Hello from Harry!

In case you missed our big announcement at our 3rd birthday party last night – we’re absolutely thrilled to be welcoming poet and producer Harry Jelley as a new member of the First Draft team!

Harry introduces our VAULTS event at the John Rylands Library

Harry introduces our VAULTS event at the John Rylands Library

There’s something special about First Draft. From the first time I went to one of their cabaret nights, all the way up to its third birthday party last night, the atmosphere of encouragement, the sense of curated chaos and, ultimately, enjoyment has always rung through. You’re never quite sure what each performance might be, but you know it’s going to be great. It’s like that heady feeling of putting your hand in a bag of pick’n’mix (and once it actually was when Joy France handed out some Flying Saucers for a poem she timed to the paper melting around the sherbet).

Ever since I watched a man dressed as a red cross, covered in fairy lights, singing half-speed pop songs* on the same bill as sincere, moving poetry and comedy sketches, I felt like this was the night for me. There’s camaraderie in performing at First Draft, one that the whole audience also subscribes to. It feels like we’re all there for creativity’s sake and all want to enjoy ourselves and to entertain/be entertained. It’s a space where people can feel equally comfortable trying something for the first time, polishing something up, or just share their work with like-minded folk. It’s the Manchester performance night equivalent of a good pal that you can have a good meaningful chat or joke around with, and who is always up for going to that party with you.

For all these reasons, I’m so happy to now be able to call myself one of the First Draft crew. After working with Abi and Andrew on the really very successful one off VAULTS event at the John Rylands, I asked if they might need a hand with other events like that and also the regular nights. And – after passing the trials set and the necessary tests – they accepted me onto the team.

It’s an exciting time to join. First Draft is three years old and we’ve put some great ideas together to build on what they’ve already achieved. We’re eyeing up some more one off events in interesting and inspiring places, and making plans for more Next Draft evenings, too. We want to do more wonderful events, but always keep that special First Draft atmosphere and spirit that makes us the unique night we are.

First Draft-ers Andrew and Abi blowing out the candles on our birthday cake

First Draft-ers Andrew and Abi blowing out the candles on our birthday cake


We also announced last night that we’re making a change to the way we run our regular cabaret events. Instead of using themes for each event, we’re asking a performer or creative type to come up with a prompt for all our performers to respond to. We felt it was only right that the first one came from Harry, and you can read his prompt and sign up to perform at our August event here.

Take a look at more photos and tweets from our birthday party last night over on #FirstDraft3

Follow Harry and First Draft on twitter


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