Why Reverb is a Croydon poetry night with a difference

By - Thursday 6th April, 2017

A thought-provoking night out for connoisseurs of words

Photo by Reverb, used with permission.

Spoken word and poetry events are fast becoming a leading genre in the entertainment scene for those looking for a thought-provoking night out. With the recent launch of Boxpark in Croydon, there is a fresh wave of quality events happening on our doorstep. One of these is Reverb.

Reverb is a poetry night with a difference. It is not a one-sided experience where you are expected to just sit and receive; it is built on interaction and audience participation. Hosted by spoken word artists and poets from Writerz and Scribez CIC, the space breathes community and you are encouraged not only to listen but to explore and discuss how the words affect you.

Writerz and Scribez CIC is a ground-breaking creative arts company reaching communities through workshops, projects and events. Founded in 2012, we have worked in partnership with a number of organisations using art as a means of social action. We are currently running poetry workshops at the new Crisis Skylight building in Surrey Street market where participants have hailed their sessions as ‘an instrument of healing,’ commenting “I found myself in poetry”. The company is now working on an eleven week summer program that will result in poems from participants being published in a magazine and exhibited as part of the Arts in Crisis festival in July.

This new monthly events at Boxpark will also provide work experience to homeless young people who will be trained in project management and enterprise and form the events team for Reverb. This project has been funded by the Croydon Partnership Youth Opportunity Fund and will enable young people to develop employability skills alongside first-hand events experience. The organisation is committed to being a vehicle for change in their local community, with targeting homelessness as its focus for 2017.

Each title brought a new dish to the table of creativity

The first event on Tuesday 7th March was a great success. The Boxbar buzzed with positivity as the audience chilled to soulful tunes and got to know each other better in a quick ice-breaker question: ‘If your personality was a playlist, what top three songs would be featured?’ There was laughter as some of the audience asserted that the person next to them had concerning taste in music! The event flowed well; a snappy two hour show including open mic slots, featured poets and a discussion. There was a diverse style of open mic slots, from hip hop to love poetry, each act bringing a new dish to add to the table of creativity. It was a buffet of imagination – and I wanted second helpings.

Featured poets included local resident Sugar J. Poet, who is one of the faces of Nationwide’s Voices ad campaign and a Barbican Young Poet. He captivated the crowd with his sincere storytelling ability, arousing emotions of laughter, awe and empathy during his set. Then Jolade Olusanya, a Hackney based photographer, film-maker and poet, explored past relationships, culture and self through his pieces. The audience had an opportunity to direct questions and comments to the artists, a unique time to ask about specific lines, concepts and their own journey as a poet. This was a rare occasion to probe deeper into the artist’s psyche and understand their craft. It is clear that as a company, Writerz and Scribez CIC is using creativity as a powerful tool.

A second Reverb event took place on Tuesday 4th April at 7pm in the BoxBar and will be reviewed shortly in the Croydon Citizen. For details of future events, click here. Tickets are free.

Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

Jemilea Wisdom-Baako

A lover of arts, culture and mango slices, Jemilea is a passionate writer and poet who has lived in Croydon for 28 years. When not engrossed in the pages of her notebook, or someone else's, she can be found dancing with her daughter, on stage performing or whipping up her infamous Oreo cookie cupcakes.

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