As I’m sure you’ll have gathered, we’re having to postpone our spring events for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemics. Obviously on the one hand we’re gutted about it, but at the same time, it’s clearly the safe and responsible thing to do.

To confirm, the postponed events are as follows:

  • LIVEwire Leeds No.4 with Toria Garbutt and Kevin P. Gilday on Wednesday 1 April
  • Chelping at The Leeds Library with Hollie McNish on Wednesday 22 April
  • LIVEwire Colchester with Luke Wright, Molly Naylor and Maria Ferguson on Wednesday 29 April

At this stage it’s impossible to say when we’ll be able to reschedule these, and as you know, the situation is changing drastically on a daily basis at the moment. My gut instinct would say that these will be in the autumn.

If you’ve bought a ticket for LIVEwire Leeds No.4, you’ll have already received an email from me with your options. I know that The Leeds Library are offering refunds for Chelping ticket holders, and you’ll have to contact Colchester Arts Centre directly regarding LIVEwire there.

As soon as we have a confirmed date for either of these events we’ll announce it, and fingers crossed we’ll be able to celebrate with a nice (safely) packed room!

Finally, an awful lot of artists are suffering really badly as a result of so many event cancellations, so if you can, please support them by buying their merch, sharing their work and maybe event donating to their various pages.

Stay safe and take care,
Matt x

Our final LIVEwire Leeds event of this series takes place on Wednesday 1 April, with Nymphs & Thugs heavyweights Toria Garbutt and Kevin P. Gilday sharing a stage for the first time. Join us at Hyde Park Book Club for an evening of electric spoken word poetry, with open mic hosted by Matt Abbott as usual.

Nymphs & Thugs | LIVEwire Leeds No.4
LIVEwire Leeds No.4 on Wednesday 1 April

Previous LIVEwire Leeds events have included sets from Salena Godden, Nafeesa Hamid, Joelle Taylor, Ollie O’Neill, Louise Fazackerley and Matt Abbott. Packed into the basement at HPBC, it’s rapidly developed a reputation as one of the liveliest and most engaging spoken word nights in Leeds.

Click here for tickets, and click here for the Facebook event.

Toria Garbutt

Toria Garbutt

Toria Garbutt is a poet and educator from Knottingley; a deprived ex-mining town in West Yorkshire. She burst onto the scene in 2014 and instantly made an impact. Her 2016 album Hot Plastic Moon was released to huge acclaim, and followed by Toria’s debut poetry collection The Universe and Me on Wrecking Ball Press in 2018. Toria has spent the last 4 years touring the UK and Europe with Dr John Cooper Clarke.

She was named alongside Raymond Antrobus, Jay Bernard, Theresa Lola and Matt Abbott in a Guardian feature on ‘the rise and rise of the new poets’ in February 2019 and has also featured on BBC Radio 4.

Kevin P. Gilday

Kevin P. Gilday

Kevin P. Gilday is an award-winning writer and spoken word artist from Glasgow, Scotland. He is the curator and co-host of spoken word cabaret Sonnet Youth, a National Theatre of Scotland Breakthrough Writer and a BBC Writersroom Scottish Voice. His hit show Suffering from Scottishness played to critical acclaim at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe – gaining a four star review from The Scotsman, amongst others.

Kevin has performed all over the world, from Hollywood to East Kilbride, including major festivals (BBC 6Music Festival, Glastonbury), Fringes (Edinburgh, Toronto, Vancouver) as well as large scale tours of the UK, Germany, Canada and the US. He has supported artists such as Akala, Saul Williams, Sage Francis, Alabaster DePlume and George the Poet.

He has published four books of poetry, with his most recent – Sad Songs for White Boys – bringing together nearly ten years of work. His debut album under the guise of Kevin P. Gilday & The Glasgow Cross, Experience Essential, was released in 2018 on Iffy Folk Records (Glasgow) and Nymphs & Thugs.

His theatre work has been seen at Oran Mor, Tron Theatre, Assembly Roxy, Lemon Tree, Byre Theatre, Beacon Arts Centre, Village Pub Theatre, Eden Court, The Revue Stage (Vancouver) and Tarragon Theatre (Toronto). He has twice been shortlisted for the Scottish Short Play of the Year Award.

Matt Abbott

Matt Abbott

Matt Abbott is a poet, educator and activist from Wakefield. His debut poetry collection Two Little Ducks explores the working-class Leave vote against the backdrop of his eyewitness accounts from the Calais Jungle. It was published by Verve Poetry Press in October 2018 and accompanied his 22-date UK tour with his one-man show of the same name. The show received a string of 5* and 4* reviews both on that tour and during a full Edinburgh Fringe run in 2017. It was also released as a digital studio album on Nymphs & Thugs.

Matt’s debut kids’ poetry collection A Hurricane in my Head was published by Bloomsbury in July. It was one of National Poetry Day’s selected titles and led to a live appearance on Blue Peter. Matt formed Nymphs & Thugs in 2015 and fronts alternative act Skint & Demoralised. He’s an ambassador for Eureka! The National Children’s Museum and Trinity Homeless Projects, and has shared a stage with names ranging from Paul Weller, The Fall and Sleaford Mods to Sara Pasco, Shappi Khorsandi, Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach.

Open mic

LIVEwire Leeds open mic

There are 6 open mic slots available, each of which are a maximum of 5 minutes in length. These slots are available on a first come, first served basis and can be reserved by emailing We encourage performers from all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

LIVEwire Birmingham took place at The Hippodrome on Saturday 22 February, as part of Verve Poetry & Spoken Word Festival. We had sets from Salena Godden, oakley, Toria Garbutt and Saili Katebe, with Matt Abbott on hosting duties.

These video highlights were filmed and edited by Verse First. Huge thanks to Verve for having us, and to everybody that came along and made it such a special night. Next stop, Essex…

Video produced by Verse First