They’ve been running their whole lives. You've got a lot of catching up to do.
'The Distance' is a new play currently in development, exploring what elite sport does to young bodies and minds. Drawing on his experiences as a teenage GB long-distance runner, Ben is writing about endurance, addiction and ambition, and how tightly who we are is tied to what we do. 'The Distance' has been supported so far by Roundhouse, Nonsuch Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, BBC Radio 4, and the Yard Theatre, and has a work-in-progress performance at Nottingham Playhouse on 11th October 2018.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Family
'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Family' is an award-winning spoken-word theatre show, exploring Ben's relationship with his father and with masculinity. It won the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the Edinburgh Fringe before touring the UK extensively over the following two years, including a sell-out run at Southbank Centre, and then to Australia.
The Liquid You (BBC Radio 4)
What becomes of a place once you leave it? And what about the people we leave behind, or who leave us? Is it memory we carry, or myth? Returning to Nottingham to see his ailing gran, Sam has a lot of questions. 'The Liquid You' is a poetic monologue about home and history, death and departures, and how sometimes it's easier to love an idea than reality. It was written and performed by Ben Norris, and is his Radio 4 debut.
Send Her Victorious (Channel 4)
'Send Her Victorious' is a short film commissioned by Channel 4 as part of their Random Acts programme. It follows an evening with Jaye, an Islamophobic drag queen, and looks to challenge the preconception that sexual fluidity and liberalism go hand in hand. It saw Ben nominated for Best New Talent at the 2016 Royal Television Society Awards.
Poem-a-Week is a poetry vlog series, for which Ben wrote and recorded a poem every week for a year from March 2016 - February 2017.
Rebel Heart (Nottingham 2023 commission)
'Rebel Heart' is a poem written to support Nottingham's bid to become 2023 European Capital of Culture, commissioned by Nottingham 2023 and DYT. It's a celebration of Nottingham's rich history of social justice movements, its part in the civil war, the luddite rebellion, technological and textile innovation, and - perhaps most famously - home of the original socialist, Robin Hood. A month or so after the poem was released, to great acclaim in the city, the European Commission decided to cancel the UK's involvement in the ECoC programme altogether. Nice one Brexit.
Salvage (Hosta / RHS Tatton Park commission)
'Salvage' is a poem commissioned by Hosta Consulting for their back-to-back garden 'A Drop of Urban Green', which won the gold medal at the 2016 Royal Horticultural Society's Tatton Park show. The poem, which explores and celebrates our relationship with nature in urban environments, was engraved onto two of the garden's walls. The garden featured prominently in the BBC's coverage of Tatton Park, and has since been relocated to Sneinton, Nottingham. Listen to Ben reading the poem.
Equal Love (Ditch the Label Commission)
A spoken-word poem commissioned by the anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label to celebrate romantic love in all its forms, and to normalise non-heteronormative relationships for young people. It explores the struggles and joys experienced by almost all people in love, regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, a disability or any other unique factor, and was released 2 days after Donald Trump's US election victory.
The Breathing of the Bellows (royal festival hall commission)
Two poems commissioned by the Southbank Centre to mark the restoration of the Royal Festival Hall's pipe organ. One of the poems, 'A Tonic Bomb', was published in an exhibition in the Clore Ballroom and a reading was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of an interview for In Tune. The second poem, a piece for performance called 'Tour de Force', was performed live in the Royal Festival Hall with accompaniment from beatboxer Shlomo and organist Tom Bell, also broadcast on Radio 3.