Poetry readings are a lot like sex.
They’re intimate, passionate, and there’s always someone who wants it to be deeper.
And so it was only a matter of time before someone combined the two to create a Poetry Brothel; an illicit, subversive, and immersive cabaret show that combines public spectacle with alluring personal encounters and secretive gatherings.
Devised by two poets in New York almost ten years ago, the brothel has since careered down to Mexico, Vietnam, New Zealand, then across Europe and Ireland towards London.
Which, by fortuitous coincidence, is also where you are.
Held once a month, the brothel sets up in a range of unusual locations, from old theatres and art deco cinemas to members’ clubs not usually open to the public. Each time, the Poetry Brothel transforms those surroundings into a turn-of-the-century, New Orlean-style bordello – where a rotating cast of poetry “whores” present themselves for spontaneous eruptions of verse amidst sumptuous Bohemian surroundings. Each with their own devilish alter-ego and elaborately-constructed backstory, from travelling raconteurs to descendants of spiders and ghosts, you’ll get to know each one intimately through their lyrical utterances on lost loves and bittersweet memories.
And those poker chips you were given at the start? Should a particular poet catch your eye (and ear), you’re free to approach them and slip them a chip. This will buy you a bespoke, clandestine, one-on-one reading, tucked away in unexpected spaces around the theatre, giving you exclusive access to new poetry tailored to what you’d like to hear. And when you’re not hiding behind curtains or lurking in stairwells, there’s performances from burlesque dancers and jazz musicians, and opportunities to meet fortune tellers for tarot readings, whiling the evening away into the witching hours.
NOTE: Poetry Brothel takes place about once a month, in a range of locations. You can find out more, and book tickets for their upcoming events, right HERE.
Like finding unusual events? Check out our guide to the Best Things To Do In London