5 Years of BoxedIn
— 23 Oct 2017
The incredible stylings of BoxedIn have brought a legion of fans into the world of spoken word poetry, and it's hard to believe that they're already celebrating 5 successful years in the business. In the run-up to their massive 5th birthday party, we caught up with poet-in-chief, Yomi Sode to find out more.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
BoxedIn is a monthly spoken word night that takes place at Boxpark Shoreditch. We pride ourselves as being the fastest open mic / feature night in London. Within two hours, we deliver a fast pace, entertaining night celebrating poetry in the best way we can. The night is run by myself and fellow poets, Amina Jama and Sean Mahoney.
BoxedIn is about to celebrate its 5th birthday. How does it feel looking back over the last 5 years and everything you've achieved?
It’s amazing to think that we are celebrating our 5th birthday; it feels just like yesterday, when we were all crammed in one of the storage spaces, now we are in the centre of Boxpark. To think that people have continually filled the audience month after month for 5 years is humbling to say the least.
Boxpark has also been instrumental in supporting the growth of BoxedIn. The audience got bigger and so they moved us into a bigger space to raise the awareness even more so, and we are appreciative of that.
In a lot of ways, not much has changed, our goal is the same. to celebrate and nurture new writers.
What have been some of the biggest highlights for you?
There have been too many to mention. Our extravaganza event in 2015 will go down in history as being one of the biggest nights to happen in the spoken word scene and really left a mark regarding the calibre of artists within our networks. We had leading poets and spoken word artists from around the world all sharing the same stage in the name of BoxedIn; it was phenomenal.
Kareem’s set in 2016 was special; a lot of it is being able to watch writers grow throughout the years. The likes of Ben Hayes, Shade Joseph, Justice Lyric, Phoebe Wagner, Darius Mcfarlane, Omar Bynon, Nimmo, Troy Cabida, Emmanuel Sugo, Kush, Caroline Teague, Natrica Green- and so many more. The returning open mic-ers are as much a part of BoxedIn as we are.
What can visitors expect from your 5th birthday event at Boxpark Shoreditch?
Right now, apart from a sick line-up? Cake. There'll probably be cake. And good vibes, obviously. Maybe an eye opening open mic-er, but that’s always part of the fun.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering taking part in the open mic portion of the event?
The main thing is to be patient. Don’t feel like you have to rush anything. Check out as many open mic nights as you can, get a feel for them. Some have attended two BoxedIn’s, even five BoxedIn’s before deciding to read before an audience. So, it really does depend on when one feels ready. Ultimately, enter the space with love and respect, and that’ll be reciprocated.
Why do you think BoxedIn resonates with so many people?
Being a free night always works in the first instance, ha-ha! Jokes aside though, there is an entertaining component to something that’s considered ‘boring’ etc. Poetry is on the rise but not many would give up their evenings for it, so to speak, and slowly but surely we are doing that.
The team have the banter and the experience to not just make it a night of poetry, we aim to bring more to the table. We also have a great balance of open mic-ers, who share poems you can never predict, to incredible programmed features whose work we value highly. There’s nothing you need to know about poetry before going BoxedIn, we try to get to the place where people felt they were when they first heard spoken word/poetry- we encourage first timers more than the features and big them up, as they’re the real stars. We’re bringing more people into a world that is creative, fun and safe.
What does the future have in store for BoxedIn?
5 more years at Boxpark? Why not?
There will be some expansions next year and that’s exciting, we can’t speak too much on it for now but yes, we are looking into how to aid the development of artists as well as how we interact with them and their work. We want BoxedIn to be not just a night, but a hub for artistic growth- particularly in regards to new writers.
Finally, what was the last song you listened to?