‘Sam’s Collective’ is running its next Queer Open Mic Night on July 14 at 7 pm. The collective recently ran its first successful variety event during the month of Pride, platforming performances from every artform. Queer folks of all ages are welcomed to the stage by a community of like-minded individuals looking to spruce up the Dublin creative scene.
To find out more about this event, GCN spoke with the organiser, Sam in the City.
What is ‘Sam’s Collective’? How’d you come about starting it & what does it mean to you?
I was born and raised in Swords, Dublin, and was always a little quirky, and creative. I found it hard to fit in, and my plan was always to go and live in New York. That was all I ever dreamed of. I finished my last exam in Maynooth University and moved to New York the next day.
While in New York, I found and explored my creative side. I explored everything I could. I was continually in creative spaces where people could express themselves. My first experience of it was within the burlesque scene over there, then I started to write poetry and attend poetry nights and open mic nights.
At one point, my full week was creative nights, I had my open mic night to go [to] on Tuesdays, Burlesque Wednesday and Thursday, go to the hub of artistic expression; House Of Yes for a dance on Fridays, and have my poetry nights on Sunday. My life was very queer and full of creativity. It was inspiring.
Four years later it was time for me to move home to Ireland. I was excited and had every intention of finding a creative scene over here. However, I found myself searching for open mics or shows with local talent and I couldn’t find a variety show.
The open mics that I was used to were open to all types of performance, not just comedy or poetry etc. So, when Pride came along, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring my ideas to fruition, combining my two loves – queerness and creativity.
A lot of people have asked me “What’s in it for you?”. That’s how I know I have ended up doing the right type of work for me because all I want is to simply create these spaces where people feel safe and comfortable to artistically express themselves and be their true selves, without judgment or negativity.
‘Sam’s Collective’ was created as I knew I would be restricting myself if I was limited to just one event. I will say I noticed in Dublin Nightlife there is a lack of WLW spaces. While in New York I spent a lot of my time in world-famous lesbian bars and when I came home I really understood the importance of these spaces.
To have a space as a WLW where you are surrounded by other queer people who are not cis-men is so important to our community. It is our safe space, and we need that in Dublin. I have been thinking of arranging a WLW night in Dublin and have been in contact with the organiser of Dykon, a WLW event in Cork.
What was the inspiration behind doing the Queer Open Mic night?
My story as a creative in Dublin has been pretty short-lived, as I only moved home in March 2022. But I intend to bring the wonderful inspiring creative spaces I experienced in NY to Dublin and explore the existing creative scene in Dublin.
With the help of TikTok and our fellow queer friends, I and the event organizers at the Beckett Locke, Sophie O’Neill and Carlos Mena Sau, got in contact with each other. They wanted to hold a Pride event but didn’t have the reach or the plans, but they did have the space, so our collaboration worked perfectly.
The first event went better than we could have ever expected! There were all ages, genders, races, types of performances and experiences – which is my goal, for everyone to feel safe in the spaces I create. I begin my events with a ‘rules and regulations’ chat, usually stating that our room and space have no tolerance for sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia etc.
‘Sam’s Collective’ is a welcoming community and a judgment-free zone, so I don’t care if I get up here and forget all of my lines. I, along with everyone else who has the courage to get up will be applauded off stage and encouraged to come back another time. And one more thing, if you find yourself a fellow queerbie that tickles your fancy, be aware of consent. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.
Specifically for the Queer Open Mic Night this week, what can people expect and what should they be excited for?
The event is pretty chill. We like to begin the night by introducing ourselves and saying hello to everyone. During this time the sign-up sheet will be left at the bar for performers to sign up. The performances will start soon after and we will have a break every so often for everyone to grab their smoke/drink/bathroom break.
Expect performances from all art forms, we have singer/songwriters, comedians, poets and drag acts signed up online! But performers are only picked from the signup sheet on the night, although online sign-ups will be prioritized!
All performance types and experiences are welcome. Also, a few people have asked me if it’s ok to just come and watch? And to that, I say ABSOLUTELY! After all, what’s a performer without their audience, huh? Just RSVP so we know you’ll be there! Our venue is wheelchair accessible also!
How have you found social media helpful in sharing your events & queer spaces in general?
This journey has really shown me the power of social media. Previous to my social media presence now, I just had personal profiles. I just used it to keep in contact with my friends. But I began my own social media management company during Covid-19 and as I was managing others’ social media I began to think of the power and benefit it could have for me.
These events would simply not have been possible without the power of TikTok and sharing it amongst the right people. I hope to continue to grow my social media because I believe I have a lot of creativity to share, but I also have a vast background in volunteering and advocating to prevent sexual violence in nightlife. I would love to do some volunteering in these areas and share it amongst the people who choose to follow me.
Where can people keep up with you and any upcoming events from ‘Sam’s Collective’?
People can find me on Instagram @saminthe.city and TikTok @Saminthe.city. And if anyone would like to contact me to work with me or have an idea for an event they need help developing, they can reach me at [email protected].
We hope to have the Queer Open Mic Night happening every second Thursday for the rest of the summer, the next two being July 14th and July 28th, with many more ideas coming for more events! I hope to continue building this community and creating more judgment-free spaces and a hub for artistic expression.
I wanted to do the Queer Open Mic Night but I am also intending on creating a WLW night in Dublin as there was a lack of these spaces also. That is why I’ve decided to create ‘Sam’s Collective’ because I have more ideas to come!
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