New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Shirley Bell asks – are you looking for open mic inspiration?

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Lincoln has become a real go to venue for open mic events: Jane Simmons has kindly supplied a round up of all the local poetry events in Lincoln which I have printed below; it shows what an enormous audience there is for spoken word events. I’m sure that the  porous division between the audience and performers – who are, largely,  the same people – has a lot to do with this.


Also, see Ron Booth in this issue. He hosts Unspoken at The Birdcage, and has written an interesting article about the venue.


I have been asking myself what makes a good venue, in the hope that this could be helpful to people who want to organise events on their own turf, and I am thinking here about the small venues which welcome all comers.

Last Tuesday 5th December I went along to a  pub in Lincoln, The BirdCage, to Uncaged, their open mic event, the last of a series in 2017.  Personally I found the size reassuring, as it is quite small without being hopelessly crowded.  The outside was brightly lit and welcoming and inside it has warm terracotta walls. It is a working pub with food and drinks being served and people coming and going but the event ran really well. It sounds impossible, yet in practice it worked.  Of course, the vital component  was a microphone so the readings could be heard and enjoyed!

Ron Booth, from Outspoken Poets,  was a welcoming and charming host in his dapper Christmas shirt.  Anyone could put their name down for a slot at 7.30 for an 8 pm start, and Ron organised the slots so there was no hesitation between readers, and it all ran smoothly. There is also a special guest slot,  where you could relax and  on this occasion “Enjoy a musical celebration with West End and International singer and actress, Faye Elizabeth “

Unfortunately i had to leave after her slot, but I am  sure the rest of the evening was a continuing success.

So what are the key factors? Choosing an intimate and nonthreatening venue, making everyone welcome to listen and or to perform.  And, of course,   having a microphone.  But most important of all is organising the event like the proverbial swan – swimming serenely on the surface and paddling madly underneath!



WHAT’S ON – a selection of local events …


OUTSPOKEN – a Lincoln based performance poetry group

There is no admission charge for the above events.

Why not come along to THE BIRDCAGE or THE JOLLY BREWER performance nights to see what we do? Open mic slots are available to non-members – but you are also welcome just to come and listen.

OUTSPOKEN POETS will also be appearing at a JAZZ AND POETRY night on Monday 16th October at VICE & CO and at the OXFAM BOOKSHOP on 20th October. Again, see facebook for more details

SCRATCHY PENS and LINCOLN CREATIVE WRITERS are both workshop sessions.

See facebook for more details.


OUT THE SNOUT – First Thursday of the month at THE ANGEL COFFEE HOUSE  6.30 – 8.30 pm  – for poetry, short stories, flash-fiction and more. More details on facebook.

ATG POETRY SLAM – monthly at LPAC. Details on facebook. Come along to listen – or book a slot in advance to enter. Cash prizes for two winners.

THE WORD THEATRE at the NEW THEATRE ROYAL – held monthly. Headline act and book in advance open mic slots. HOLLIE MCNISH  – one of the big names in performance poetry is headlining on 11th October. Details on facebook.

GUILDHALL SESSIONS – music and poetry nights. See facebook for more details.




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