Group offers auditions for poetry slam to raise funds for African mission trip

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A group of K-State students, known as “Print:Relief,” is offering local writers the opportunity to showcase their talent by presenting auditions tonight and Thursday for a literary rock show, called “They Only Come Out at Night.”

The event, which promoters said will mirror a battle of-the-bands, has three categories: poetry, prose and freestyle. Auditions are from 7 to 10 both nights in Room 212 at the K-State Student Union.

“A lot of people in Manhattan write, but they don’t have an outlet to get that writing out there. They just keep it to themselves, which is a shame,” said Matthew Schuler, senior in mass communications and member of Print:Relief. “We’re trying to provide a venue for creativity. Another thing is, by participating, you’re helping Africa.”

All proceeds from the event will support Print:Relief’s up-coming community development work in Miso, a slum near Capetown, South Africa.

“It’s an artsy thing to begin with because we’re starting a T-shirt printing shop, so we’ll be training people how to produce good graphic design, as well as make money for themselves and teach them how to survive,” said Caitlin Wetherlit, junior in graphic design at K-State and cross-cultural ministries at Manhattan Christian College.

When Print:Relief arrives overseas, members will team up with All Nations, an organization that builds churches around the world. Print:Relief’s Christian beliefs are the primary inspiration for the project, Wetherlit said.

“Because we are born in a wealthy culture, we’re born with responsibility to be aware of the suffering of the world and to do something about it; as Christians, we have even more responsibility,” she said. “Jesus is the ultimate hope for all men, and when Jesus is a part of economic development and aid overseas, that’s when you really see change, and you see whole lives and whole communities and regions transformed.”

Several people have already decided to support Print:Relief’s mission, and show off their best work, by signing up to audition.

“I just thought it would be fun to share my writing with a larger group,” said Alyssa Reeves, senior in English, who plans to audition. “It will be fun to have more people hear my writing because I don’t plan on writing professionally or anything, so it’s kind of a last-chance thing.”

Though Reeves said it is important to her to present her work before she graduates, she said there are many great reasons for others to audition.

“Well, there’s cash prizes, so that’s a good reason,” she said. “It’s just for fun, though mostly, and it’s a chance to be heard. Maybe someone will hear what [someone is] writing and think it’s really good and give [someone] a booking or something. It will be cool, especially when other people share what talent Manhattan has that people don’t necessarily know about.”

A panel of judges will score each piece. Eight participants will be selected from each category to perform and compete at “They Only Come Out at Night” on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Dusty Bookshelf. Print:Relief offers three prizes for each category: $30 for first place, $20 for second and $10 for third.

“It’s going for a good cause, and [participants] have the chance to win some fairly significant cash,” Schuler said. “If someone entered each category and won in each category, they’d get 90 bucks, and they’d only have to pay five. Read something you wrote, pay five bucks and you might win change – it’s a pretty good deal.”

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