Sally Jenkinson South West Poet Coach tells us about the exceptional spoken word that happened at her regional final…this is wow!

Well, the Shake the Dust South West regional final was an emotional roller-coaster to say the least. A full day of workshops and activities, before evening’s event, meant all the school and groups participating had plenty of time to get to know each other, and get nervous!

My favoutiye bit- as part of the day’s preparation, we held an open mic in the Barbican Theatre’s studio space, which gave us chance to see a range of individual talents. People recited poems, sang songs, did a bit of stand up and of course, told us some poems! Martha, a member of my Voices for Change group, read a funny, beautiful, visceral poem about vampiric ex-boyfriends, though she assured us it wasn’t from personal experience! Her performance was so confident and expressive, she looked as if she’d been doing it for years. It made me wonder how many Shake the Dust participants we are going to see popping up on flyers for poetry nights and festivals over the next few years.

I was so proud of my group for their performance in the final, and it was a real pleasure to sit and watch what all the other groups had come up with. It’s amazing what beautiful words and performances can come together over just 10 workshops. My heart was in my mouth when our group went up on stage, they’ve worked really hard and come up against all kinds of challenges along the way- half our performers had GCSE exams to sit on the actual final, and due to surprise visit to Romania and other unforeseen circumstances, we lost two brilliant team members just two days before the performance! But despite the adversity they did an amazing job and so did all the other teams. I was proud to be part of the whole show.

Good luck to Stoke Damerel in London and thanks to all the teams for an evening of exciting, innovative and unusual poetry. You all made my toes tingle!

Shake the Dust is the Uk’s biggest spoken word youth slam EVER! It has inspired thousands of young people from up and down the country, giving them a platform to express themselves and speak out using Spoken Word.

We have had our regional finals where the young people absolutely smashed it! The National final is fast approaching, and it’s going to be massive!

Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 July @ The Southbank Centre London…
See you there!