City of Leeds offers a good all-round education, developing pupils as people and as citizens to take an active part in their own and their community’s lives.  Every child is known as an individual and we do our best to offer a curriculum that suits the needs of all our pupils.  We are a thoroughly inclusive school that provides equality of opportunity for all.  Students are encouraged to excel academically, physically, artistically, creatively and emotionally.

Poet Coach: Becky Cherriman

Becky Cherriman is a commissioned writer, creative writing facilitator, and prize-winning performer based in Leeds. She regularly runs creative writing workshops across Yorkshire.

Becky believes that not only do writing and the spoken word help us to make sense of the world and our place in it but that they provide us with tools to transform the world and our own lives.

Shadow Artist: Saju Iqbal

Saju is a rappoet, whose work attacks social problems and suggests a new way of breaking stereotypes, switching styles from wordplay to metaphors.

His writing brings reality to the stage, juggling topics from streets to teenage love. Born and raised in Harehills Leeds, with a mixed heritage of Bangladeshi and Irish, Saju Ahmed grew up inspired by the clashing cultures of the streets, the stories and melodic rebellion of Hip Hop, influencing his own internal sound track.

He first started writing poetry when he was introduced Leeds Young Authors’ Khadijah Ibrahiim. He was part of LYA’s annual individual slam, where he won a place to go to New York City for international poetry slam Brave New Voice. He is currently working on an album.


The Grammar School at Leeds has an excellent record of academic achievement, learning at the school extends far beyond the classroom, with opportunities for a wide range of creative, sporting and intellectual activities and trips. English is a vibrant department where there is always something going on to enhance the curriculum – from theatre trips to performance opportunities, from debating to creative writing or news reporting as a member of the school’s own press gang.

English teacher Jenny Webb said, “We have recently celebrated our own creative writing festival at GSAL, where we worked with local primary schools and six Leeds poets to give children the chance to develop their writing skills. All pupils displayed huge enthusiasm throughout, experiencing the written and spoken word in new ways through which they could express their individuality. Taking part in Shake the Dust is just what our students need to take their skills to the next level!”

Poet Coach: Rommi Smith

Rommi Smith is a poet and playwright. She has held numerous international residencies for organisations ranging from the British Council to the BBC. Rommi was Poet in Residence for the Commonwealth Games and appointed Parliamentary Writer in Residence, the first such appointment in British history.

Rommi currently teaches creative writing at a host of institutions, including The Arvon Foundation and the Poetry School. She is delighted to feature in We Are Poets, the award-winning film celebrating Leeds’ Poetry scene, through the stories of six-young poets, whom she mentored to attend Brave New Voices. Her first collection is Mornings and Midnights.

Rommi is delighted to have acted as consultant/advisor to Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakul Karman, during preparations for her speech to Parliament in 2011. She has been awarded a prestigious Hedgebrook Fellowship in the United States, where she will complete her next collection of poems.

Shadow Artist: Joe Kriss

Joe Kriss is a poet, editor, promoter and workshop facilitator based in Sheffield. He’s been performing his own work for about 4 years, running events for 3, and co-editing Now Then magazine for a year and a half. From all of the projects he works on, including workshops, he believes in words and their power to move people.

Joe went to his first poetry reading in his late teens, sceptical and bored. He was completely drawn into a performance for the first time and realised the potential impact poetry could have in a live setting. He says that the best part of his job is creating situations and atmospheres where poetry is showcased effectively, encouraging transformative experiences through art and watching people perform their own work. By producing events, publications and workshops Joe hopes that he can make it possible for other people to have similar positive experiences.


Ralph Thoresby School is a vibrant 11-19 community comprehensive and specialist arts colege located on the north-west fringe of Leeds.

Poet Coach: Sai Murray

Saimurai (Sai Murray) is a writer, poet, artist, graphic designer of Pomfretian-Bajan heritage. In a former life he worked in advertising, which forms the basis of his debut novel, Kill Myself Now: The True Confessions of an Advertising Genius.

Saimurai is a regular performer of spoken word across the UK. In 2008 he toured New York, Philadelphia and Washington as part of the FWords: Creative Freedom project and in 2009 he was one of 2 commissioned poets from African Writers Abroad to work with PLATFORM on the C Words project – an investigation into Carbon, Culture, Climate & Capital.

His poetry, essays and short stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. He currently runs creative writing workshops with the radical arts organisation Artists in Mind, is resident spoken word artist for Southwark 2007 and Beyond and is a poet coach for the Leeds Young Authors’ Team Poetry Slam.

Shadow Artist: Rheima Robinson

19 year old MC Rheima challenges the stereotypes of the grime world with her individual swagger. Being one of the original members of Leeds Young Authors, Rheima has performed in both the States and UK. Her first international performance was in San Francisco at the Brave New Voices literature festival in April 2005 at age 13.

Ever since her writing has continued to develop and she has been a mentor to young people, delivering creative writing workshops, she was the second person only from the UK to be selected as a Future Corporation member at Brave New Voices and had the honour of working along side professional and published poets and professors. We Are Poets film documentary featuring Rheima and her journey to slam in Washington 2009 was also released in 2011.


Carr Manor High School is a forward thinking school in North East Leeds that has made significant progress over recent years in improving outcomes for pupils. Providing an inclusive and caring environment, we take pride in knowing our children well and in providing substantial support to pupils and colleagues to enable effective teaching and learning.

The school emphasises teaching, learning and good behaviour. As a Specialist Sports College we are able to pilot new initiatives and lead the way in Sport for the benefit of our pupils, staff and the community. We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and young people, staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

Poet Coach: Andy Brooks AKA Testament

Testament AKA Andy Brooks was born in London and now resides in Leeds in the north of England. Testament’s version of the British experience is informed through mixed cultural heritage, faith and social commentary all seen through the lens of Hip-Hop. Critically acclaimed as a lyricist, his work ties together strands of rap, song and spoken word.

Testament has facilitated workshops since 1998 in the UK and further afield in Europe, Asia and the US. Clients have ranged from Universities and the BBC, to Libraries and Young Offender’s institutions, as well as in Schools and Community Groups.

Testament is also part of human beatbox group Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra at Southbank Centre. Testament is currently working on his second studio album under the artist name Homecut.

Shadow Artist: Zodwa Nyoni

Zodwa Nyoni is a Zimbabwean-born performance poet, playwright and workshop facilitator based in Leeds, UK. She started writing with Leeds Young Authors, a community based performance poetry group in 2005.

As a member of LYA, she represented the United Kingdom at the Brave New Voices Poetry Slam in New York City. In addition she has worked as a youth mentor and workshop facilitator for LYA and in schools, in and around Leeds. Her poetry publications include: The Suitcase Book of Love Poems, and Aesthetica Magazine.

She has performed her poetry all across the UK.


First Floor is West Yorkshire Playhouse‘s venue just for young people, where they can come and take part in creative activities. At First Floor we want to help young people to learn new skills, discover new talents and interests and meet new people. We want to help you find out what you’re good at and develop it. We also want young people to be able to learn about the different kinds of jobs within a theatre and find out how to get more experience or training.

Poet Coach: Paulette Morris

Biography coming soon.

Shadow Artist: Hannah Robinson

Hannah Robinson is an aspiring performer and creative writer from Leeds. She have devoted the last six years of her life to developing her creative passions.

Hannah’s theatre work includes several performances at Wakefield Theatre Royal and Wakefield Arts Centre and she has also gained a HND qualification in Performing Arts.

Writing poetry, lyrics, scripts and short stories has been her form of salvation since the beginning of her life. She is currently working on an anthology project with her creative writing group. The power of the written word has provided me with an outlet of self-expression and she simply couldn’t imagine her world without it.