Curtain raisers for Stratford

oi oi savoloy 



Until You Hear That Bell is coming to Stratford Circus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This is the show’s third London run. The first at the Battersea Arts Centre for a three week run last June, the second at the Albany Theatre in February this year, and after a five month tour of boxing gyms, community centres, schools and some very lovely homely theatres- it’s finally back in London.

After all that you think I would’ve found a decent abbreviation for Until You Hear That Bell or it’s other names people have called it like Until You Hear a Bell or When A Bell Rings or Until The Bell Tolls or (this one came last Tuesday) Saved By The Bell.

I’m very glad that I love this show. If there was ONE moment of this play that I didn’t like, that I’d have to peform over, and over and over and over again I think I’d not only feel tired after the show, but sad. Instead I get this cool feeling after (or sometimes during) the play I’ll think “Man. This play is sick to the ick” and it has me carry my stage across the country with pride.

So yes, I am still proud of the show- but- for Stratford Circus, I want to do something different. I want curtain raisers. I feel like I wanted to justify the reason why I wanted them in the previous three paragraphs- I haven’t done that- so lets just say I really rate these writers and want Stratford Circus to see them.

Miss Jacqui.
I THINK the first time I saw Miss Jacqui perform was at Tobi’s night at the BAC- where she was introduced to me as Rhythm of Men’s manager. I was like- kay cool you’re a manager. Then she actually jumped on the open mic- and was good! I think the poem was called Fireworks in the day. I was like- kay cool you’re a good poet too. I’ll remember that. 


Rhythm of Men (RoM) BLEW UP. BOOM. Seemed to get booked for everything. Forget What You Heard-RoM. Southbank cetnre- RoM. That really sick night at Boxpark, Shoreditch- RoM. Other less significant nights, RoM. My timeline, RoM. RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM RoM

Of course it’s great that these three incredibly talented young men getting booked is a great thing in itself, but an even bigger plus was that I actually got to see more of Jacqui perform. I kept seeing her perform new pieces, some involving singing, some more focused on page poetry and when it was a piece I’d seen before, you could tell she had worked on it, performed it, knew it better. I was like- kay cool you’re actually next level. Yomi and I booked her for our birthday special with Peter Hayhoe and Mara Ferguson and Jacqui killed it. she got the audience to sing with her, I think she got them to stand up or something too? Either way- she was the stand out performer of the night.
I love her. We love her. Trust me, you'll love her.
Here's a sick poem hers you'll love it.


Michael Elcock.
Remember that group Miss Jacqui looks after? Rhythm of Men? yeah- he’s in that group. Those guys. I was a little skeptical of Rhytm of Men when I first heard of them. My line of thinking was “Who are these guys that are interrupting Omar” and also, I was just a bit of a wanker and had forgotten how much I loved Def Jam poetry growing up (which was in fact my first real introduction to poetry. Shout out to Shihan. Real eyes reaLise)

This was also way back when Boxedin was struggling. We had just finished our first year and were only really bringing people in off Yomi’s name and after months of cancelling the night and it being moved to so many different places with boxpark- even Yom’s seal of approval was starting to dwindle. 

We decided to give Boxedin one more push. Just to really see if can be a great night. It was in the March of 2013- We booked Kat Francois (Yomi), Rhythm of Men (Yomi), Shortman (Yomi) and Paul Cree (ME).
It really was our first great night and the stars of the show were Rhythm of Men. They absolutely stormed the stage- each one of them not only felt like they loved what they were doing, but they had love for each other and it was a v v special thing to watch.
Okay- sorry I’m not really chatting about Michael. I’ve since learned from watching Rhythm of men that each one has a very different writing style not only to the group they’re in, but to each other. Basically- I’ve got a bit of a gist thattttttt Russeni is a supreme storyteller- the type of storyteller that’s been around as long as time itself- it’s like he talks fables. It’s sick.

Omar is Omar, just pure love manifested into human form.

And Michael- like- a writer. the first time I actually realised how good Michael is was at a Barbican Young Poets showcase where, befoe the poem he did his Kanye West’s dance from that four five seconds song with Rihanna. It was super jokes, everyone laughed and I wonder now if he did that cos he knew his piece of writing contained absolutely no showmanship. It was a poem about traits, about family, about what gets passed down to who and unconditional love. It was beautiful and honestly I wanted Michael to peform because I know he’s an actor that could do well to chat to SC but also, I really want to see him perform more!
Here's a video of him. Sound isn't great. That's on purpose. You'll get that HIGH QUALITY audio experience with the Stratford Circus acoustics.


Phoebe Wagner.
Phoebe is as smart as she is subtle. She has a poem told through a childs eyes and not once does she stray from this childs view, like a man in his house who doesn’t take off shoes, and looking up from the back of the car window, watching her perform this piece, I kept waiting for her to break into a diferent view but she never did. On top of that, the piece was heartbreaking in completely different ways- like- the fact it was from a childs pov wasn’t even the focal point (even though it was) (even though it wasn’t) (even though it was too)

Again, I met her at Boxedin and although the first time I saw her I just thought I was watching someone with a decent poem, as the weeks went on her poem stuck in my head. All I can remember now is that it was about a nurse and it also had something to do with time. I really liked it. I tink it’s a bit silly to talk about writers so early into their time as writers but I think she’s really talented at making characters and doesn’t seem too concerened about making her the main character in her work- which is a definite trend- which isn’t bad or good- it’s just cool to see her do something a little different.

She’s in the Spare The Poets collectice which is FILLED with incredible writers. They’re also sick at creating group pieces too. 

Oh hey I just found a video of the poem I was talking about AND it's a performance at Boxedin! WHAT A COINCIDENCE


So yeah. Really happy with these three. I’m really happy to be doing the show this week too. I feel like the show now has a great reputation but it definitely hasn’t been picked up by any mainstream press, so as much as I’d love to just do nothing and perform- I need to keep pushing on facebook, twitter and Instagram. Because it’s live art, soon this show will be basically dead. One day I’ll be too old to do it, or unfit, or it’ll feel too far away from where I am at that moment for it to be a decent performance. 

So please- you don’t need to share this or anything- or post on facebook- but if you know anyone that would be interested in watching a show about boxing, family and trying to figure shit out- tell a mate.

Safe one.