As I promised in my New Year's post, I feel it's worth my saying a few words about my specific plans for my new show Awkward Prophet, as it's only a few weeks now before it begins doing the rounds of a few festivals around the UK, and I feel getting the word out about it can't be a bad thing.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, my Edinburgh show last year, Joz Norris Has Gone Missing, was something I was enormously proud of but I also felt after performing it for a month that I was more aware of its limitations, and already had a very clear idea of what sort of show I wanted to be doing in a year's time - essentially, I wanted to write a show that was just as colourful and silly and warm-hearted but a little more risky and inventive and, above all, that was actually about real things from my life rather than ideas I had purely imagined. Not wanting to waste this sense of already knowing what direction I wanted to move in, I tried to compile all the ideas I had into one whole as soon as I got back to London and was pleasantly surprised to find that it already felt a lot like a coherent whole, and went on to preview it a few times in November and find that I really enjoyed it.
It's been reworked and rejigged a fair bit over Christmas and will be subjected to one more rigourous preview in a couple of weeks, and will then, I think, be in a fairly healthy state and ready for its handful of festival outings over the coming months. So, if you want to see it at one of its full-on festival performances, where can you see it?
Words With Edge Festival - I'm excited and honoured to be giving the show its first real performance as part of the new Words With Edge Festival at Red Door Studios in East Ham. It's a new literary festival aiming to remove the isolation surrounding literacy, and will largely involve storytelling, poetry, slam battles and writing workshops. I think my show is largely fulfilling the Comedy section of the festival, and I hope its storytelling elements will make it a nice fit and that it will be a big success for everyone involved! More information on Words With Edge can be found on their Facebook page. My performance will be on Thursday 30th January.
The Good Humour Club - This is a particularly exciting opportunity - I'll be performing the show for the Laurence Sterne Trust as part of a programme of events being organised by the Good Humour Club in York. Essentially, a number of the ideas behind the structure and the general premise of Awkward Prophet were inspired, at least partially, by Sterne's celebrated novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, so I'm delighted to be able to perform it as part of a programme of events celebrating Sterne's tercentenary. More details can be found here. The show will be performed in St. Helen's Church in York on Thursday 6th February.
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival - I missed out on Leicester last year, and was treated to many glowing reports of how much fun it was and how well a number of friends did up there as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival. This year, not wanting to miss out on any of the fun, I'll be performing Awkward Prophet as part of Bob Slayer's Heroes of Fringe programme. My show will be at 16:45 on Sunday 9th February, and details can be found here.
Theatre Fest West - This will be a rather lovely homecoming - Theatre Fest West is a theatre and arts festival running in April organised by Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Trowbridge Arts. Having spent a thoroughly pleasant ten years growing up in Salisbury and first discovering and developing my love of performing and writing there via the Stage '65 Youth Theatre, it'll be great to go back and present this new show there. I've already confirmed one performance at the Rose and Crown in Trowbridge, and will hopefully also have confirmation of another performance at the Salisbury Arts Centre very soon - more details on these ones as soon as they're available.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival - There will hopefully be other places the show will be seen before August, but then, of course, there's the Edinburgh Fringe, where I'll be taking Awkward Prophet for another month-long run. Again, details on venues and times and so on as and when I know more about them.
Finally, just a quick word on the show itself - I don't want to give much away, but essentially, as I said, it's an effort to stage a show in which I perform as myself and that's founded on my own life, but that still has all the energy and stupidity of the character show I took up last year. This one is a voyage through my own past, present and possible future via sketches and stories. I hope it'll have something for fans of stand-up, fans of sketch, fans of character, fans of clowning - I've tried to make it a coming together of all the different ways of being funny that have influenced me over the last three years, and I hope that all the work I've done on it so far will pay off and it'll be the best thing I've done yet!
If any of you will be near any of these special festival appearances then please do feel free to come along and watch it, or keep your eyes open for other work-in-progress preview performances where things will be a bit more low-key and I'll play with things a bit more in order to continue making it as funny as it can be.
All the best and see you all soon,