrical drama. Performance poetry is a new way looking at things. Performance poetry is learning about other people’s lives you never knew existed.

Performance poetry are the experiences you have had which someone else has been brave enough to put into words. Performance poetry is clever. Performance poetry is cuttingly funny. Performance poetry is high-octane entertainment.

People are put off performance poetry simply because of the word poetry. I’m telling you, if you experience performance poetry, you’ll bloody love it, have a hugely memorable, unforgettable experience and will want more of it. I’ve seen it happen so many times. You will also bloody love me for persuading you to come.

And when I say come, I’m talking about the wonderful performance poet Matt Abbott (a former frontman of a band) who is coming to Preston to do his show Two Little Ducks. He’s at Vinyl Tap pub in on Weds, Feb 13, 2019 at 8pm. It’s only a fiver to see him. You can pay on the door. Cheapest night out ever. See you at Vinyl Tap.

Get your tickets here now!

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Matt Abbott brings Two Little Ducks to Preston

On Wednesday February 13, Matt Abbott will perform his spoken word show Two Little Ducks at Vinyl Tap Preston. Tickets are £5 on the door or from

Here is what you need to know:

Matt Abbott was volunteering at the Calais Jungle refugee camp when his native Wakefield voted 66% Leave. Why did so many working-class communities like his support Brexit so strongly? How can the UK ignore a humanitarian crisis just 22 miles from Dover? And does anything ever actually change for people like Maria?

This is a powerful, personal and political spoken word show from one of UK poetry’s rising stars. He channels the human side of politics to look at national identity, preconceptions, class and anti-establishment anger. Poetic flair and storytelling, with a unique insight into the summer that changed everything.

★★★★★ The New European
★★★★★ Everything Theatre
★★★★★ Broadway Baby
★★★★ The Wee Review
★★★★ Reviews Hub
★★★★ The Theatre Guide

“An artist with something to say, who knows how to say it” The Scotsman
“Classy; he talks politics from the heart” The Morning Star
Rated as ‘Highly Recommended’ by FringeReview

After gaining critical acclaim as the lyricist and frontman in alternative pop act Skint & Demoralised, Matt Abbott returned to his original love of spoken word in 2013. Since then, he’s established himself on the UK’s flourishing scene. His 22-date UK theatre tour of ‘Two Little Ducks’ was accompanied by the release of his debut collection – featuring the poems from the show – on Verve Poetry Press. He also recorded the poems for a studio album which was released by Nymphs & Thugs Recording Co.

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