Manchester Open 2020 Meet the Artist: Rosa Wright

This week we meet Rosa Wright, one of the artists featured in the Spoken Word and Performance category of the Manchester Open. Based in Salford, Rosa describes herself as “a poet, performer and professional weirdo”.

When did you first take up art? What’s your artistic background?

I’ve been acting since I was a kid and have always written, mostly poetry but also songs and short stories. I spent my life in drama classes and school plays, including the Edinburgh Fringe when I was 17, and when I was 19 my friend took me to my first poetry gig. Before that I had only really seen poetry in books or as part of GCSEs – it really opened my eyes when I realised there was a place for me to perform my stuff. I started at an open mic when I was at uni in York which led to a regular slot at a local bar alongside some musicians and magicians. I then moved to Salford in 2013 bringing my poetry with me – I’ve appeared at loads of events across Greater Manchester, progressing from open miker to headliner.

I also started working with a couple of events companies as a character actor (and even occasionally a dancer!) and running the open mic down south at Buddhafield and Woman Fest. I wrote and performed my first solo show The Love Calculator at the 2018 Manchester Fringe and was nominated for the Best Spoken Word award, after which I was invited to run a spoken word workshop for the Manchester Hive. I’ve also done a bit of community theatre and voice work.

How did you feel when you found out you had been chosen for the Manchester Open?

I was absolutely elated – it’s a massive boost to my confidence and an amazing opportunity to showcase my work. I’m so excited!!!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Mostly crap boyfriends and long-lost loves (the more tragic the better) but I also go for politics, social issues or an experience I’m trying to make sense of – any people, places and things that provoke strong feelings! I trained as a nurse and social worker and am currently training to be a psychotherapist, which means I get the privilege of being in settings many people never see, listening to stories most people never hear. Each one is a gift and sometimes something or someone makes me feel so much I have to capture it – those are the really special poems.

What do you think art brings to your life?

The opportunity to turn everything into a gift. Plus I like an excuse to dress up.

Which artist(s) do you admire?

In terms of poetry I proper love Craig Charles, Pablo Neruda and Michael Rosen – there’s also some wicked local talent in Broccan Tyszack-Carling and Paul Jenkins, plus my southern ladies Sally-Shakti Willow and Glittermouse. I also draw lots of inspiration from comedians like Guz Khan, Limmy, Victoria Wood and Peter Kay and I read a lot of memoirs – the thing that links all of them is finding your own authentic voice and realising that success is totally possible, no matter where you’ve come from.

Tell us an interesting story about yourself & your work:

Last year I did some community theatre in The Salford Docker with Salford Community Theatre and from that did a couple of events MCing for Jeremy Corbyn. Ended up having a curry with him afterwards – nice bloke.

Rosa’s performances “Wobblygob” and “The Doctor” are featured in The Manchester Open 2020 at HOME.

For more previews of Rosa’s work, check out her Youtube and Soundcloud channels.


Although the Manchester Open Exhibition had to close a few weeks early due to the coronavirus outbreak, you can still enjoy lots of the artworks and find out more about the artists online by clicking here for our specially curated look at the exhibition’s highlights. 

This is the first region-wide exhibition of its type to welcome entries from people of any background and level of experience, including established professionals, new and emerging talent, enthusiastic amateurs and first-time artists.

Follow #mcropen2020 on all our platforms for sneak previews, artist Q&As and behind the scenes videos.

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