Bill Bryson, Dr Alice Roberts and Bellinis!


Vintage Literary London. Nick Hennegan attends the London Welcome Foundations Book Awards ceremony in 2015. He gets to eat and drink quite a lot and talk to a few people, including TV presenter Alice Roberts and the legendary writer, Bill Bryson! 

Send in a voice message:

Poetry Takeaway after the A.C.E. People Place Power conference

Robert Garnham of The Poetry Takeaway shared this poem at the end of the first day of the Arts Council of England’s three day online conference, People Place Power.

This urge to create, to make art, to fight back

When misfortune lumbers in like a disgruntled yak,

Comes from deep within, like a duck with its quack.

If art is rain then you’d better wear a Mack

Because the forecast says it’s gonna pour.

This is what living is for.


It comes from your heart, to take part and make art, 

Express yourself, get a grip, make a start,

Record your progress on a spreadsheet, on a graph, on a chart 

Like a spur of the moment bard with culture to impart

Hearing poetry sublime pound on their door.

This is what living is for.


Hooray for the facilitators, the makers, the risk takers.

Hooray for the timid reaching out with quivering fingertips.

Hooray for courtesy, diversity, a refusal to go into reversity.

Hooray for calls on zoom, connection chat rooms, Donna Walker-Kuhne.

Hooray for those who create bravely not telling a soul.

Hooray for refusing to part art in a box, withstanding knocks, Kate Fox.

Hooray for sharing ideas, dispelling fears, speeding up and changing gears.

Hooray for theatre goes, audience growers, feather boas.

Hooray for audience trails, occasional fails, increased ticket sales.

Hooray for feeling free, community, CPP, a mid afternoon cup of tea.

Hooray for roads with forks, champagne corks, a sudden mention of Chesney Hawkes.

Hooray for the thrill which comes when seeing the smile of someone who has danced for the very first time.

Hooray for happy faces, artistic spaces, Creative People and Places. 

Hooray for audience data, content creators, I got a chocolate biscuit for later. 

Hooray for the bravery of telling people for the first time,

I have made some art,

Hooray for taking part.


This gathering of souls devoted

To the furtherance of expression

Brings to light the human need to

Find freedom of thought

Through cultural practice,

Change through words, images, sounds,

Movement and joy,

Community togetherness and

Shared understanding.


Practitioners, producers, promoters, programmers, people of art.

Be a beacon for the possible.

Be a conduit for expression.

Be the curious, be the brave, be yourselves.

Be alive

And continue

To let art thrive.

Caroline Flack and Internet Kindness Day.

Tues 9th November is Internet Kindness Day, commemorating what would have been the birthday of TV presenter Caroline Flack. Nick Hennegan talks to author Lucy Beresford about how we can all be nicer to each other and mark the day.

Podcast: Caroline Flack and Internet Kindness Day.


Tues 9th November is Internet Kindness Day, commemorating what would have been the birthday of TV presenter Caroline Flack. Nick Hennegan talks to author Lucy Beresford on Resonance 104.4fmabout how we can all be nicer to each other and mark the day.

See the live video at  — Send in a voice message:


Birmingham – King City! Audio Podcast


Nick Hennegan and writer Stephen Pennell talk all things Birmingham and particularly the city’s unique music scene featured in his new book, King City.

See the Video Version here — Send in a voice message:


‘The Shark Is Broken’ Review – Podcast.


Nick Hennegan reviews a polished pearl of a production at the Ambassadors Theatre, London. — Send in a voice message:


See other post for written transciption

West End Shark Warning!

The cast of The Shark is Broken.

REVIEW: The Shark is Broken by Ian Shaw and Joseph Nixon

Bo-ho rating. 5 out of 5! 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 Bo-ho Heaven.

Ambassadors Theatre, London.

The Shark might be Broken, but nothing else is in this petite, polished pearl of a new play in the West End of London. 

It’s 1974 in Martha’s Vineyard and this is the story of an episode during the making of one of the most successful films of all time – Jaws, Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of Peter Blenchley’s book. The broken shark in the title refers to Bruce – the name give to all three of the mechanical sharks made for the movie. (Bruce was also apparently the name of Spielbergs lawyer!) Due to frequent mechanical shark breakdowns, three very different actors are thrown together in the tiny cabin of the boat featured in the film, The Orca, for some two months longer than they expected, or wanted, to have to tolerate each other. Cold, bleak days roll into each other and tensions mount, self-doubts set-in and actors’ egos clash as youthful insecurity rubs-up against jaded experience.

With full disclosure, I am friends with most of the ‘Shark’ team. We were performing next door to each other at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 with my productions, Romeo and Juliet and P.A.L.S.  I’d even had a discussion with writer and star Ian Shaw – son of Robert Shaw – about how wise or otherwise it is to present our real lives, even dramatised, on stage. Although, there is a difference between presenting the story of his world-famous Dad, and the four working-class kids I presented on stage with PALS!

But if anything, my familiarity with the project has made this production even more impressive. Yes, I’d seen it in previews in Edinburgh two years ago and I know the guys, but the constraints of Edinburgh, both in terms of running time and limited technical facilities, make this new production all the more impressive. 

For a start – it looks fantastic! The projection and lighting turns designer Duncan Henderson’s Boat into an extra character and gives complete context to the scene changes. The play is also some 20 minutes longer than the Edinburgh offering and although less is usually more, in this case, the action and relationships are  much better served. Director Guy Masterson finds all the right beats and accelerations and every moment with the fractious three and their nautical cabin fever feels completely true.  Or at least the fractious two. Demetri Goritsas plays Roy Schrider playing Chief Brody, a more calming influence than the hard-drinking Robert Shaw, played by Ian Shaw, his son, playing Quince and Liam Murray Scott, playing a young and idealistic Richard Dreyfus, playing Hooper. But the performances are also flawless, from Ian finding his Dad’s vocal intonations and rhythm, to Liam’s brilliant, leg smacking, coke-fuelled  Dreyfus excitement to Demetri’s measured and timely interventions. 

To be honest, this could have been a talking-heads disaster. But these are not impersonations in the traditional sense, although Robert Shaw lives again, thanks to Ian. And perhaps the greatest compliment to Shaw and Nixon’s script and the whole production is that you don’t really even need to have seen the film Jaws to appreciate this little nugget of aspiration, frustration and resolution. The one-act, 90 minutes will fly by. And you will want to see the film again. The Shark May Be Broken, but this Boat is Floating. Jump aboard while you still can.

Showbiz Lockdown Books.

The lockdown had a devastating effect on theatre. This week, Nick Hennegan talks to two theatre workers at the Chiswick Book Festival, John Griffiths and Nick Bromley who, devastated by the lockdown, were motivated to write and publish books –  proving there’s no business like show-business! 

Photo by cottonbro on

London Writers… Focus on Fitzrovia Nick Hennegan's Bohemian Britain

Nick Hennegan looks at the famous writers and locations of Fitzrovia, London W1. — Send in a voice message:
  1. London Writers… Focus on Fitzrovia
  2. In Conversation with 'Call the Midwife' creator, Heidi Thomas.
  3. 5 Minutes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  4. Dylan Thomas Day.
  5. Welsh Holiday Stories.