DUBAI: Spoken word has been gaining traction in the UAE, with more and more “open mic” events being hosted in different venues across the country. Some are attended by a big crowd; others are more intimate. Here is a selection.
Founded by award-winning Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck, this open-mic night in Dubai started in 2013, the same year Beck won a Backwaters Prize for her “To Live in Autumn” poetry collection about Beirut.
One of the more popular groups, Rooftop Rhythms is based in Abu Dhabi, and was founded by poet and educator Dorian Paul Rogers. It promotes community-based arts and culture through its regular gatherings.
This open-mic platform in Dubai is hosted monthly at the Book Munch Cafe in one of the city’s busiest business districts. It attracts more than 120 people in an intimate creative gathering, where 25 people usually take the stage.
This group focuses on empowering grassroots poetry and visual art through encouraging local artists to submit their works. It publishes curated art pieces online, which attract audiences across the region.
This was born out of the passion of three spoken-word artists, who teamed up to establish a poetry platform that promotes both writing and performing poems. Workshops are under way for artists who want to learn more about the craft.
Based in Abu Dhabi, Echoes hosts open mics at Shabby Chic, a local cafe in the UAE capital. Its goal is to “give voices” to new and budding talents, not only in poetry, but also in music.