Performance Art

Raise Your Voice: Eight Ways to Explore Storytelling and Poetry in Metro Phoenix

Taking to The Moth Mainstage for some story time.
Taking to The Moth Mainstage for some story time. Sarah Stacke
click to enlarge Taking to The Moth Mainstage for some story time. - SARAH STACKE
Taking to The Moth Mainstage for some story time.
Sarah Stacke
If your New Year’s resolutions included spending more time on storytelling or poetry, you’re in luck. Metro Phoenix is home to several events where you can either take the stage or sit back to enjoy some true tales. Here’s a sampling of local events to help you get started.

Bar Flies

Valley Bar
130 North Central Avenue


The Bar Flies monthly reading series features true stories told live on stage at Valley Bar. Every show has a different theme, and they’re all curated, so new performers are constantly joining the mix. The event is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $10. (Full disclosure: Several Phoenix New Times writers and staffers work closely with this event.)

District4 Open Mic Poetry

Jarrod’s Coffee, Tea & Gallery
154 West Main Street


Jarrod’s Coffee, Tea & Gallery presents open mic poetry events at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. The events are free, and open to emerging and established poets.

Phoenix Poetry Slam

The Lost Leaf
914 North Fifth Street


Lawn Gnome Publishing holds free Phoenix Poetry Slam competitions at The Lost Leaf at 7 p.m. on Thursday nights. Poets sign up ahead of time, then compete in poetry rounds judged by randomly selected audience members. The minimum age to attend is 21.

POC It To Me

Palabras Bilingual Bookstore
1738 East McDowell Road


Palabras Bilingual Bookstore holds free POC It To Me open mic nights, which showcase the creativity of people of color in the local community. Participants perform poetry, storytelling, live art, music, stand-up comedy, and more. All are welcome to attend.

Storyline Slam

The Newton
300 West Camelback Road


Dan Hoen Hull and Joy Young host a monthly Storyline Slam competition at the Phoenix location of Changing Hands Bookstore. Eight participants are chosen through online signups, and two are chosen during the event. Five audience members serve as judges, and there is a cash prize. Tickets are $6 online or $8 at the door.

The Moth: Phoenix Story Slam

Crescent Ballroom
308 North Second Avenue


Crescent Ballroom holds open-mic storytelling competitions each month, which are inspired by The Moth mainstage story slams. Anyone who wants to perform puts their name in a hat and is drawn at random. Performers get five minutes each. Doors open at 7 p.m. for 8 p.m. performances. The event is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $15.

Walk-in Wednesday

Tempe Center for the Arts
700 West Rio Salado Parkway


Tempe Center for the Performing Arts presents this open mic series on Wednesday evenings from January through May, then September through November. Local musicians and poets can present two works in 10 minutes. There’s a 5 p.m. signup for each 6 p.m. event. Youth can sign up by 4:45 p.m. for the 5 p.m. youth performance.

WordPlay Cafe

The Nile
105 West Main Street


Mesa Arts Center presents free WordPlay Cafe open mic nights on the third Thursday of the month at The Nile. Each night has a different theme, and both emerging and established creatives can sign up to perform when they arrive. The open mic nights start at 7 p.m. There will be a ticketed championship performance on April 4 at Mesa Arts Center.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble