As an event that showcases itself as an ‘open performance space for different mediums of expression and experimentation,’ I was apprehensive about going to my first ever Cowshed Showcase. As someone who has little confidence in performing, the very idea of others putting themselves out there with their own work was something I could not imagine. Over the course of one evening, Cowshed put my worries to rest.
Tucked away in the corner of the Byre Bar, with artwork on the walls and two microphones placed before a small stage, Cowshed was an intimate and welcoming event. The performances ranged from a reading of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee? to an inspired feminist rap at the end of the night, with appreciative applause after every piece. While the event was intimate, the venue meant that, throughout the evening, passers-by would stop, standing by the bar or watching from the floor above, and appreciate the poetry and short stories along with us. The evening felt inclusive and informal, with the organisers encouraging everyone to join in and spend ten minutes writing a poem with the prompt, ‘April is the cruellest month.’
As was mentioned to us at the beginning of the night, this month is National Poetry Month in America, giving us all the perfect excuse to get inspired and write some poetry (one participant mentioned that she was writing a poem every day as a result!). With such a great atmosphere, and so many encouraging listeners, I would highly recommend the Cowshed Showcase to any aspiring poets.