In From The Cold

Abi Hynes blogs about what’s next for First Draft, how lucky we are to be part of Manchester’s live literature scene, and our wintry call-out for creative submissions.

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It’s been a really lovely year for us at First Draft. So lovely, in fact, that in lieu of my usual Christmas/birthday moan, I’ve decided to blog about something a bit more celebratory. So – here’s a little look back on the year we’ve had – and a taster of what we’re hoping will happen next.

It’s no secret that Manchester is a very special place to be at the moment if you’re wading the waters of live literature. We try and keep up to date with new nights and collectives as they spring up, and this year we’ve been especially enjoying new kids on the block Flim Nite and Speak Easy. The fact that this city can support so many different literature events makes it an absolute treasure trove of advice, support, networking and – importantly – friendship between creative folk of all shapes and sizes. If you haven’t had a listen already, you can get some insight into just how lucky we are to be part of this buzzing scene over on the new (and brilliant) End of All Things podcast.

Keisha Thompson performing at VAULTS in the John Rylands Library

Keisha Thompson performing at VAULTS in the John Rylands Library

No small amount of credit is due to this city’s wider creative community when it comes to what we’ve achieved at First Draft this year, and to all those who’ve supported us and got involved, we are very grateful. Since this time last year, we’ve celebrated our 3rd birthday, at which we raised money for our friends at Deafway. We’ve showcased brand new fiction, poetry, drama, music and comedy, both at our regular events and online via our blog. We also held our brilliant VAULTS event at The John Rylands Library, off the back of which we invited the wonderful Harry Jelley to join the ranks of the First Draft team.

So I’m very proud of the things we’ve done this year, and I’d like 2016 to be EVEN BETTER. We’ve got some very exciting plans in the pipeline for one-off events that we’re looking forward to telling you all about soon. And (along with plenty of other event organisers in Manchester), we’ve been thinking a lot about the diversity (or lack of) in our brilliant live literature scene, and how we can work on this. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve about how we might make a start, and what we can do to really commit to making our events as welcoming to as many people as possible as both audiences and performers. We don’t want to leave anybody out in the cold. Watch this space.

Ronnie Leek performing at one of our regular cabaret nights at The Castle Hotel

Ronnie Leek performing at one of our regular cabaret nights at The Castle Hotel

In the meantime, you may have heard that we’re teaming up with wonderful creative non-fiction (that’s ‘true stories based on real life’, for those who haven’t heard the phrase before) night The Real Story for our December event. It’s on Monday 21 December, at our regular haunt at The Castle Hotel, and it’s called The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas (geddit?). We’re planning some fun and games throughout December (keep an eye out for #TheNightBeforeX4). And we’re almost ready to announce our truly fantastic line up of performers, but to give you just a little teaser… The hosts of the two nights are planning a bit of a switch up – with truth tellers Kate Feld and Nija Dalal-Small bringing us some fiction and poetry, and Harry and I getting to grips with some REAL LIFE STORIES THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN OUR ACTUAL REAL LIVES. I am terrified.

Gareth Cutter performing at our August event: All Shoved Together

Gareth Cutter performing at our August event: All Shoved Together

And finally – while we’re busy getting ourselves in a festive frenzy for the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties, we want to hear from creative folks across Manchester and beyond, through a more general winter-themed call-out. Whether you’ve performed for us heaps of times before or this is the first you’ve heard of us – take a little look here, and see if you fancy getting involved.

Call for submissions – In From The Cold

This winter, we want you to tell us a story. As a bit of a tonic for all the festive cheer we’re going to inundate you with at our December event, we’d like to hear your wintry stories that are definitely not about Christmas, and in some way respond to the theme ‘In From The Cold’.

You might want to show us snow-covered landscapes, or tell us a story about forgiveness. It might be about a homecoming, or a realisation, a promise, or a prophecy that finally came true. Tell us the lesser-told stories of huddling together for warmth, to help get us through the bleak midwinter.

Your story can be real or fictional, poetry or prose, funny or serious… and you can share it in any form you like: you can write it down, you can send us a piece of artwork, or record us something as a sound or video file.

If you’re interested in contributing, get in touch, and we’ll arrange to publish your winter’s tale on our blog over the next couple of months.

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Links to more stuff

We’re not the only ones getting in the festive spirit with some live literature this December. Take a look at the Bad Language Christmas Party on 12 December, and keep an eye out for a festive Tales of Whatever on the 16th. There are bound to be more – if we’ve missed your event, feel free to post a link to it in the comments below.

Read more posts from Abi on the First Draft blog or follow her on Twitter

Take a look at some of the guest blog posts we published last Christmas from some of our favourite First Draft performers

Follow @FirstDraftMcr on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of what we’re up to

Don’t forget to join us for The Night Before X 4!

Becky Wilkie performing her set at our Haunted event in October

Becky Wilkie performing her set at our Haunted event in October


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