Poetry Jam was born in 2013, giving young people a safe space to express themselves, perform, and build relationships. Over the last five years 1150 poetry open mic slots have been made available over 46 live events since Poetry Jam first opened its doors to an audience of 45 people at Urban Coffee Company in February 2013. Now reaching audiences of peaking 200 stuffed into corners of coffee shops, Beatfreeks has created space for over 4000+ young people (and some older) to experience spoken word, poetry and storytelling through its Poetry Jam.
At the heart of the movement are young people telling stories about themselves and the world; sometimes putting it to rights, sometimes condemning it, sometimes finding magic in unexpected places. Poetry Jam has sparked many new nights, careers, friendships, relationships, a marriage and even an actual birth (which didn’t happen at an event, by the way). It also saw the birth of Beatfreeks. Then, it was just a big idea; now, we’re a collective of companies and people working together to explore ‘creativity for good’. Beatfreeks has been on an transformative journey, but one thing has never changed: our commitment to Poetry Jam.
It was initially an experiment; an invitation, a welcome, a provocation: “would young people need this space and what for?”. The answer is still yes, and the reasons are ever evolving.
“Poetry Jam has allowed me to develop as an artist and it’s where I learnt to sharpen up my craft. It’s amazing the amount of performers who are making a name for themselves who have come through Poetry Jam. It’s the first place I got a standing ovation which I'm sure is a good thing. You often see documentaries about legendary venues and night's such as CBGBs in the story of punk or the amazing comedians who started off at the improv comedy club I seriously believe Poetry Jam could have its own documentary with the amount of talent that have graced the mic.” Joe Cook - Poet, who recently performed at Town Hall opening for Hollie McNish.
We want to mark the 5th Birthday of Poetry Jam, and therefore The Beatfreeks Collective’s Birthday, with a Poetry Jam V Birthday Special. Many of our communities are passionate about civic spaces, independent spaces, that allow young people to convene on issues affecting them and the community. Built on the ethos of the 17th and 18th century ‘enlightenment’ cafes, socially and politically charged spaces for stories, debate and conversation. It therefore feels incredibly poignant to be partnering with THSH for a special edition of Poetry Jam with an after-party on Thursday 8th February 2018*.
Doors will open at 6.30pm - but arrive at 6pm to put your name into the open mic hat which will decide our open mic poets for the evening. The draw will take place at 6.15pm sharp. We kick off with poetry and spoken in our classic Poetry Jam format at 7pm but expect loud music and a chance to shake a leg in between each section as Chakraman will be our resident DJ for the evening. We will also be launching an anthology of works from young people who have performed at previous Jams. These will be available for purchase on the night along with a limited edition t-shirt*. From 9, we’ll dance and chat, and party. We’ll celebrate; the last five years of Poetry Jam, the last five years of Beatfreeks and how we’ve developed, our community, and the amazing poetry scene we have in Birmingham. We can’t wait to see you there. Grab a pen or a ticket, or both.
For press enquiries please contact Bradley Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please note that there will not be a Poetry Jam at 200 Degrees on Colmore Row in February, but that we plan to resume normal service every first Thursday of the month on 1st March 2018.
There will also be a bar at Town Hall for buying drinks and snacks on the night. Please bring cash if you wish to purchase the Anthology or merchandise. As always, anyone is welcome to attend Poetry Jam, but we ask that you sign up beforehand to know numbers.