We are happy to say that it was a great success!

After several months of preparations, the Nighttales poetry slam finally took place on 6 November. Poetry, performance and fairy tale books from the Maastricht University (UM) Special Collections came together in the former fire station at Capucijnenstraat 21.

Due to the collaboration with Nightscapes Productions, the location was transformed into an amazingly cosy and mysterious place, decorated with different kinds of lampshades, artworks made out of old books, ambient lightning and a stage covered in book pages. Sitting on the pillows that were spread out on the floor, the audience could make themselves comfortable and get ready for the performances that this night had to offer. The atmosphere and location worked very well with the poetry .

UM Special Collections and Poetry slamming

The curator of the UM Special Collections, Odin Essers, welcomed everybody and introduced how selected fairy tale books from these collections had been the inspiration for the poems of the performing slammers. The magical opening performance by Katrin and David that followed was also a mix of texts based on the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, accompanied by enchanting acoustic guitar music. This was a great way to set the atmosphere for the upcoming poetry battles!

Students from different faculties and nationalities performed their poetry during the 3 rounds of poetry battles. Each time two students performed their poems on stage, after which the audience could decide the winner by holding up either a green or yellow card. In all of the poems, the connection to the mysterious fairytale books was visible in different ways. Some of them were for example based on stories like ‘Red Riding Hood’ of ‘Little Mermaid’. In others the connection was more subtle; like in a poem that was written from the monsters’ point of view. After the final battle, the public decided that student Rudy Hykl (European Law) was the winner of the public prize. He overwhelmed the audience with his diverse poems, performed in a very surprising manner; for example accompanied by a Polish song, or in the voice of a robot from the future.
During the slam, also a jury was present. They consisted of Barbara Beckers (Chief librarian SHCL), Ben de Bruyn (FASoS) and Noortje Fischer (SG). The jury’s expertise on poetry (slamming) gave the audience more insight to the content of the poetry. After each round of battles, they gave the slammers feedback on their poetry and performance. Besides that, they had the power to give out a ‘wildcard’ for one of the candidates at the end of round 1, and pronounce a special jury winner at the end of the poetry slam. Student Bob Van de Sande (European Studies) won the jury prize with his poems which he performed in a quick, ‘raplike’ manner.

Exhibition Golden Age of Illustration

In between battles, a visit to the fairy tale exhibition was absolutely worthwhile to make. Beautiful pictures illustrated by various ‘Golden Age’ illustrators were here at display. Even a few real books from the closed stacks were there to admire.

A night full of fascinating, magical experiences was finalized by the folky tunes of Italian band ‘Marischka Connection’. It was a successful and memorable night, with poetry of mystery and fairy tales.

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