Grab-a-Poet with Toby Thompson

Grab-a-Poet with Toby Thompson

150 150 Ventnor Fringe

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you’re doing at Fringe this year?

My name’s Toby Thompson and I am performing three times a day for half an hour at a time in this caravan, to audiences of up to 5.

So I’m doing that Tuesday to Sunday, and then on Sunday evening I’m doing a show with Dizraeli at the secret venue, who’s a good friend of mine and an inspiration really.

What are you doing with Dizreali?

I think we’ve got just an hour long show together so I imagine I’ll do half an hour and he’ll do half an hour.

How long have you been performing for?

About seven years now I think, doing this kind of thing. So I’m 22 now and I started when I was about 15. Yeah so quite a long time.

Have you performed at Fringe before?

Yeah this is my third time and so it’s a home from home almost now. I’ve been here four times actually, I did another event that wasn’t during the summer, I couldn’t come last year because I was at Edinburgh Fringe doing a show.

What have you been working on between each Fringe?
Various things. So I’m always just kind of writing my own poems and then last autumn I did a show, I was commissioned to write one for the Royal & Derngate in Northampton which was performed on the centenary of a particular battle during the First World War which was in Northampton. Northampton had su ered, by far, the greatest losses in this particularly tragic battle. So it was an hours’ worth of poetry and we had a little orchestra and that was probably the biggest piece of work, the biggest undertaking that I’ve taken on as far as writing and performing goes. There were lots of other festivals over the summer, I went to Zimbabwe and did a few gigs for the International festival out there, and commissions for people. 

That’s amazing! Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from, I don’t know, it’s a hard question. I think just from feelings, I feel. Music plays a massive part in it, I always write to music so I doubt any of the poems that I’ve got at the moment would exist if it weren’t for the songs I was listening to when I wrote them. So music is de nitely completely vital to, well my whole life, but de nitely to the writing process. And then just the kind of feelings and thoughts that I have day- to-day, the conversations that I have with people. This feels like a really nice way of letting that out into the world and kind of delving into it further, it feels like it’s partly to do with documenting things that I have learnt and it’s partly learning more through the process of writing.

Can you improvise a short poem about Ventnor quickly? It doesn’t have to be long! Haha! I’m not sure if I can you know, I take months to write my poems. Every one takes ve or six weeks. Um…

“Ventnor is a beautiful place to be,

I love my walk to work

Along past the glittering blue sea,

To the caravan,

It’s nice to be me.”

Catch Toby Thompson at the Parkside venue Friday and Saturday, 2, 2:30 & 6pm. 

by Hollie Hayes

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