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On a chilly Central Otago evening, the air brims with inspiration as poets and musicians gather in the malt room of a local brewery.

On June 8, a crowd of around 30 gathered at Rhyme x Reason in Wanaka for Creative Juices – an evening of poetry and spoken word.

The monthly event organised by Zoe Hawkins and Georgia Merton was created to highlight the hidden poetic talents within the Upper Clutha area.

Zoe Hawkins said since its inception there had been overwhelming interest and support.

“Everyone just came out of the woodwork. There’s a good solid crew from Lake Hawea, Hawea Flat and Queenstown,” Ms Hawkins said.

“We try to get a lot of poets, because people aren’t exposed to that.”

The first event in March 2021 was reflective of the need in the community for a safe space to perform poetry, spoken word and original music.

“People couldn’t get through the door. It was an amazing moment. Then, the ones that came to the first event as audience members, a few months later would stand up and perform, often saying they were inspired from the first one,” Ms Hawkins said.

The inspiration to start Creative Juices began when Zoe Hawkins was hiking with co-founder Georgia Merton.

“I was feeling very uninspired and overwhelmed, and we said why don’t we start a little writing group,” Ms Hawkins said.

That group consisted of Zoe Hawkins, Georgia Merton, Liz Breslin and Laura Williamson, and met regularly to write poetry.

Ms Breslin and Ms Williamson previously ran the Poetry Justice open mic night in the area.

Due to other commitments they were unable to continue so asked Ms Hawkins and Ms Merton if they would be interested in reviving the evenings

“Lots of people were asking for it, like some of the old performers,” Ms Hawkins said.

Despite some initial self-doubt, the pieces fell into place when Rhyme x Reason Brewery expressed interest in hosting the events.

The open mic nights began in the malt room, before overcrowding led them to shift to the main bar area.

The events were briefly put on hold when Ms Hawkins had her second child, but continued as of last month.

Creative Juices takes place every second Wednesday of the month at Rhyme x Reason from 7pm.

Ten open slots are allocated each month for guest performers to share poetry, spoken words or music.