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Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances

You might have noticed how, here at Screen Shot, we’re partial to anything sex positive-related—and for good reasons! So much so, in fact, that we’re here to bring you a very special experience focusing on topics such as kink, erotica, self-love, relationships and more. As one of the ten winners of The Special Event Call Out we launched in partnership with Selina last month, artist and creative writer Sarah Kitteridge and poet facilitator, writer, creative and founder of art organisation Joly Licks, Fausta Joly, have teamed up to bring you The Dark Room: a sex-positive poetry workshop followed by a night of performances inspired by the exact same topics mentioned above.

Ahead of the dreamy evening, which will take place on Wednesday 7 July at Selina’s new Camden location, we spoke to Kitteridge and Joly about what ticket holders should expect, we even managed to get a few exclusives on the amazing creatives who will take part in the event.

To kick things off, The Dark Room will begin with the poetry workshop, which will be led by Kitteridge herself, and followed by an evening of spoken word performances, hosted by Joly Licks. “It will feature performances from Oluwaseun Olayiwola and HENDRA, as well as many more amazing poets!” shared Kitteridge.

The workshop will be aimed at all levels, “there’s no prior writing or performing experience required,” precised Kitteridge. However, if you are a poet and you want to workshop some ideas you’ve been sitting on, then “that’s fantastic too.”

“We will explore the importance of point of view, how to establish a sense of style and look at a variety of materials that might offer attendees some inspiration around the theme. Everyone will have the opportunity to create and perform a completely new stanza, and together we will offer each poet some feedback and ask if they’d like to perform in the open mic later in the evening. Obviously, the theme is love, sex, self-love, sexuality, kink, so we encourage you to come and be respectful of others and be as open with your thoughts and ideas as you feel comfortable to.”

The Dark Room will also feature a display of some beautiful stills showcasing the wonderful performers who’ve worked with indie adult filmmaker Erika Lust. “She is a game-changing entrepreneur in the sex-postive conversation and her work has been hugely inspirational in the creation of this event,” Kitteridge told us.

“The concept of The Dark Room came about organically,” she continued. “I thought about ‘developing’ ideas, instead of photos, especially around a topic such as sexuality, pleasure and love—an area that often has only a few, shallow narratives. It’s important to me that we develop our understanding of intimacy, keep the conversation open and diverse, and poetry feels like an appropriate format to do that.”

While a darkroom is used to process photographic film, make prints and carry out other associated tasks, the term dark room is also used to describe a darkened room, sometimes located in a nightclub or sex club, where sexual activity can take place. For this event, both terminologies seem fitting in their own way. “There’s something magical about the aesthetic of a dark room. It’s kind of a sexy space but there is also something punky-dystopian about it—and I love that. It’s also the place at art schools where people used to hook up. So that’s fun.”

Kitteridge further shared how she always had a “voyeuristic fascination” with love and pleasure. “I enjoy hearing other people’s experiences, perspectives and general philosophical musings around sexuality, pleasure and love. A poetry night feels like the perfect opportunity to do this in a way that’s creative and fun.”

On top of those different creative approaches to this event, Kitteridge explained that she had one final conflict she felt the need to express through The Dark Room, “I’ve been feeling conflicted lately about the sudden surge of interest from big companies pushing their Pride marketing; using other people’s stories, and often struggles with sex and sexuality, to push their own agenda and ultimately sell their product. I’m hoping The Dark Room 2021 will be an antidote to virtue signalling, and offer a space for people to share their stories in a way that’s more respectful, authentic and nuanced.”

When asked how she first got involved in the event, and when she decided to host the evening’s spoken word performance, Licks told us, “Sarah is an amazing creative and so I jumped at the chance when she invited me to co-host The Dark Room. Sexuality, pleasure, love, and self-love arise in my work for two reasons usually: when I’m feeling it or when I could give that side of myself a little top-up. It’s important to not feel shame around these subjects; or project that shame on others. This is what I believe The Dark Room to be all about.”

What should you expect from other performers, I can hear you ask? “Oluwaseun Olayiwola is a queer American choreographer and poet living in London. His work investigates the interior spaces of the body, desire, and blackness. His lexicon, tone and pace conjure images and scenes that will have you drooling and melting into your seats,” shared Licks.

“HENDRA is a Canadian violist, singer, and composer, working with acoustic and electrified viola, and loop pedals. Currently working on her first album, due to be released in 2022. HENDRA’s performances are spell binding, and can carry you away to some of the deepest parts of yourself,” she continued.

Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances

Anyone attending will also be invited to perform during The Dark Room’s open mic session, so if you’ve been wanting to test your latest creations on a real-life audience, this is your chance! If you’re ready to perfect your poetry skills with the help of Kitteridge, then grab a ticket here for £8.80 before they’re all gone. If you only wish to attend the evening’s performances, all you need to do is to get a ‘screening’ ticket here, free of charge.

And if you’re not yet fully convinced you’re up for spending an evening in this creative dark room, here’s what Kitteridge has to say to you, “Buy that ticket! It’s going to be a very relaxed, fun evening. There’s zero pressure or expectation. But it could be the inspiration you’ve been looking for. We hope to see you there.”