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Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding)

Born in Hastings in 1965, Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), took the name of the famous American outlaw, celebrated and misspelt by Bob Dylan, when he began performing in 1988. He adopted the alias while doing a PhD at Cambridge University as a means of disguise, so that “when it all went badly wrong, I could go back to what was likely to be my career path, which was in the social and political sciences”.

It all worked out well for Stace. Signed by Seymour Stein to Sire in 1989, he released a number of albums and EPs of insightful and melodic songs as John Wesley Harding. His debut studio album ‘Here Comes The Groom’ featured amongst others The Attractions’ Bruce and Pete ThomasTom Robinson and Kirsty MacColl. In 2013, he finally reverted to his given name with ‘Self Titled’ a fine collection of bittersweet songs reflecting on past relationships.

He’s the master of ceremonies of Wesley Stace’s Cabinet Of Wonders, his monthly show in New York City. This variety show, the apotheosis of alternative cabaret, brings together musicians, comedians, authors and poets as diverse as Steve EarleSalman RushdieMobyJonathan Coe, Shirley Collins and Harry Hill. He’s also been joined on stage by Bruce SpringsteenLou ReedIggy Pop and John Prine to name just a few. 

He wrote the libretto for Errollyn Wallen’s opera ‘Dido’s Ghost’, which had its world premiere at the Barbican in London in 2021, and his polymathy doesn’t end there. Stace has written four well-received novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune, and co-written the memoir of choreographer and dancer Mark Morris. He has taught at Princeton, Swarthmore and Fairleigh Dickinson University, as well as regularly contributing articles to the Times Literary Supplement, the New Statesman and the Wall Street Journal. 

He’s resided in the USA since the early nineties. This will be his first UK tour in 15 years. His live shows are always a treat: an evening not only of great songs, but also razor-sharp wit and wisdom. 

Youtube Channel:

Age guidance: All ages
Running times: tbc