This Thursday, July 7th, an open-mic event will be held at Darb 17 18 in Fustat. Up on The Roof was created by British artist Linda Cleary as a monthly open-stage night that gives both aspiring and established artists the chance to perform and try out new material. The line-up includes poetry, spoken word, stand-up comedy, narratives, music, script reading, dance and theatre; the performances are usually the artists’ original material.
Cleary was inspired to begin the event to provide more opportunities to perform in Cairo.
'As an artist myself, I felt I wanted more outlets for performance, and I was also aware of the wealth of talent and emerging artists who were not getting their work out to an audience,’ she told Cairo 360.
‘The roof works all ways; it provides a platform to deliver work to an audience and it also allows everyone to enjoy the diverse artistic work out there and network with each other. It's also a great night out.’
The event hosts mainly local artists, including well-known talents, such as hip-hop artist Mohamed El Deeb and Anglo-Egyptian singer/song-writer Tamara Yousry.
Yousry is a regular at Up on The Roof, where she loves performing.
'I never sing more than two songs, but it gives me a chance to enjoy sharing with people whatever songs I've been humming along to in the house,’ she told Cairo 360. ‘It's also a great place to experiment with your creativity without being judged. I sang acapella one night; you'd never get the chance to do this anywhere else, but it was so much fun.’
Yousry believes that Up on The Roof is an important event, as there aren’t enough outlets for Cairenes to express their talents in.
‘Up on the Roof is the perfect answer for this,’ she explained. ‘It's also just a fun night with so many diverse and eclectic people. How could this not be good?’
Up on the Roof provides the opportunity for emerging artists to try out new material in a safe, welcoming environment. Amira Salah-Ahmed, the business editor of Daily News Egypt, attended the first event as an audience member and then set herself a challenge to perform next time.
‘I'd never performed anything really; especially nothing as personal as my own writing,’ she said. ‘So I challenged myself to do it, and it was a big deal for me. I read my poetry at the second open stage, with a lot of encouragement from Linda and support from friends, and got positive feedback. So I've been part of it ever since.’
As the event has become more successful with the numbers of attendees continually increasing, Up on the Roof has recently moved to Darb 17 18. Cleary describes Darb 17 18 as 'a fabulous place and one of the truest and most supportive arts venues in Cairo.'
When asked how it feels to be the creator of such a successful event, Cleary said: 'The success is down to those that perform and attend. Sure it takes a lot of organizing and I sometimes wish I was performing more myself; there is often no space in the line-up for me as I leave myself till last; but we all make the event happen.'
So if you fancy yourself as a stand-up comic, want to try out new material, or simply want to soak up the cultural ambience, head to Darb 1718 on July 7th from 7:30PM. Spots for this month’s event are fully booked and it’s essential to book your place early. Up on the Roof is held on the first Thursday of every month. For more information check out the Up on the Roof Facebook page or the Darb website.