The popular Manchester cabaret showcase Pen:Chant is to finish its year of memorable line-ups with a bang, picking out the twin talents of Bethlehem Casuals and Laurie Bolger to perform at Gullivers. They follow in the musical, literary and comic footsteps of highly praised performances by the likes of Soweto Kinch, Bellatrix, Harry Baker and Norris & Parker.

Chiming their chords for Christmas is the seasonally named Bethlehem Casuals, a band whose riotous, reggae-flecked rhythms earned them a warm-up slot for Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at last month’s Fiesta Bombarda carnival. Having met at the RNCM, their musical dexterity is beyond doubt and their shared passion for good-time vibes a perfect winter warmer, jingling all the way from klezmer to gypsy folk, remaining forever funky.

Joining them is Laurie Bolger, a London Laureate and the self-proclaimed Notorious PMT, who makes the trip north for winter clutching Box Rooms, her debut anthology of poems, endearing wit, humorous reflections of modern 20-something life and personalised kitchen sink dramas. The stage is her home, whether hosting London’s accessible spoken word night BANG Said The Gun or performing as poet in residence at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, while she also spreads the word of performance poetry via workshops, radio shows and festivals.

Viral video poet Hollie McNish is quoted saying she’d like to jump into Bolger’s poems – “I imagine it’d be lovely and warm in there” – and we can all join her at Gullivers on Thursday 8 December, as she returns to Greater Manchester after a rapturously received set at Salford’s Evidently.

Pen:Chant’s events are also renowned for their high-quality open mic interludes, which established acts have jumped on as the perfect opportunity to try new material, as well as some of the best new poets, comics and acappella acts to stride Manchester’s stages.


The Xmas Pen:Chant takes place at Gullivers from 7.30pm on Thursday 8 December, 2016.

Tickets are available here, from £5 (skinted) to £11 (minted).

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