The Middle East’s longest-running open mic night returns to The Arts Center with a showcase of locally based poets and musicians

Abu Dhabi, September 23, 2018: Presented by The Arts Center with official support from the US Embassy Abu Dhabi, Rooftop Rhythms invites audiences to witness a dynamic series of performances by both leading and up-and-coming UAE-based musicians and poets presenting original material.

The seventh season for the series kicks off with its first open mic night of the season on Friday, September 28 at 8pm at The Marketplace on NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) campus. As the Middle East’s longest-running open mic night, Rooftop Rhythms offers local audiences the opportunity to experience culturally-diverse voices in the form of spoken word, poetry, and music.

Rooftop Rhythms is hosted by its founder Dorian Paul Rogers, an award-winning poet , and features the smooth sounds of DJ A.L.L.A.D. The season opening event features a guest featured set from renowned creative poet Bertrand Boyd, who will share his artful passion through his dynamic mastery over the craft of the spoken word.

Rogers said, “As a performance poet and events coordinator in the US, it was only natural that I started a poetry open mic night when I moved here in late 2011. The beautiful element was that the UAE already had a long-standing love with poetry, mainly Arabic poetry. Also, the large influx of Americans and Westerners who were familiar to poetry open mics made it the perfect time, space, and opportunity to start an even like Rooftop Rhythms in 2012.

“After a two to three seasons of hosting our main poetry open mic night, we naturally started expanding with Arabic poetry open mike nights and live music events. From there, we decided to offer creative nightlife concepts. In seven years we have successfully grown from a poetry collective to a thriving culture, arts, and nightlife movement with the goal of uniting people of all walks of life through positivity and quality entertainment. We currently have a wide-range of culture, arts, and nightlife events ranging from poetry nights in both English and Arabic, live music events, silent parties which include three DJs playing at the same time while people choose the party with wireless headphones, and a lip sync event. Our belief is that we will grow organically by word of mouth if people continue to have valuable experiences when they attend one of our events.”

Seeking to foster local talent, Rooftop Rhythms encourages audiences and creative artists alike to cast aside geographical differences and language barriers in order to find common ground in learning, love, and exploration. Previous series have welcomed audiences of more than 300 attendees of local and expatriate origins, helping to inspire a contemporary poetry renaissance across the UAE and wider GCC region.

Following opening night, the series continues with a monthly installment of open mic nights, punctuated by highly competitive poetry slams, including the fifth Annual Rhyme-O-Ween set to take place on October 26 and the series’ seventh Anniversary Show set for March 29, 2019. Rooftop Rhythm’s season will close with the Grand Slam Finale Competition on April 19. Further details on all monthly installments can be found here.

Executive Artistic Director at NYUAD Arts Center Bill Bragin said: “Through Rooftop Rhythms, Dorian Paul Rogers has galvanized the creative community of the UAE over the past 7 years, and we have been delighted to adopt it as part of our season since 2016. It’s a place that brings ongoing revelations as to the talented artists in our midst, and gives audiences a chance to meet like-minded lovers of poetry, honoring and extending the tradition of this revered artform in the UAE. The works shared can be funny, pointed, poignant, and inspiring, sometimes all in the same piece. Rooftop Rhythms is one of those events that helps you to understand the UAE even better.”