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We will be working closely with Rory through his rehearsal and production process, to bring Rory’s brilliant long narrative poem to life.

Rory’s process will be enriched by the presence of a strong creative team: Director/ Dramaturg Cheryl Martin, Movement Director Chris Brown, Sound Composer Blythe Pepino, and Performer/Poet Kate Ireland. This Town has also been made possible through public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 

Read on to learn more about Rory and the show. 

Rory, tell us more about yourself and your work!  

My name is Rory Aaron, I’m a former teacher and youth worker. In 2020, I was a part of the BBC New Creatives scheme in 2020, and I am currently part of Soutbank’s 2022 New Poets Collective.  

I published my first poetry collection, Doglike, with Bearded Badger Press, and have a new book coming out with Verve Press in 2023. My work often explores issues such as class, mental health, PTSD, and friendship. This Town is my first theatre show.  

Watch Rory’s BBC New Creatives performance of Doglike here. 

Why do you want to make This Town?  

After publishing Doglike with Bearded Badger, I received an Arts Council project grant to go back home, and create a city wide anthology of young writers, during this period, Inspired by the conversations I was having with the young people in these sessions, I began to write a long narrative poem called Within These Cobbled Streets, which reflected on my own experience of growing up in Derby, and the towns to the north.  

The poem is about seven thousand words long, and in it you meet about seven different characters whose lives all intertwine. When Contact and Derby commissioned the piece, I felt it was such an exciting opportunity to bring some of the characters to life.   

What’s This Town about?  

Within These Cobbled Streets, is quite a serious poem. It looks at class anger, mental health, PTSD and small cities and towns are often forgotten about. It analyses how the British Army often recruits from low income areas, and whilst it doesn’t judge anyone who joins the army, it does question the ethics of this practice. I felt the theatre show provided the space to explore the city in a slightly different way.  

The two person play looks at Dean and Sarah, two characters who are meeting back in their favourite pub for the first time in years. Whilst it still discusses the above themes, It’s filled with hilarious and outrageous stories of their childhood/teenage years (fiction I promise!) and songs that will make you wrap your arms around total strangers and sing your heart out.  

Most of all the play is an admission that sometimes life can be tough, and memories can be both beautiful and difficult at the same time.  

About This Town  

“This is for those from the far off towns that nobody’s heard of. Who sit on busses rolling backwards out of cities and watch everything fall into silence.” 

This Town is a modern-day epic narrative poem, performed and written by exciting new talent Rory Aaron (BBC New Creatives, Southbank Poetry Collective). An ode to home, This Town uses powerful spoken word to transport us to a post-industrialised landscape, weaving together stories of loss, PTSD, and friendship.  

Written and Performed by: Rory Aaron

Director: Cheryl Martin 

Producer: Roxy Moores for Contact 

Performer: Kate Ireland

Composer: Blythe Pepino 

Movement Director: Chris Brown 

Commissioned by Contact and Derby Theatre. Supported by public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.  

Tickets for This Town will be on sale Friday 13 January 2023.   

Future commissioning opportunities with Contact will be made public in Spring 2023- watch this space.  

About Rory Aaron 

“Exceptional.” The Mancunian Review 

 “A deeply resonant and engaging presence on screen” Loran Dunn 

“When he graces the stage he is full of endearing energy.” Keisha Thompson 

Rory Aaron is a poet, lyricist and creative practitioner, who has recently had his first collection, ‘Doglike’ published by Bearded Badger Publishers, and is part of the BBC New Creatives Scheme. Through his writing, he explores themes such as mental health, class, industrialisation and the changing landscape of modern cities. He has also been part of a number of cross-art performances such as BREATHE with Manchester International Festival and VAM with Partisan Collective. Rory also specialises in working with young people from Working Class communities and supporting them to develop their own creative practice and social change projects. 

Learn more about Rory here