Word Up a pillar of creativity and community


author: ethan butterfielda&c writer

Abenstein’s work with Word Up has empowered young emerging artists for years. | Karli Jessup

General manager Cat Abenstein on young Regina artists.

Literacy is something that is noticed less and less as we go through the walks of life. Sure, we’ll always have the great authors of our time such as Stephen King, Clive Barker and Margaret Atwood, but writing as a craft, in general, seems to be going further down the rabbit hole. While there may always be storywriters, poets, and columnists around to fill the gap, it looks like writing seems to be on a more slippery slop lately.

Thankfully, we have series such as Regina Word Up to remind people that there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a little creative here and there. General manager Cat Abenstein of the Creative City Centre was kind enough to provide more information on the program.

“It allows emerging and established performance or literary artists the opportunity to perform work through competitive events like poetry slams and non competitive events…youth stages and open mics,” said Abenstein.

Regina Word Up is in its fifth year of programming at the Creative City Centre in downtown Regina. It’s quite a lengthy series all in all, chalking up anywhere from two to three events in a single month. The season itself runs from June until September. The shows are fairly clean when considering how far, for lack of a better term, radical poetry can get. There’s no nudity, no hate-speech, and no props. Just you, three pieces of short poems, and an audience to share them with. Doesn’t get any simpler then that.

Don’t expect it to get too easy, though. The beauty of Regina Word Up is that you don’t just get to share your work, but there is also a bit of healthy competition thrown in as well. Before readings begin, five judges are chosen from the crowd to judge the pieces that are read out before them. A score is then provided afterward with a rank out of thirty points altogether.

“We want to be the nexus of spoken word in Regina,” Abenstein adds. “We dream of partnerships and collaborations with other groups…we want to offer workshop opportunities for new, emerging and established artists to develop their work; we want to mentor and inspire and engage; we want to do meaningful work; we want to be a strong, inclusive, diverse voice reflective of our community and inviting to others.”

With successful collaborations and featured artists, it’s no secret why this program has been able to thrive. Artists such as Cassidy McFadzean and Erin Cotton, who presented at the U of R on March 17 for those who didn’t have a chance to check it out.

For those looking to get themselves involved in this wonderfully unique and interesting spoken-word performance, you can follow the details below presented by Cat:

“If folks want to get involved, and I highly recommend it, they can follow Regina Word Up (@reginawordup/#reginawordup) or email reginawordup@gmail.com. They can also subscribe to the Creative City Centre’s events on Facebook and they will receive notifications of upcoming events. Most of our events are sign up at the door and are very, very beginner friendly!”
I’ll be attending one of these events myself to check out the energy-filled crowds, the talented range of individuals that the Queen City has to offer and the passion for writing that people can still have. Regina Word Up is 110 per cent worth checking out, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it keeps growing at the rate it has been.



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