Why you need to go to an event


I’m writing this from the perspective as a fan of the arts. By arts I mean exhibitions, performances and theatre, but not the theatre of big shows and musicals – they leave me feeling a bit empty inside.

This short article is about events – and how important it is to go to them. And when I use the word ‘events’, I mean art and photography exhibitions, live-art performances, contemporary theatre, stand-up comedy, processions and festivals. And I also mean kids play groups, bonfire nights, Christmas festivals, street theatre days or anything you can take your family to, except those god-damn awful fun days in pub car parks where parents get slowly p*ss*d and subconsciously show their kids that alcohol is an acceptable form of addiction.

Why am I writing this? And why do I feel the need to say this?

Most of our lives shuttle along at 100mph without any time to stop and think. If you’re a parent that speed will regularly hit 120mph, or until you’re engine overheats and you have a nervous breakdown (this is similar to doing a phd but you don’t get a job with a university once you’ve recovered). What this means in real terms is that we all have our daily and weekly structures in terms of the things we do, the things we have to do and the things we enjoy doing. And often this does not include going to events like the theatre (adult or children’s) or similar events. For some people, a free festival in a nearby town or a weird little performance in the back of a pub is just not on the radar.

I know this because that was me. I went a dozen years without seeing any type of theatre performance, save for the occasional panto with my kids. Live-art performance festivals, fringe festivals, comedy festivals – it’s not that they weren’t on my radar, I didn’t even know they existed. I was doing other stuff. Like watching television. And drinking.

But here’s the thing. Live events, like those described above, offer something to us as humans mentally that we don’t quite understand. Academics sometimes refer to the effect of art and culture on people as wellbeing. But that does not do justice to the experiences involved.

The best way I can describe it, which most people get, is comparing watching a football match on TV compared to being at an actual stadium. At Old Trafford or Anfield or Holker Street, Barrow (delete as appropriate), there is the extra, intangible ingredient of atmosphere and sense of thrill that can only be experienced in a crowd, as part of a crowd. It’s this feeling that comes from watching events in person that I am talking about.

And it’s this feeling – along with other invisible benefits like nourishment for the soul, mental stimulation, feeling good – which makes going to events of any type hugely important to our wellbeing.

If we’re talking about theatre, there’s two main obstacles here (I could actually come up with six but it gets too complicated talking about social issues and the inaccessibility of some subject matters to a non-traditional theatre audience). The two obstacles are: people thinking theatre is too posh for them; and people (who do go out a lot) preferring to spend their time binge drinking. I can accept that drinking is an experience – and quite a fun one – but when you sit there scratching your blotchy red alcohol-soaked skin, looking back over those nights on the lash stretched across three decades, all those memories merge blur into one. It’s the extraordinary nights which stand out.

And extraordinary nights usually mean seeing Maxine Peake at the Royal Exchange, experiencing the anarchy of spoof magic show Peter and Bambi Heaven at Edinburgh Fringe, learning about social protests at a Mark Thomas gig or spending two hours laughing at Daniel Kitson (he’s the best stand-up comedian in Britain by a mile but does go on the telly so you might not have heard of him. I’d recommend you get seek him out, get on his mailing list and see him live).

But live experience does not end there. There’s also a myriad of processions, dances and performances at festivals up and down the country which can trigger feelings of joy some of you reading this did not even know existed.

The effect of art and culture on the mind is immeasurable. And believe me, I’ve read some reports which have tried to measure it. It’s immeasurable because you can’t measure how someone feels. But what you can do is ask people about their experiences and question your own – and the answer is always the same: art and culture makes us feel good. And that’s why experiencing stuff like this so crucial, especially to those of us a bit worn down by life. The effect could be as quick as the flick of a lightbulb, or it could be a more gentle, slower provocation of thought and feeling. But it will always be good and always be worth it.

There is actually of lot of theatre and performance out there – and a huge amount of it is totally free (both indoor and outdoor events). I’ve seen my fair share of weird sh*t – and you could too. So do yourself a favour, give yourself some memories. Go and see some theatre, or enjoy some live art where, for example, a naked man cellotapes his cock up his backside. Yes, you too could have memories like mine.

There will be some amazing experiences at Lancashire Fringe Festival in Preston, between May 15 and 24. Some of the shows, in my opinion, are by the absolute best performers currently working in Britain today. Can’t quite believe they will be in Preston. And you know what? I’ve organised it all so that it is free to attend. This is your wake-up call – it’s time for you to make some changes in your life.



Poetry workshops in the build up to Lancashire Fringe Festival

As part of Lancashire Fringe Festival, Louise Fazackerley is working with three poets – Amy Lee Tempest, Helena Ascough and Richy Integer – who will perform on the opening night of the festival (Weds May 15 at Vinyl Tap).

Louise is also running a FREE poetry workshop in Preston on the afternoon of Weds, May 1 – which anyone can attend. I’m announcing it on here so you lot can get the chance to sign up (there are only seven places available).

Here are the details:

Workshop – Making a Living from Performance Poetry
3pm-4.30pm open workshop (max 7 places).

Suitable for people writing and beginning to perform their own poetry. Louise will help you explore the different avenues available for professional performance poets to make money including performance, writing commissions, teaching and event management.

Contact Louise directly – email: louisethepoet@live.co.uk

Louise Fazackerley to launch Lancashire Fringe Festival

louise poet red flower dress Benji Reid

Louise Fazackerley will launch Lancashire Fringe Festival on Wednesday, May 15, at Vinyl Tap in Preston.

The brilliant spoken-word performer debuts new show The Secret at the festival.

Louise, who has supported the godfather of punk poetry John Cooper Clarke, last played in Preston to a sell-out crowd of over 80 people.

The pop poet has appeared on BBC 1’s Breakfast show, as well as BBC Radio 3 and 4, performing to millions of people and talking about issues surrounding poetry and northern life.

Her work has been hailed by several of the UK’s best poets and literary icons:

‘A great performer’ Will Self
‘A voice that tingles with promise’ Ian McMillan
‘That was amazing and I’ve been a poet for 34 years. Will you come and do my festival?’ Attila the Stockbroker
‘A class act… I love her, you will too’ John Cooper Clarke

Much of the inspiration for her funny, bitter-sweet and observational work comes from Louise’s home town of Wigan.

Love Is A Battlefield, one of three albums Louise has recorded, is a result of a New Voices commission from BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. The set addresses the after-effects of war on the social and domestic lives of soldiers.

Louise will be supported by three poets selected from the festival’s new commission call out, aimed at developing new regional north-west talent.

See Louise at Vinyl Tap Preston, 28-30 Adelphi St, Preston PR1 7BE on Wednesday, May 15. Show starts at 7.30pm.

Lancashire Fringe Festival is a FREE event. The festival operates a Pay What You Decide model, where audiences can make an optional donation after the show. No tickets required. Just turn up!


Louise Fazackerley’s website.
Twitter: @louisethepoet
Photo: Benji Reid

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!

Finished 2 Little Ducks Latest

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 WeGotTickets.com

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.

Finished 2 Little Ducks Latest

Spoken word: Poet Marvin Cheeseman and Lancashire Fringe Festival

marvin cheeseman, lancashire fringe festival, poetry, spoken word

Marvin Cheeseman is comedy performance poet. He is very funny.

He has appeared at many comedy venues across the UK including the Edinburgh Festival and the Cheltenham Festival of Literature. His work is described as ‘a celebration of the mundane’ and ‘a report from the launderette of life’.

In 2014 he was named Hull Comedian of the Year. His work has been featured on BBC radio and BBC TV poetry series Whine Gums.  He has published three collections – Full Metal Jacket Potato, Making Prawn Sandwiches for Roy Keane and We Hate It When Our Ex-lodgers Become Successful.

Known as “The Doyen of the Deadpan” (Cheltenham Festival of Literature), Marvin is working on a fourth collection entitled “Moston Tea Party.”

To give you an idea of what he’s about, here’s one of his poems:

Dear Bono,
Having a lovely time.
The weather’s nice, but I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for
All the best,
The Edge.

Marvin Cheeseman is from Manchester. @MarvinCheeseman

He will be appearing at Lancashire Fringe Festival on Fri, July 15 at about 7.50pm.