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Stand-out stand-up poet Luke Wright brings new show to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 10:41 24 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 24 January 2017

Poet Luke Wright.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Poet Luke Wright. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Ripping poetry from the page to centre stage, Luke Wright is back to launch a new tour and tour-de-force

Poet Luke Wright.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher Poet Luke Wright. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Inventive, invective-ridden, blistering, belligerent, brilliant - poet Luke Wright commands words like a jealous god, and commands the stage like a superstar. Language leaps to do his bidding as he conjures anything from suburbia to the sublime with his poetry. Laugh-out-loud at punch-lines, reel punch-drunk from the onslaught of images and ideas, Luke’s verse veers from political rants to tender family tableaux.

This month Luke launches his latest show at Norwich Arts Centre.

Riffing on the flat-roofed pubs and half bought couches of Brexit Britain, his new show, and book, The Toll, examines the toll modern life takes on us all.

Luke, who lives in Bungay, began his performance poetry career at the Norwich Arts Centre, at just 17. He had dreamed of being a musician, but when he wrote songs, it was all about the words. “Going to the Norwich Arts Centre is like going home,” said Luke.

Poet Luke Wright.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher Poet Luke Wright. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

He was still in his teens when he set up the poetry collective Aisle 16 with friends and fellow-writers. One of the members worked in a supermarket where miscellaneous items, which did not quite fit anywhere else, were stacked in aisle 16.

Luke went on to study English Literature at the University of East Anglia and his tour-de-force one-man stage show, What I Learned From Johnny Bevan, followed the coming-of-age and career of fictional UEA student, Nick. Fellow student Johnny Bevan inspires Nick to embrace politics, music, literature, life. Fast-forward 20 years and Nick is a jaded music journalist on his way to a pretentious arts event in the London tower block where his friend once blazed with political passion. It took him from political awakening to disillusionment via an impassioned and very funny tour of friendship, class, pretension and a bad idea for an arts festival.

Luke sold out a three-week run in London’s Soho, performed in the Houses of Parliament and on national radio, and the show won several national award and was published as a book. His latest poetry is also collected in a book, The Toll, to be published in February by Penned In The Margins.

Luke has written and performed eight one-man shows and produced collections of his work in books and albums – including The Essex Lion, which grew out of a breathtakingly funny, flamboyant, endearing and sweary poem about a lion which was (not) sighted on a Clacton campsite one summer. He grew up in Essex and has called himself “half posh and half Essex.” Once hailed as the pop idol of poetry Luke plays to audiences of thousands at music festivals and as John Cooper Clark’s warm-up act. He hosts and curates the spoken poetry arena at Latitude, and other festivals, has taken his one-man shows around the world and is now back with the Toll, combining described as “combining the elegaic with the anarchic, placing uproarious satire cheek-by-jowl with wild experiments in form and touching poems of parenthood.”

Luke Wright will be performing at the Norwich Arts Centre, St Benedicts Street, on Tuesday, January 24. Tickets £12 (£8 concessions) Box office: 01603 660352. www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

The show, at the start of a 25-date national tour, will feature poems from his latest book The Toll, to be published in February. Advance copies will be available on the night.

The tour begins in Norwich and includes dates in Edinburgh, London, Manchester - and Diss, where Luke will perform in the Diss Corn Hall, St Nicholas Street, on Friday, May 12 at 8pm. Tickets £10 (£6 concessions) from www.thecornhall.co.uk

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