Event review: Well Versed – an evening of poetry


By - Friday 14th November, 2014

Poet Naomi Raffington (aka Esoteric) waxes lyrical about a new poetry event in Thornton Heath


Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club, 159 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath CR7 7JP

Time from East Croydon:  15 minutes by 64, 198 or 250

Tickets £2 (including complimentary cupcake on arrival!)

The Well Versed team: Natalie Twum-Barima, Darren Randon and Justine Agbowu.
Photo author’s own.

The first Well Versed event was part of the Thornton Heath Arts Week which took place in July 2014. During that week members of the community came together either to watch and support or partake and perform. Having had such a successful turn out, Well Versed – an upcoming poetry and spoken word platform – opened its doors to the public for a second time on Thursday 30th October.

It was a great pleasure to be invited to perform at the event alongside other local creatives. After a fiasco of frantically walking up and down Brigstock Road in search of the entrance, I was at last welcomed into the venue at the Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club; a very cosy venue with pleasant bar staff. The very skilled DJ Wallace was playing nothing but the classics, old school hip-hop and r’n'b, so if you’re a lover of old school, like me, or an ’80s or ’90s baby, this night is for you!

Well Versed had a very modest entry price of just £2, which includes a delicious homemade cupcake that’ll have you hooked at the first bite. From about 7:20pm the venue began to gradually fill with various members of the community, including children, young adults and the more mature, all together as one to enjoy a beautiful evening of art and creativity. The leather sofas and lounge chairs shadowing the stage created a very homely vibe, encouraging members of the community to come together as a family as opposed to individual members of the public.

If you didn’t attend on Thursday, you sure missed out!

The delightful evening was hosted by the very charismatic Justine Agbowu and Darren Randon who invited the audience to participate in a game of guessing the artist and title of hip-hop songs, a very effective way to break the ice and get everyone conversing and laughing. The line-up included the works of Natalie Twum-Barima, Erika The Poet, Lorianne Analytical, Jadasea and me – Esoteric – all of whom brought conscious words and inspiring experiences to life with a breath of passion. In addition to the featured poets who performed, the open mic sign-up welcomed new voices of the community to share their expression of words.

This resulted in the creation of a very unexpected freestyle performance by a member of the audience who was inspired by the ambience of the evening to get up on stage and perform a piece on the theme of time, which he created on the spot! Now that’s poetry, ladies and gentlemen!

I have to be honest – if you didn’t attend on Thursday you sure missed out. However, the good news is that the whole night was recorded by cameraman Ryan Samuda (follow him on Twitter at @RyanSamuda for details of when it will be available to view). And, as if that’s not enough good news, Well Versed will be taking place every last Thursday of the month at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club, 159 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, CR7 7JP.

To find out more about the next event, follow Well Versed on Twitter at @WellVersed_ink.


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Naomi Raffington

Naomi Raffington

Naomi Raffington is a poet and spoken word artist who was born and raised in Croydon. In her final year of studying a Midwifery Bsc hons degree at Kingston University she published her first ever anthology entitled ‘The Escape of My Imprisoned Thoughts’ available on Amazon. In addition to empowering childbearing women, Naomi thoroughly enjoys reading her poetry at various events across the UK and interacting with likeminded people.

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