Words First is a partnership with BBC Radio 1Xtra and the Roundhouse that seeks to find the hottest and freshest spoken word talent from across the country, supported by Arts Council England.
Studio12 and Leeds Young Authors were chosen to host workshops and masterclasses in Leeds on the 5th to 9th of October. 62 young people applied from across the region and 13 young people were selected to attend the workshop. A week long workshop covering spoken word and performance was led by Khadijah Ibrahiim and Testament hosted by Studio12. Visiting artists included Saju Ahmed, Zodwa Nyoni and DJ Target from 1Xtra.
The week resulted in 13 young people performing their spoken word work written in 3 days to a live audience of 90 people and broadcast from Leeds Central Library on 1Xtra DJ Target’s radio programme to millions of people. The performances were also filmed by the Roundhouse film team and will be showcased on the 1Xtra and Roundhouse media outlets in due course.
6 Young people went on to receive more training at the Roundhouse in London, with the likes of George the Poet and Kate Tempest. The week concluded with Denmarc Creary selected and mentored by Studio12 and Leeds Young Authors to perform at the Words First Live event at the Leeds Arena to 10,000 people and broadcast live on TV.
“Just a big Thank you to every single one of you, throughout the whole process you have been amazing ! I’ve loved every moment working with you guys, can’t wait for any other projects you all have in mind, just a huge Thank you and major Respek!!” – Denmarc Creary, Participant
“The Roundhouse has a history of nurturing the rapidly growing spoken-word scene in London so we’re delighted to now be venturing around the country with 1Xtra, BBC Arts and Arts Council England.” – Nicola Thorold, Executive Producer at the Roundhouse
“The Arts Council is delighted to support Words First. Our partners, Roundhouse and 1Xtra, bring huge expertise in spotting and developing young talent and they will be working across England to find and present exciting new voices. Spokenword will gain a national platform – live and on-line – where many more people can enjoy this vibrant art form.” – Antonia Byatt, Director of Literature at Arts Council England
“A massive WELL DONE and thank you for smashing it on Saturday night! A brilliant performance on a huge platform – be proud!” – Emily Dicks, Impact and Development Producer, Radio 1 & 1Xtra