Open Mic

What It Is.

The Inky Fingers Open Mic takes place on the first Tuesday of the month, from 7:30-10pm. We used to be at the Forest Cafe and in 2016, Inky went On the Road to explore free performance spaces across the city. We found a new home at the Lighthouse, Edinburgh Radical Bookshop, and have been there ever since.

It’s free to come and free for anyone to perform, regardless of style, experience, or identity. We want to hear from everybody. We want your poems, your rants, your ballads, your short stories, your diaries, your experimental texts, your heart, your mind, your body. We want the essay on your summer holidays you wrote when you were four, your adolescent haiku, and extracts from your eventually-to-be-completed epic fantasy quadrilogy. We want to hear your best new work as well. And we want people to care about the way words are performed.

Frequently Asked Questions.

I don’t think I’m good enough to perform . . .

Yes you are.

But is it OK if it’s not a poem / I read a short story / I haven’t written anything new in ages / I only speak Spanish / it’s a series of conceptual haiku?

Yes, that is OK. As long as you stick to the rules (see below).

What about music?

Hmm, well, probably. As long as they’re your own lyrics: we’re primarily a words event.

Actually, I’m a published poet, and I don’t want to share the stage with a bunch of amateurs.

That’s a shame. We like events where people of all experiences get together to celebrate words. And we think you’ll find that everyone is a lot better and their work much more exciting than you thought. We do get a couple of excellent pros to perform feature slots at every event, so send us your work and maybe we can schedule you in. But the best thing is just to come on along and see.

Any tips?

Always keep writing, even if you think you’re rubbish (you soon won’t be), and always keep performing as well: performance is practise. Give each other feedback. You can ask the organisers for feedback on your performance, if you like, but also come along to our Writers’ Group. And keep an eye out: we run performance and writing workshops too.

The Rules.

  1. Do talk about Inky Fingers. Tell everyone to come and support you.
  2. 5 minutes per performer. We’ll start waving at you from the back of the room if you go over. This is so everyone gets a fair chance to perform.
  3. Respect the readers. Listen respectfully, applaud and cheer everyone, and don’t leave right after you’ve given your performance. Be there not just to perform your own work, but to see others perform.
  4. Respect the audience. Be a performer: entertain and engage them. Don’t expect them to recognise your genius if you mumble into the mic. Speak clearly, and bring your words to life.
  5. Give each other feedback.

Signing Up.

You can come along on the night to sign up for a performance slot, but it’s best to come early (we’ll be at the venue from 7.30), and it’s better still to email in advance to However, even if you email in advance you should turn up by 8 at the latest or risk losing your slot.

Next Event.

To find out when the next open mic is, check the events diary.

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