One chilly November night in 2016, a small community of poets and musicians gathered to celebrate art. Huddling in from the cold in cozy Artspace, this community called the night “Voices and Verses” or “V&V”. Poetry and music warmed the atmosphere with love and life, and quickly filled up that very small room upstairs in Artspace. The room overflowed – people hunched in their seating positions to make way, while others were standing. That night, a lot of people found a piece of home.
When Voices and Verses started, many KPS members had been wanting to give performing a shot. Voices and Verses naturally handed them a place and a mic, and told them “Yallah, let’s do this.” This, to us, seemed like the perfect setting to share art and spread beauty within our community. Our members wanted to host an open mic of sorts, and that was the base that brought Voices & Verses into our lives. For many months to come after that, musicians joyed people’s hearts with their pieces, and poets told stories with their words. People who graced the Voices and Verses stage found themselves wanting to be on the other side of the mic for a change, and we helped with a huge expansion to the Kuwaiti poetry scene.
Since Voices and Verses started, we have been encouraging poets and musicians to perform and to be fearless with their performances. Multiple genres of poetry and music have spread inspiration. Voices and Verses brought talent to the stage people from different backgrounds. We wanted Voices and Verses to be for the people, and anyone could apply to perform. Voices and Verses became a monthly event, and more poetic and musical voices got the recognition they sought. The event became one of the most important and known hosted by us.
In 2017, our second season, we moved from our usual location at Artspace to the Australian College of Kuwait’s auditorium to fit our amazing, supportive, and ever-growing audience. In the second season, we became more selective in who joined us on stage. First-time performers were encouraged to give our Legit Open Mic a shot, where our minds were blown bi-weekly by amazing first-timers, before taking their art to the Voices and Verses stage. Once chosen, the performers went through rehearsals where they perfected the pieces they will present. Poets and musicians alike felt at home in this space, and they felt ecstatic to share and listen to the art being displayed through another art, the art of performing.
What once was an idea for a small gathering of people to enjoy poetry soon became a huge platform for others to feel comfortable in. We didn’t expect that many people to show up on the first night. The energy and excitement coming from our family encouraged us to keep pushing with Voices & Verses one step at a time. It grew beyond our expectations. Voices & Verses has only been the first step to achieving so much more for us, and has been a milestone for launching our art community in Kuwait into greatness.