Spoken Word Nights In London Worth Waxing Lyrical About

Last Updated 12 April 2024

Spoken Word Nights In London Worth Waxing Lyrical About

Got something to say? A piece of poetry you want to share with the world? Or just want to sit back with a herbal tea and watch others bare their literary souls? Here's the skinny on London's spoken word scene — and even better, many of these are cheap, pay-what-you-can or free.

A man in a colourful jacket in front of a mic
The Southbank Centre's Out-Spoken is one of the biggest monthly poetry nights on the circuit. Image courtesy Out-Spoken.

Out-Spoken, Southbank

Monthly night hosted by TS Eliot- and Polari Prize-winning poet Joelle Taylor, featuring top poets from the UK and further afield, mixed in with live music and reggae DJs. Prefer to get involved? Out-Spoken also hosts monthly three-hour workshops where you can hone your poetry skills with a pro. These sometimes sell out months in advance.

Out-Spoken, Southbank Centre

Jawdance, Shoreditch

London's "biggest spoken word night" — as hosted by Apple and Snakes. This monthly get together presents three poets, who unerringly possess a fascinating backstory, twinned with dazzling performance skills.

Jawdance, Rich Mix

Word Space, Dalston

"Bring your pens, pencils and daydreams" to this pay-what-you-can monthly Wednesday evening session, where writers share their poetry and get feedback in an accepting atmosphere. The venue's German-style beers will keep you lubricated.

Word Space, Kraft Dalston

Liars League, Oxford Street

Not some secret society of Tory donors, but a monthly club where writers submit short stories on a given theme, and the winners have the chance to read out their stories (or, if you're shy, have someone else read it out for you). Or just turn up and listen to some great little stories.

Liars League, Oxford Street

Poetry and Spoken Word Open Mic, Bermondsey

Every Wednesday in this wonderful little Bermondsey bookshop, budding poets and other writers take to the stage and perform. Looking to meet and brainstorm with fellow lit heads? Go along to the weekly Monday night poetry writing workshops too.

Poetry and Spoken Word Open Mic, Morocco Bound

Storytime: Spoken word story-telling, Bermondsey

Storytelling in a brewery taproom. Each month, there are two featured storytellers, plus 10 open mic slots, seven minutes apiece. Arrive early to secure a slot, otherwise it's the luck of the draw, with five slots drawn from the hat.

Storytime: Spoken word story-telling, Enid Street Tavern

A microphone
The mic awaits... Image: Elliot Sloman via Unsplash

Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night LIVE, Clapham

Launched almost a decade ago, Andreena Leeanne's open mic for LGBTQ+ folk is a wholly accepting space, in which newcomers are invited to share their flows. It is, in its own words: "a great space for us to be our authentic self, bask in community, speak our truth, build confidence and resilience whilst making friends and chosen family." Open mic slots are offered on a first come, first served basis.

Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night LIVE, Two Brewers

Riverside Rhyme, Hammersmith

Kid Anansi — a poet with a wicked sense of humour — hosts this monthly open mic, in which each speaker's got five minutes to strut their stuff — poetry, stand-up, a rant about your day —whatever you like. The only rule: no hate speech.

Riverside Rhyme, Riverside Studios

A room full of non alcoholic drinks
The favourite open mic act of the night at Club Soda becomes the featured act of the next show. Image: Club Soda

P&M Open - Mic Poetry & Monologues Night, Willesden

Open mic poetry on the first Friday of each month. Newcomers can perform poems up to two minutes long — which allows for plenty of spots on the night.

P&M Open - Mic Poetry & Monologues Night, BBMC Studios

Poetry on the Rise: Open Mic Night, Richmond

Occasional event from the delightful Books on the Rise bookshop, in which you're invited to share your poems with the world/Richmond. Those interested in taking part should email [email protected]

Poetry on the Rise: Open Mic Night, Books on the Rise

Sober AF Poetry Club Open Mic Night, Covent Garden

Everyone is welcome to perform their act, share a piece or sing a song in the sober space that is Club Soda. As you'd hope, there's an incredible selection of alcohol-free drinks on offer — the first one included in the ticket price. Adding an extra frisson to the night, all attendees cast a silent vote on their favourite act, who then becomes the featured slot at the next event.

Sober AF Poetry Club Open Mic Night, Club Soda

Yeah Ok! Poetry Night, Battersea

Monthly meet-up at the beautiful Battersea Arts Centre, with two featured poets, plus open mics slots. The night is preceded with a poetry workshop (should you wish to work on your flows) and winds down with a half-hour jam, for chilling, chatting and sharing ideas.

Yeah Ok! Poetry Night, Battersea Arts Centre

An archway over a staircase with 'HOPE' over the top
Battersea Arts Centre is home to the monthly Yeah Ok! Poetry Night. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

Lost Souls Poetry Open Mix, Balham

Seasoned poets to total neophytes are welcome on stage at this bi-monthly shindig: "From the poignant to the playful, the profound to the personal, there's space for every style and every story."

Lost Souls Poetry Open Mix, Exhibit Balham

The Last Word Festival, Chalk Farm

A three-week blowout of spoken word poetry at the inimitable Roundhouse, The Last Word Festival has delivered jaw-dropping performances for over a decade now — a cavalcade of "spoken word, engaging conversations, soul-stirring music, thought-provoking films and engaging workshops". Plus, there's the coveted Roundhouse Poetry Slam, in which fearless orators battle it out. 2024's festival runs 6-30 June.

The Last Word Festival, Roundhouse