The culmination of over 5 months worth of workshopping, team forming, poetry writing, performance developing and life-altering personal journey’s:

Nottingham Playhouse was near-visually quaking with the approaching passionate voices of region East Midland’s Shake The Dust slam teams, each ready to showcase their poems on a looming stage where 4 mic stands stood nervously with baited breath.

Host Debris Stevenson revealed she felt like welling up simply knowing the stage she stood on was soon to welcome the invaluable words of young people in the presence of an auditorium filled with a real undercurrent of family, before she stepped down and each team well and truly siezed that invitation to speak out.

Every group offered something uniquely theirs and no two pieces were even close to the same: hoodied rap-like Iphone App chants, brave expressing of what it is to be a young mum, a troubled love scientist seeking a girl’s heart via scientific chat-up lines and exploration of truce between a pencil sharpener and pencil..barely scratch the surface of a night that went far deeper than the slam poems themselves.

It’s testament to the young people themselves that throughout the night it was they who collectively cheered the loudest, laughed the hardest and congratulated teams on their performance as they returned to their seats more directly than anyone else inside the venue.

Fitting, then, that though highest scoring team Tuxford Academy had the prospect of a national final in London to celebrate, a post-show after party of poetry tracks and dj beats found a blur of teachers, parents, poet coaches, shadows, and of course, the competing teams moving and shaking the dust off their dance moves with a definite spirit of togetherness and community.

Though the music inevitably calmed and faded from the Playhouse’s confides, the impact and value of a night like this will ring through some of the ears of those involved, for the rest of their lives.