Sultana Dreamt An Open Mic — An All Womxn Gathering With The Soul Agenda to Express Our Truth
We started all womxn open mics from our own experiences of feeling unsafe at existing open mics in the city. Not only were these spaces dominated by men, the format of these open mics made the whole experience of performing scary and unwelcoming. Khyati and I(Nalini) decided to create our own space, one that made the task of expressing more fun and less daunting for both beginners and established artists. Here are some pictures from when reluctant audience members got on stage and said their pieces:
An improv artist and friend, Bala, came to our open mic right after work and performed a piece on struggling with online dating during the lockdown. We laughed with her & a room full of womxn felt connected through her experience. Vividha was going to perform a story but on being asked to share how her day was, she revealed first something that’s been quite frustrating, of having to adjust her tone in story-telling sessions at work, to soothe her employers expectations.
It’s important to get people comfortable with being on stage to really be able to witness their amazing authentic selves. We do warm-ups that bring people on stage in a no-pressure setting. A letter writing exercise is a fun format that usually gets everyone to the mic.
A Victory Moment — Nikita had been showing up and not performing at open mics for over 2 years. On March 28th, 2021, we got to witness her magic on stage at our open mic. It was a really special moment for us because it was a direct example of why we wanted to create such a space.
It’s not to do with lack of technique; it’s about allowing the vulnerability to show and a space that welcomes it.
Sindhu was the first participant to take the stage to rant, an invited form at our open mics. 7 minutes of patriarchy bashing by this feminist mom invited an enthralling response from a room that resonated deeply with the anger.
If people leave with smiles on their faces and a community to come back to — mission accomplished. The plan is to gift the whole world with this openness. And bonus, receive great art in the process. One of the poems performed by Jyoti at our last open mic, Bus Waala Shaitaan, has crossed 2500 views on Instagram!
Come to our next one? Register here!