Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Sunday, 2 April 2017

20.17 Blog #9: 6 Things I Learnt From Vandal Raptor


So this week I presented my solo show, Whatever Happened To Vandal Raptor, at York Theatre Royal.  The show’s been in the works for a year, and I’m incredibly proud of the final product.  My first ever solo show which doesn’t just exist as a set of poems, but a full narrative story.  First show with entirely new material.  Far from extinct, VR will have a life beyond the walls of YTR’s Studio.

But, because this is the Internet, I have borrowed from Buzzfeed to neatly summarise some of the lessons learnt from this process, production and pretending to be a dinosaur.

You Can’t Prepare Enough

Like a clock ticking down until a detonation, I was very much aware once we hit the rehearsal process there would be little time for my other projects.  This meant my podcast didn’t have a new update for a while, but it also meant I got all my sessions for the Youth Theatre groups I run written up in good time.  We did a Big Shop of food.  As a freelancer, you often have the luxury of dictating your own timetable, but in this instance your timetable dictates you.

DIY lesson:  When you have no manager, you have to make sure your time is manageable.

The Writer Is Not The Editor

It’s hard for me to think of a poem as finished.  Partly because I enjoy tweaking for specific audiences, updating references or changing due to changing attitudes.  I also enjoy adding spicy spontaneity.  But many times during the process, I wanted to change lines, sometimes for the best to make something clearer, often because I worried about the meaning of the scene.  But there’s got to a be a point where the show is the show because the script is the script.

DIY lesson:  Just because you have the ownership over the script doesn’t mean you can control the script.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

A solo show doesn’t necessarily mean you work alone.  A running gag has been the fact I’m an Only Child, and I don’t like sharing.  But I can’t express how much I love the bunch of people that offered their support.  Simon Bolly and Emily Rowan of Flora Greysteel for their advice on loop pedals, Jonny Gill for lending me equipment, John Holt Roberts for giving me some much-needed guitar lessons, for Hannah Davies, Dave Jarman and Jack Dean for coming into the rehearsals and watching a run.  To all the folks at York Theatre Royal, especially Juliet Forster, for their support.  For everyone that shared on social media, that came and everyone that couldn’t make it but wished me all their best.  Although, as an only child, I’m totally not prepared to share my toys, I would like to share my undying, eternal, unyielding and unending gratitude and hope I can return the favour somehow.

DIY lesson:  Punk is not, as Mr Lydon seems to think, about pissing people off.  It’s about building community.

Advertising your Marketing and Market your Adverts

I never studied publicity, I have just learnt it from doing gigs and events over the years, and I’ve far from perfected it.  My Facebook page has over 900 Likes, and the event I co-run, Say Owt, often sells between 60-90 tickets.  We plugged the show through these networks.  We had a feature in York Press, were in the York Lit Fest programme as well as the York Theatre Royal brochure.  We exit flyered punk shows, Josie Long and other York Lit events.  We didn’t get terrible audiences, but we could have done with more.  Was it the price (standard for theatre, not so much for poetry/music).  Was it the blurb?  Was it just too niche?  Things to think about.

DIY lesson:  It’s easy to be stuck inside your own world of punk, protest and dinosaurs, but you still need to make that madcap world accessible.

No Gods, No Masters, Yes To Quatermasters

On this project I worked with director Natalie Quatermass.  There’s no way in the 7 Hells that this show would even exist without Natalie’s ability to keep the cast on track (me) but also make sure the subject matter (kinda me) was heartfelt, well-paced, dynamic and had the true spirit of vital story-telling.  Natalie’s passion for making a strong, exiting piece of theatre is at the heart of this production.

DIY lesson:  Make work with your mates.

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