Every Friday night The University of Essex’s Lakeside Theatre Cafe transforms from daytime coffee bar to buzzing live performance venue as The Hook Open Mic takes over! Each week, artists new and regular pitch up and perform in the cosy, intimate space to a small friendly audience. Whether it be singing, poetry recitals or instrumentals, Open Mic Night offers all performers the chance to showcase their talent.
The format is simple. If you want to perform, all you need to do is rock up to The Lakeside for opening at 9pm, write your name on the chalkboard and wait for your slot. The venue provide an acoustic guitar, keyboard, microphone and stage. Otherwise all you need to bring is yourself and any backing music should you want it. Don’t fancy performing? Not a problem! There is no obligation to get up onstage yourself. Instead, you can get a drink from the bar, sit back and enjoy the talent.
I spoke exclusively with first year student Callum Marshall who is an Open Mic night regular. He explained to me that the event has enabled him to get great exposure, but above all the chance to do what he loves- perform live.
”I love taking part in the Open Mic night as it provides me with a safe space to try out new things and new material. I think it is a wonderful idea because it allows people, who may be nervous and scared, to grow their confidence in front of a very sympathetic crowd. It’s truly one of the hidden gems of the university.”
As an artist, Callum’s style is varied, though he favours performing big band numbers. You can catch a glimpse of his talent in the video below!
Admission to Open Mic night is absolutely free, both to perform at and attend. If you want to perform, it is recommended you get to the venue for opening as the chalkboard fills up quickly! Open Mic night runs every Friday during term time, 9pm-11.45pm.