Speakeasy aims to create a meeting place where vocalists, poets and musicians of all levels of ability can feel free to express themselves. Speakeasy works from the slam/jam principle. We provide the space, locus, environment and audience members are invited to contribute lyrically, in poetry or song with the optional accompaniment of live musicians.
The Speakeasy ensemble has performed regularly at a monthly event at the Green Room for the last three years. The event also features guest poets/vocalists with established international reputations like Jonzi D and Lemn Sissay. We like to encourage new local talent by providing them with the opportunity to perform alongside more established artists.
Speakeasy started as a monthly open mike jam session in June 1999 at the Green Room. The house band soon developed an intimate relationship with the regular performers, which led to the generation of new material every month. Speakeasy late night events have expanded to a variety of Manchester venues, always drawing a culturally diverse audience from Moss Side, Rusholme, Hulme and other central Manchester areas. We have created a platform for participation and self-expression: by breaking down barriers to performance to create an 'art form open to everyone'.
Due to our strong community links in Manchester, Speakeasy have played many events for outside organisations, including the National Arts Review Conference in July 2000, the Probation Service Annual Conference in September 2000 and the London Press Launch of the Commonwealth Games 2002 in May 2001, the Cultureshock collaboration with Nitin Sawhney in May 2002, and the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village in July 2002.
Rev Porl has been a member of the collective since 2003 and had a hand in writing and performing the shows "Pieces for Peace" and "Black Jesus" in 2008, and playing the giant pringle tin.
The work of Speakeasy is dedicated to the memory of Dike Omeje.
The Speakeasy Website is here.