The dust has officially been shaken; so much so, that it now covers the Barbican Theatre in a grey coating. A gaggle of young adults from five different schools within the Plymouth area, have gone from being typical teenagers into word weavers, into sonnet speakers, into poets.

The Shake the Dust regional final occurred this Friday. It was an electric, inspiring night; brimming with fresh, raw talent provided by the next generation of poets. Those poets spoke their hearts. Let rip from their depths and left us all open mouthed and eager for more.

Myself and Lucy Lepchani had the honour of mentoring eight young pupils from Sir John Hunt; Stephen, Rhaya, Conner, Alisha, Georgi. Jade, Kennedy and Luke. Hade the honour of seeing them grow and bloom alongside each other. Had the honor of watching their awkwardness turn into confidence, their school books into works of art, their words into bullets.

Sir John Hunt gathered the award for the most courageous writing. The pupils  took risks on stage, unafraid and unashamed and the gold trophy proved that. Apart from the incredible highest scoring team, Tor Bridge High who are now heading to the nationals, Brook Green moved me so deeply, with humility and honesty in their performances and words. Stoke Dameral were so dynamic and inspiring,  Voices For Change were indeed the voices that spoke for us all, high, mighty and powerful.

When those pupils choose to express themselves rather then allow their insecurities to inhibit them. When they told us all how being fourteen felt they won. When they shared their fragility, their honesty and themselves, on a dimly lit stage in Plymouth. They became poets, every single one of them.


The National final is fast approaching, and it’s going to be massive!

NATIONAL SHAKE THE DUST WEEKEND Thursday 5 – Saturday 7 July @ Southbank Centre