Sonia Jalaly – Happy Birthday Without You

Sonia Jalaly – actor, writer and original co-founder of First Draft, pens a guest blog about bringing her new solo show back to Manchester after well and truly dumping us for another city. Not that we’re bitter…

I’ve had an on/off relationship with First Draft for the past two years. We started out together in 2012 after a conversation occurred between Abi and I that went a bit like this:

Abi:                       I want to do a scratch night.
Me:                       I want to do a scratch night.

After the first show we were official. After the second we were well and truly in the honeymoon phase and then BAM… I moved to London like the heartless woman I am and I’m sad to say that after a few tubs of Ben & Jerry’s, countless bottles of red wine and a number of other clichés we were on a break.

Sonia performs at First Draft in 2012

Sonia performs at an early First Draft event

First Draft is all grown up now with a regular slot and themed nights and a second birthday and everything. I have watched from afar as every other month my newsfeed becomes a catalogue of pictures of fun looking people singing and playing and reading and talking and drinking and laughing and crying and drinking and generally having a grand old time in the beloved back room of The Castle Hotel. Oh god. I am the jealous ex. First Draft has moved on and I will be alone forever.

But wait! What’s that? Abi has said I can have a slot at her latest brain child and First Draft’s big sister, Next Draft? EXCUSE ME FOR A MOMENT WHILE I DANCE AROUND MY FLAT JOYOUSLY SINGING I BELIEVE I CAN FLY. I mean, yeah, no worries, that would be cool I guess…

So, I will be performing on 6th May on the second day of Next Draft and I am super mega flipping excited for 2 reasons:

  1. The line up is looking sexy. We’re all in for a treat.
  2. I will be performing my solo show Happy Birthday Without You which actually began as a short sketch, based on fictional performance artist, Violet Fox, at the very first First Draft.

Happy Birthday Without You debuted in London last month and I’m now really happy to be bringing Violet back home to Manchester, where she began. It’s a comedy that explores a growing cultural obsession with autobiography as Violet tells the story of her complicated relationship with her mother through a series of birthday anecdotes, musical interludes and most importantly, cake.

Happy Birthday Without You

Happy Birthday Without You

So do come along to The King’s Arms on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th May for what promises to be two nights of all sorts of wonderful new writing with a cabaret twist. If you need more persuading, listen to Liza.

What good is sitting all alone in your room?

Come hear the music play

Life is a cabaret, old chum


Happy Birthday Without You poster

Happy Birthday Without You

presented by PaperMash Theatre at Next Draft

Violet Fox is an award winning live and visual spoken word vegan solo artist and occasional collaborator. Today is a celebration of every birthday. And you’re invited. Bring beer and bunting and come on a journey through Violet’s childhood of pop tarts, Patti Smith and second hand smoke. In ‘Happy Birthday Without You’ Violet tells the story of her complicated relationship with her mother through a series of birthday anecdotes, musical interludes and cake. Warning: people usually cry.

Age: 16+

Book your tickets for Next Draft here

Sonia is part of newly-formed theatre company, Papermash Theatre. Follow them and Sonia on Twitter for shits and giggles.*

*What a horrible saying. Our sincere apologies.


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