Live At The Hive
There was something rather intimate about the “Spoken Word” event, hosted by the LGBTQ+ Society at the Hive.
The cafe was packed with people. Tables were all full, extra seats were found and people still ended standing too. Along with the expected members of the LGBTQ+ society, the room was overspilling with people there to support, and just to listen to the poetry written by their fellow students. Leah Stone, Roehampton’s own LGBT officer opened the evening, with a speech touching on the importance of events such as this at a time of fear and uncertainty. The sense of support, understanding and freedom was almost overwhelming as she spoke about the value of freedom of expression before starting the evening with her own poetry.
Even the baristas were leaning over the edge of the counter, eyes fixed on each reader as they perched uncomfortably one at a time on the wobbly stool in the corner of the room. Silence filled the room as their voices sung out poems written straight from
It was clear to see that the poetry being read aloud by it’s writers was written from the heart. Some spoke with confidence and humour. Others with nerves and butterflies fluttering through their voices. The third reader was Olive Cal, who nervously mentioned that she had never read aloud before, then began. She admitted to me how nervous she had been, but surprised herself at how calm she was thanks to the relaxing atmosphere.
All the readers brought something different and intimate to the evening. Leah Stone, Ciara Ansley and Olive Cal focused on sentiment and emotion, whilst Megan Lewis brought a fiery passion to her writing. Arun Jeetoo and Brad Cohen wrapped up the evening with emotion dabbled with humour and sarcasm.
The surprise turn of the evening came from a student who had come merely to watch the readers and hear a little poetry. I spoke to George Coles in the interval as he scribbled in his notebook, and he told me how the evening had inspired him to write about his own life. “People writing about their own experiences empowers others to speak and write without retribution”. He ended up inspiring others himself, by reading aloud the piece he had written over the course of the evening, thanking the society for their work and inspiration.
Overall the evening felt wonderfully cosy. The room felt untouchable to the night outside. It felt like a vital stance of solidarity as one event of the many taking part in events for Sexuality Month.