Letters on Nocturnal Magic

Join us for the next in our series of events in museums and libraries as part of our major project, Let The Artists In!


Letters on Nocturnal Magic

at The Portico Library

Thursday 1 November

Doors open 6.30pm, performances start at 7pm

Tickets: £10 / £7 concessions


Nocturnal Letters poster

“She was one day coming homeward, when there met her a spirit or devil in the shape of a boy. He bade her stay, saying to her that if she would give him her soul, she should have anything she would request…”

First Draft have commissioned a line up of talented artists to create new performances inspired by the library’s mysterious collection of books on the occult. Throughout the evening, they’ll take you into a world of witches and necromancers, demons and magicians, and ghostly apparitions bringing warnings from beyond the grave.

Don’t miss this special Halloween evening of cabaret at the atmospheric Portico Library – one of Manchester’s most beautiful hidden gems.

*Please note: Unfortunately, as a Grade II listed building, The Portico Library does not currently have fully step-free access – please get in touch if you would like to use the stairlift to access the event.

Line up of performers

Rishi Dastidar
A member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by Financial Times, New Scientist and the BBC amongst many others. His debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018.

The Delightful Sausage
Comedians Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill combine to become surreal sketch double act, The Delightful Sausage. Known for their enviable gag-rate and use of unsettling multimedia, the duo have quickly established themselves on the circuit. The Guardian listed their last show as one of the ‘Best Shows of the Fringe’.

Kate Feld
Kate Feld is a journalist, lecturer and writer of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. She runs the Manchester-based creative non-fiction night The Real Story, and her work has been published widely by The Stinging Fly, Neon Magazine, Unthank Books, The Lonely Crowd, and many more.

Shagufta Iqbal
An award-winning artist and poet, Shagufta Iqbal is one of the most talked about performers in the region. Her poetry collection, Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam, published with Burning Eye Books, has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla (editor of the 2016 best-selling ‘The Good Immigrant’) as ‘a social political masterclass in its exploration of cities, cultures, race, food and family’.

low cinnabar
low cinnabar is a folk, blues and electronica artist based in Manchester. With a distinctive voice, they craft strange fragments of story through synths, gameboy emulators, phone software and old-fashioned finger-picked guitar. You can find them at @low_cinnabar, and listen to their music at low-cinnabar.bandcamp.com or soundcloud.com/low_cinnabar.

Trisha Starbrook
Writer and short story slam winner Trisha Starbrook has given memorable performances at First Draft events and been a special guest host many times over the last few years. She excels at spooky tales and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with this Halloween!

Paula Varjack
Paula Varjack is an artist working in video and performance. Her work explores identity, communities, and making the invisible visible. Her show Show Me The Money explored making a living as an artist in the U.K. based on interviews with artists across the country. Her latest show, The Cult of K*NZO, a playful critique of consumer culture and high fashion, tours next spring.

Digital commissions

If you can’t make the event – don’t despair! We’ve also got a spooky digital commission that will be published on our website.

Joe Cooper
Joe is a writer and performer and pizza-maker from Barnsley. In the last few years he has headlined the odd poetry night, made sad interactive performances about popular movies, and dressed up as an octopus for some unimpressed children.