Whether you’re going away to university in a new town, you want to discover fresh talent or you have a fantastic new idea you feel should be explored further, starting up your own poetry night can be a great way of generating interest in the art of spoken word.
So we’ve drawn up a step-by-step guide to help you to organise your first poetry event.
- The first thing you should do is crowdsource. Ask friends and those in the industry what they think of your idea. There’s no point going through all the trouble of organising an event if there is no interest in it. You need to build a close network, so that people will attend your event. It’s important to remember that if you’re passionate about your idea, you’ll have much more of a chance of selling it to others.
- Draw up detailed plan of what the event will involve. Is it solely a poetry night, or will you have other creative acts also? Is it for all ages or just adults? These specifications will help you decide what kind of venue is best for you. A bar would be completely unsuitable, for example, if your target demographic is 14-18 year olds!
- Approach a venue you think would be open to poetry nights. This could be an exhibition hall, a gallery, a theatre or a bar. Remember, the settings must be appropriate for the performance. Is there a stage or an area the artist could perform from? Is there sufficient space for the audience to see and hear the act? Will they be comfortable?
- Set up a professional email address so that the venue, fans and performers can contact you directly. You don’t want to miss important information because you thought it was just another Groupon spam mail!
- Ask relevant poets to perform at your event. At this stage, you probably can’t pay them. Most poets enjoy performing, they’re not in it for the money. So stress that it would be a great platform for them to get their work out there. If you’re having an open-mic segment to the night, make sure you advertise your new email address so artists can sign up to perform.
- Advertise and promote! Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word and generate interest. Message blogs (such as this one) to inform them your event is coming up. Post on forums and society groups. Make posters and flyers and staple them around town.
- Finally, don’t forget to have fun. You’ve worked hard to make this night a success, so stop stressing and enjoy it!
We look forward to being invited to your first poetry event.
by Nadia Khomami