If a Mathmo leaving their audience in fits of laughter in a stand-up routine about resin is your thing, stick with us.
If you like original music and covers, duets, poetry and a warm setting, then you may already know about Caius Open Mic, which took place in Michaelmas Term in the Old Courts Underbar. The events are returning in Lent Term with a new day and venue – fortnightly on Sundays at Harvey Court, beginning on Sunday 29 January.
“I’ve been so impressed by not only the standard of performance but also the confidence people have had. I’ve been blown away,” says Jacob Carey (Music 2021).
Jacob is co-founder of Caius Open Mic with Alicia Lorenzo (MML (French, Italian, Portuguese) 2021). A member of the Choir and Music student, he was also aware of the performing talent of Caians.
“It came to me last summer,” he says. “We found as freshers we were always going to other colleges for social events. There are so many talented musicians in our College. I thought why not give a platform to musicians, but also to stand up, spoken word and stuff like that.”
Jacob contacted Alicia, who is sociable, engaging, and, crucially, encouraging. “She’s been incredible,” he says.
Alicia says: “Jacob messaged me in the summer saying ‘I’ve got an idea’ and sent me seven voice notes. He asked me to recruit acts.”
With the support of the GCSU, particularly president Natalia Emsley, Jacob and Alicia saw their idea realised. When the pair began working on the initial concept, they had no idea how successful it would be. It has outgrown the Underbar – a venue with a capacity of around 70 people – and can now reach a bigger audience.
With Rhys Griffiths (English 2021) an ideal Master of Ceremonies, Caius Open Mic has become a hot ticket, helped by a Varsity review headlined ‘90 minutes of glee’.
Alicia says: “The first night was so busy. We didn’t anticipate it. It was so much more popular than we ever thought. The bar was run dry!”
The popularity of the first two events meant the next two had to be ticketed, but only to avoid uncomfortable and unsafe overcrowding. Follow Caius Open Mic on Instagram for more information – and look out for the Lent Term shows.
Having coerced friends to perform, others also signed up and the event grew. The fact nearly everyone who had performed in the first show signed up to perform in the next was testimony to the success, Jacob says.
Jacob adds: “It’s such a supportive and encouraging environment. It’s a credit to the people that go to Caius. It’s a reflection of inclusivity.”
Alicia adds: “It gives people who wouldn’t usually put themselves out there a platform to perform.
“It has really made a name for itself.”
Each show has around eight acts and the majority of the audience are Caians. But the night is open to all University students. Jacob has no plans to perform himself, although Alicia may use her powers of persuasion.
“We are simply facilitating the College’s talent,” Jacob says.
Jacob and Alicia enthusiastically reel off a variety of acts and recall specific performances.
Performers sign a noticeboard which is adorned with Polaroid photos of their presence, for posterity. Much like the comedy, the memories will stick.
Alicia says: “Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I think a lot of big names are going to come out of Caius Open Mic!”
:: Follow Caius Open Mic on Instagram for more information – and look out for the Lent Term shows.