WORLD Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker is taking to the road for his second nationwide solo tour with his new show Unashamed, visiting The Crescent in York on February 8 2023.
After his first tour was extended three times by a combination of popular demand and a global pandemic, followed by asell-out Edinburgh Fringe run for his new show, poet, mathematician, stand-up comedian and writer Baker is undertaking a 31-date tour from September 28 to February 16. Further dates include Left Bank, Leeds, on February 9, with tickets on sale at harrybaker.co
Baker’s bursts of poetry and comedy had been watched by millions online and had allowed him to perform all over the world, until suddenly Covid said No. His knee-jerk reaction was to put out heartfelt poems about missing hugs and to record a German pop music video in his local abandoned playground.
After reviewing loo seats online and writing falafel-based ‘diss’ tracks for radio presenter Chris Evans, he is returning to the stage in his most honest, playful, unashamedly Harry Baker show yet.
“At its heart, my work is all about connecting with people, whether it’s making them laugh, making them cry, or making them think ‘Hey, I didn’t think I liked poetry but this is actually pretty good’,” says Harry, who “writes about important stuff such as hope, dinosaurs and German falafel-spoons”.
“While I tried to make the best of performing online during various lockdowns, there’s only so many clap emojis you can take on Instagram live before you realise it’s not quite the same. “I’m thrilled to be back doing what I love – poems – in the places I love with the people I love (your delightful readers, who will come along after reading this).”
Summing up Unashamed, Baker says: “The show is a celebration of playfulness, the power of creativity to keep you going when your whole world falls apart, and how, if we are brave enough to be vulnerable with one another, we can build ourselves back to our best unashamed versions of ourselves.”
Since Baker became the youngest-ever World Poetry Slam champion in 2012, the past ten years have seen him perform worldwide, from a sold-out Dubai Opera House alongside Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy, to becoming a festival favourite at Glastonbury, Latitude and Bestival.
Rising to the top of the British rap battle scene, he has become a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause For Thought, while his work has been shared on TED.com, seen by ten million people and translated into more than 20 different languages.
He has toured the UK and featured on The Russell Howard Hour as one half of the comedy-rap-jazz duo Harry and Chris (with songwriter Chris Read) and has appeared on the BAFTA-winning Sky TV show Life And Rhymesalongside Benjamin Zephaniah.
The 2022-2023 tour is accompanied by the release of Baker’s second poetry collection, also called Unashamed. Published by Burning Eye on October 6, it comprises poems from his latest show and the previous I Am 10,000, his celebration of the crossover between mathematics and poetry that toured the UK over three years, culminating in a run at Soho Theatre in March 2022.
Publisher Clive Birnie says: “We are thrilled to have Harry back with a new book. We are celebrating ten years of publishing this year and having our top-selling author back with a new title is the perfect way to crown ten years in business. We expect this one to outsell Harry’s first book, The Sunshine Kid.” Copies are on sale at gigs, all good bookshops and via harrybaker.co.
Harry Baker’s York gig will be presented by spoken-word musketeers Say Owt; doors open at 7.30pm; box office: thecrescentyork.seetickets.com or harrybaker.co.