West Midlands Smash Boundaries in Shake the Dust Regional Final…

To see all images of the West Midlands Shake the Dust Regional Final please click here 

Puberty, media brainwash, cultural divisions, gossiping and the actions of Truce were the subjects of West Midland’s teen poetry teams in the Regional Final on Saturday 9th of June. The past few months have been occupied with poetic creations throughout middle England, celebrating youth writing skills and the power performance can bring to the written word.

Four teams from all corners of the west midlands fused together in an evening of spoken word, forming theatrical stage craft with seemly metaphors and a courageous stage presence, stimulating the crowd into abundant applause after every single performance!

Our West Midland Slamers!

Each team was looked after by a poet coach and assisting shadow who strategized teaching approaches that highlighted each of their own opposing styles to enlighten the students from Broadway School of Aston, Stockland Green School of Erdington, Queensbridge School of Moseley and Woodrush Youth Group of Wythall of the multiple writing forms and performers that make up a multi-genre Spoken Word scene.

They delivered a series of writing workshops surrounding the structure of poems, the contribution of writing formats, sound approach, alliteration, the effects of rhyme and vocal approaches in which students embraced to write pieces based on selected theme “Truce” as well a separate themes that the group chose. The students spent weeks and weeks working together to form their final pieces, merging each personal poem into just three minutes of collaborative genius, whilst weaving performance within and around each sentence to emphasize the emotive side of their work.

All four teams came together on the day of the West Mids regional final, celebrating their efforts and the creativeness of others in their age groups. Starting early, poet coaches graced the stage with a performances of their personal work. Each coach presented poetry from multiple themes, giving a wide variety of unique styles that further drew inspiration around the tables of adoring teams, celebrating rap, the emotional effect teaching has, rules of the playground and experiences of teaching.

The teams were then split into groups that combined the participants of the project who scurried off into workshops delivered by poet coaches Andy Craven Griffiths, Spoz, Dreadlock Alien, Matt Windle and Brenda Read-Brown. These workshops built on performance and writing skill, collaborating youths from the different schools to stimulate group interaction and poetry creation before the teams came together again to practice and prepare for the finale.

Worcestershire Poet Laureate

Host SicNis’ Numi introduced the teams and delivered a grime performance that highlighted the MC approach to creative writing. The judges took their seats and Worcestershire Poet Laureate – Laura Dedicoat opened the show with a Spoken Word performance based on gossip in the playground (very well suited for the crowd of teenage composers). Her words blanketed silence over the audience who soaked her words and cheered with enthusiasm as she ended with an inspirational talk for the teams.

The atmosphere was murmuring with excitement and apprehension as team Broadway kicked off team performances with a lyrically strong piece surrounding the different views that start disagreements and ended with a human beat-box and brilliant female rap. Queensbridge came on second and showed the audience the emotional side to teenage truce whose power of lyricism brought the sounds of consistent thumb clicks from the crowd.

Stockland Green entered third performing a poetic story of sibling wars. Their on stage image was strong as they split the stage in two. Using one mic one pair spoke and symbolised as the other pair acted out the contents of the poem with an innovative approach to stage presence.

The first half finale came from Woodrush, who analysed the process of compromise through words and created a symbol of allegiance with choreographed movement which saw the group act as one.

The second half brought laughs as Woodrush wrote a poem on behalf of our televisions, creating a human living room and pausing to share a quick commercial break with the audience. The laughs continued as Queensbridge turned into poetry comedians, celebrating the highs and lows of teenage puberty and growth. They ended up close and personal with the audience as they brought the performance off stage into an interactive show.

Broadway walked on stage in symbolised unity with watchful eyes before embarking on the issues of racism with a deeply moving expression of rhyme-full emotion, and Stockland Green battled two boys against two girls, hitting on the funny side of teenage body discrepancies with a witty reference to having armpits like Bob Marleys dreadlocks, entertainingly showcased with a hairy headlock.

The teams writing skills were above and beyond lyrically strong and impressed the audience to degrees above the Sahara with thumb clicks, whistles, screams and whoop whoops ending each showcase with innovative applause. Akala kept everyone entertained with his political representation of modern day strife whilst the judges went away to make their decision. His acapella rap was quick and clever, with a rhyming flow that saw the teams watch him eagerly with passionate surprise. His was the last performance of the show, and the judges joined SicNis’s on stage to represent the teams with their awards.

Akala

Woodrush were awarded with Best Performance, Broadway were awarded Best Message, Stockland Green received the award for with the Most Memorable Line and Queensbridge walked away with the West Midlands title, scoring the highest points to represent us in the London Finals at Southbank in July.

The night will be one all involved and saw will remember for ever as West Midland teens took creative writing to the stars and back, initiating a word frenzy amongst fellow students, teachers and audience members. Each team gave pats on the back to others and made an extra effort to congratulate each other for their performances. All in all the regional final really was awesome.

To see all images of the event please click here