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Pandora’s Box open-mic nights

Read your poems, stories and scripts in front of a live audience at our popular Pandora’s Box open-mic nights.

At the University of Chester, students and tutors are passionate about creative writing. Our community reaches beyond the classroom into other venues with our famous Pandora’s Box open-mic nights, which run four times a year.

Here students and tutors have a wonderful opportunity to read out and perform their poems, flash fiction, stories and scripts. In between performances there are fun competitions – all in a relaxing and convivial atmosphere with a glass or two of wine!

Each year at our May open-mic night we launch the Department of English’s magazine, Pandora’s Box, featuring some of the best poetry, flash fiction and short stories by our students and tutors.

The magazine is edited by third-year BA Creative Writing students under the general editorship of a tutor.

Pandora’s Box Issue 18 2020

As well as being an occasion for celebration, the open-mic nights prepare students as creative writers and performers when it comes to events beyond the University. They also help build confidence when it comes to speaking or making presentations in front of other types of audience, for example a school classroom, a local community group, or a meeting of colleagues at work.

Here are some comments by our students about the nights …


  • ‘I've made some of my best friends through Pandora's, who I've stayed close to throughout university and will probably keep for life. The atmosphere is unique. It's allowed me to feel comfortable speaking in front of people in that informal setting. The sense of community that Pandora's brings to the English department has been invaluable to me personally and in the development of my writing.’
  • I love attending the English department’s open mic nights because it has such a great atmosphere. Everyone who attends has a shared passion for reading and writing, which makes it a great forum to share your writing in. It’s really helped me to feel more comfortable with standing up in front of a group of people and reading out my work. I’d definitely recommend going to anyone!
  • ‘The open-mic nights are an excellent way to build confidence, both in your work and yourself. I feel way more proud of my writing after I’ve shared it They’re the perfect scenario for meeting people and building new friendships. I love the open-mic nights, they’re definitely the highlight of my university experience!’
  • ‘Open-mic nights are a fun way of getting to know other people that are interested in writing and a way to feel encouraged and inspired about reading/writing your own work. It's a great middle-ground between having a good time bonding with friends and learning about other work that's out there. This has been something that I have always enjoyed throughout my time in Chester, as there is always a casual and welcoming atmosphere.’
  • 'Everyone is warm and encouraging, and there is no judgement at all. Come along, bring a friend and something to drink and perhaps a copy of a poem or a story that you’ve written too. I haven’t missed an open-mic since that first one – you will soon see why!'

Find out more about Pandora’s Box and the open-mic nights.

If this sort of student experience appeals to you, you should check out these exciting programmes offered by the Department:

We hope to see you at one of the University’s Open Days.