The current incarnation of Pen:Chant is the brainchild of Manchester resident and poetry slam champ Ben Mellor, who crafts a bi-monthly cabaret night bringing together poets, leftfield musicians, comedians and all-round entertainers. It’s a format which crams talent into a night-long programme, rather than relying solely on a headliner and a couple of warm-up acts.

Having featured mainly locally-based creatives from its November 2013 inception, in 2016 Pen:Chant stepped up its game with the support of Arts Council England. Over the past year, the event has staged some of the country’s finest performers, including Soweto Kinch, Bellatrix, Harry Baker, Laurie Bolger, Scott Tyrell and Jess Green. These touring acts are joined by some of Manchester’s best-loved, recently featuring Norris & Parker, Jason Singh, Julie E Gordon and Gein’s Family Giftshop.

Even with its all-star line-ups, its roots remain embedded in the accessible, offering open mic slots at each show and attracting raconteurs, authors, performance poets and acapella acts.

Deliberately adopting a nomadic approach to booking events, previous Pen:Chants have taken place across the City, with venues including the Contact Theatre, Gullivers, Three Minute Theatre and Gorilla.