Performance nights – storytelling and poetry readings

Here’s a round up of some live poetry and storytelling nights around Brighton. Have we missed one out? Add it here in the comments box. Have you been to one – then write us a review in the box below. Or contact

It’s also worth checking out general open mic nights – many of which enjoy a sprinkling of poetry to break up the staple diet of singer-songwriter stuff. The Bee’s Mouth often includes poetry readings. See Brightonsongwriters open mic listings for ideas.

Also see Brighton Poetry blog – which lists upcoming poetry and spoken word events.


Short Fuse – a night of short stories

Where: The Komedia, Gardner St, North Laine
When: first or second Sunday of the month, from 8pm
Cost: £5
More details The night is themed on a different topic each time. And there’s an open mic slot. Send submissions (100 – 2500 words to . Check out forthcoming dates and themes at or join the Facebook group.


Stray Signals – a performance and improv night

Where: Coachwerks, near London Road – 19 Hollingdean Terrace
First Tuesday of the month
8pm till 11pm
: £3
Find out more:
See or join the Stray Signals Facebook group.
Kath says: “I thoroughly enjoyed the April 2010 edition of Stray Signals”, which is facilitated by JW’s Dulcie Few and local artist Mark Pembrey. Read her comments on the Stray Signals website.


Are you sitting comfortably? – stories on a theme by local writers

Where: The Basement, 24 Kensington St, Brighton, BN1 4AJ
When: ad hoc
Time: From 7:30pm
Cost: £6 / £4
More details: Join the Facebook group. To find out forthcoming dates and themes, and to submit a story, email the organiser Bernadette Russell on

Here’s the blurb for a recent night: “Close your eyes, make a wish, and come on down to the White Rabbit’s candlelit warren. Transformed into part fifties tearoom, part deranged children’s party, we’ve waved our wands and presto!: we’ve conjured up another evening of original stories, featuring local writers and this month’s theme: MAGIC.

“We invite you to enjoy FREE cakes, sweets, treats, and to be enchanted by our Special Guest Magician. Grab a “Teapot Cocktail” from the bar, and follow the bunny… down, down,down”


Rattle tales offers occasional live storytelling nights where the audience is in the show.A writer tells a story. You listen. And then you get involved: asking questions, giving opinions…and shaking rattles. “We’ll bring the rattles… you do the shaking,” says their website.

Where The Brunswick pub
When: occassionally – check their website
Time: depends
Cost: Not sure
Find out more:

Scratch –  get audience feedback on a sample of your work

Where: Basement Arts

Find out more See blurb here

Glue Gun ’91 – performance poetry in Hanover

Where: Upstairs at The Victory Inn
When: possibly first Thursday of the month – but check with the organisers
Time: 8pm
Cost: Free
Details from: The Young Hanoverians website

Hammer and Tongue – performance poetry

Where: Komedia, probably
When: Thursdays – possibly the first of the month. Check with the website
Time: varies
Cost: about £5
Details from Hammer and Tongue– the biggest promoter of live poetry in the UK. It runs nights across Brighton, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol.


Sunday Circus

This is an occasional  non-religious community happening of talks, stories and music. The idea is that you can catch up with friends over coffee while being “humoured, informed and entertained.”
When: Midday, occasionally, for 2 hours
Where:  Emporium, 88 London Road
Cost: by donation, suggested £3
Details from: Emporium Brighton



4 responses to “Performance nights – storytelling and poetry readings

  1. Are you brave enough…



    For one night only, the creepy and cavernous Charleston Barns belong to you.
    Master of the Macabre, Jamie Crawford, comperes a spine-tingling, hair–raising evening of laughs and screams.

    Come and listen to true tales, morbid monologues and gothic masterpieces as would-be storytellers do their best to scare you out of your wits!

    Treats for the winner, tricks for the losers! Audience decides.

    Games, hot toddies and hot dogs.

    Over 16s only. The barns will be eeire and dark – be prepared, and dare to be scared!

    Writers and storytellers:
    Halloween is the brief. Write a five minute story to read aloud.
    Tales of the unearthly and the uncanny.
    Modern ghost stories and supernatural thrillers. Zombie pulp fiction and slasher shorts – scare us out of our skins.
    Storytellers register

    Call 01323 811 626 to book or visit
    Charleston, Firle, Nr Lewes off A27

  2. NOTHING IS STRANGE: An evening of songs, stories and enchantments from Mike Russell & Jane Bombane
    Jane Bom-Bane, queen of the funky harmonium and mechanical hats, will be performing her magical, original songs PLUS local author Mike Russell will be reading from his new book ‘Nothing Is Strange’ interspersed with various surreal shenanigans.
    Booking essential. Email:
    £5 admission on the door. Venue: Bom-Bane’s, 24 George Street, Brighton BN2 1RH UK

  3. Three The Hard Way – Workshop & Event

    Join Three the Hard Way – Part 2 poets, Jean Binta Breeze MBE, Lydia Towsey and Shruti Chauhan for a very exciting workshop. Explore the themes of this brand new touring show, from the political to the personal. Experiment with voice, movement and a variety of approaches. Whether you’ve lots of experience or none at all, develop new material and build the confidence to potentially perform it.

    This workshop will be followed by a performance of Three The Hard Way – Part Two.

    ‘Three the Hard Way’ derives from Jamaican culture where male DJs would respond to each others’ sets in collaboration & competition. The idea was adopted by UK male dub poets, led by Linton Kwesi Johnson in the 80s. Following a rave reviewed UK tour in 2014 – ‘Three the Hard Way – Part Two’ once again re-appropriates the format to explore contemporary women’s issues and culture.

    The event welcomes an audience of men and women to explore our times, from the personal to the political – and celebrate diversity.

    From Lydia Towsey’s – ‘I devour the map of my grandmother’s country/utter its street names, recite its parks.’…’ to Shruti Chauhan ‘‘People ask about the words/that make up my language;/not words, I say -/they are worlds.’ …to Jean Binta Breeze’s fusion of Leicester and Jamaican colloquial language – ‘I know mi duck, I know…’

    Together they will sing of sisterhood and connections that cross continents, age and gender – reflecting on the pain and the joy and giving voice to the many moments in between.
    The evening will begin with a guest performance from Brighton poet Alice Denny.

    Workshop: 4pm-6pm (£15 including performance)
    Performance: 7pm-9pm (£7 just performance)

    Book for the performance only by clicking here

    ‘Brilliant chemistry … sit back and let the lyrics (not just words) wash over you.’ – Karen McCandless, The Public Reviews.
    ‘For hard hitting political poetry, look no further’ – Peter Flack, Chair of Everybody’s Reading Festival.
    ‘Having seen this show I can actually, genuinely, honestly sing its praises and say “hey you; you should go see this.”’ – Nathan Human. KLiC Theatre, Executive Producer.

    Produced in association with Writing East Midlands. For more information see

  4. SMUT SLAM. Second Thursday of the month. Moksha Caffe. £6 in advance. £8 on the door. Serving food from 7pm. Show from 8pm.

    SMUT SLAM, a fast-paced storytelling open mic based on real life, real lust, real sex.

    The Smut Slam features real-life, first-person sex stories, guest stories from our panel of judges, and also THE FUCKBUCKET, a convenient and funnily named receptacle for all your anonymous questions and confessions!

    *** Come early for dinner and stay for the slam!

    **** FUCKBUCKET PRIZE PROVIDED BY Njoy, long-time sponsor of Smut Slams
    **** STORYTELLING PRIZES PROVIDED BY Brighton’s very own She Said Boutique

    ****Co-produced by Rosie Blackwell-Sutton and K I N G D O M

    SMUT SLAMMERS sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute dirty story, based on their real lives, and a lucky eight to ten names will be drawn at random.

    RULES: – no notes (this is storytelling) – no costumes or props (this is not theatre) – only five minutes (with a one-minute grace period) AND – the story must be real and have happened to you.

    IMPORTANT: Smut Slam is queer-friendly, kink-friendly, fat-friendly, virgin-friendly, poly-friendly, we’re really, really friendly. We welcome people with all types and amounts of sexual experiences. We DO NOT welcome stories involving racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or any other kind of discrimination, objectification, or fetishization. All stories must be CONSENSUAL!

    NOT A SMUT SLAMMER? Dont worry. The audience is in for a good time at SMUT SLAM! Sit back and enjoy. All we ask is: – No interrupting. – No heckling. – No necking in the front row. Doors open for dinner at 7pm, and the smut starts slamming at 8.

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