The award winning poet Luke Wright is excited to announce the tour for his new show, The Ballad Seller, based on Georgian street ballads; which is also being published in book form with illustrations by Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson.
Back in Georgian times we got our news from poetry. Before newspapers, broadcasts or the internet, ballad sellers would hawk broadside ballads on street corners for a penny. Scandalous affairs, grisly crimes, and colourful characters were brought to life in rhyming verse long before the first tabloid was printed.
Luke Wright, winner of Best Spoken Word Performer at May’s 2021 Saboteur Awards, has based his 11th full length poetry show on these bawdy street ballads and brings it on tour from this Summer. The show will also celebrate the limited edition book of the same name which features illustrations by The Guardian’s chief political cartoonist Martin Rowson.
‘One of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation’ – Independent
Wright has rewritten the very best of these stories for the modern ear. Take a trip through Drury Lane gin shops with the Boxing Baroness; filch oysters by the dozen with celebrated gormandizer (glutton) Dando; and escape the Bull Ring with Jemmy the Rockman. Expect scandal, excess, and beautiful flawed humanity.
‘One of the greats. A poetic pugilist’ – Carl Barât (The Libertines)
Luke says: “These days we associate the word ‘ballad’ with a kind of slow, syrupy song, but traditionally it meant a narrative poem or song. For hundreds of years ballads were the backbone of the average Briton’s cultural experience. By the 18th century the most gossipy, salacious news stories were written as ballads and sold in their thousands. Frankly, the quality of the verse was pretty awful, but the characters brilliant. In this show I’ve brought those characters to life by extending the ballads and giving their stories space to breathe.”
‘Cool poems’ – Patti Smith
Luke Wright is one of Britain’s top stand-up poets. Flamboyant, political and riotously funny, Wright’s inventive shows are enjoyed by thousands of people across the world every year. He is the author of three full collections and three pamphlets of poetry, and three verse plays. He is the winner of a Fringe First, a Stage Award for Acting Excellence, and three Saboteur Awards.
He’s a regular tour support for John Cooper Clarke and The Libertines and was recently dubbed ‘the bard of lockdown’ by The Daily Telegraph after his marathon stint of 100 consecutive nights of online shows.
The Ballad Seller will tour throughout 2021. Luke is also touring his third verse play The Remains of Logan Dankworth and his newest collection, Come! Come on! Meet me! – full dates below.
Luke Wright Live Dates for 2021
performing The Ballad Seller, unless stated otherwise
1 July – Felixstowe, Suffolk
2 July – Diss, Suffolk
4 July – Lincoln (with John Cooper Clarke)
5 July – Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear (with John Cooper Clarke)
14 July – Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London
15 July – Whitchurch, Shropshire
20 July – Harrogate, Yorkshire
27 July – Ventnor, Isle of Wight
28 July – Holt Festival, Norfolk
29 July – Cambridge (The Remains of Logan Dankworth)
1 August – EA Festival Hedingham, Essex (Come! Come on! Meet me!)
7 August – The Big Little Festival, Ashburton, Kent
19 August – Tunbridge Wells, Kent
21 August – Penzance, Cornwall
3 September – Stamford, Lincolnshire (Come! Come on! Meet me!)
4 September – Lowestoft, Suffolk (Come! Come on! Meet me!)
9 September – Nottingham (The Remains of Logan Dankworth)
25 September – St Endellion, Cornwall (Come! Come on! Meet me!)
2 October – Laugharne Weekend, Carmarthenshire
11 October – Brighton, Sussex
13 October – Colchester, Essex (The Remains of Logan Dankworth)
14/15 October – Manchester
20 October – Hastings, Sussex
6 November – Bungay, Suffolk (Come! Come on! Meet me!)
11 November – Oundle, Northamptonshire
For more information or to book visit lukewright.co.uk.