Our mandate is to support local, regional and national artists of all genders, races and ages to have a safe space to create and share poetry while simultaneously exposing audiences to professional artists and continuing the honored tradition of spoken word. Urban Legends was established to give an avenue for spoken word artists to perform their work in a welcoming and alcohol-free establishment. This distinction came about as Ottawa has a large Muslim community and due to religious restrictions, many artists did not have a venue to perform. The alcohol-free venue also encourages youth to both contribute as audience and performer.
Artistic expression can be a form of positive healing and the creation of a space to explore gender, race and sexual identity among other struggles is what we intend on putting forward as a programming vision. By inviting artists of varying backgrounds, skill levels and intended topics, we intend on showing our audiences and local performing artists a point of view that may resonate with them and give them the courage to themselves explore parts of their own lives. Currently, we have two shows within the collective: “Urban Legends Poetry Slam” and “Pancakes and Poetry”. The poetry slam includes three portions: an open mic, a poetry competition and a feature performance by a professional artist. The open mic and poetry slam have an open sign-up with no restrictions to who can perform thus encouraging a welcoming nature, community and inclusion. The feature performer for the poetry slam is an invited performer that illuminates the various styles and topics of spoken word. “Pancakes and Poetry” is a new series where we bring forward a theme or a group to highlight and invite poets to perform. Beginning this winter, we will be having monthly writing circles to encourage collaboration and community growth. Urban Legends will also be helping the City of Ottawa with their High School Poetry Slam. The prize for this competition last year was a paid feature performance spot on our stage.