Press Release: 18 January 2006

The Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championship 2006 - it's the word on the street!  

The Poetry Society and the Mayor of London are calling on all young performance poets, rappers and emcees across the boroughs of London to take part in the Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championship. If you've got the words, the verse and the nerve to flaunt your skills over four exhilarating quarter finals at top London venues - as well as two live and kicking semi finals at City Hall - you could earn a chance to perform at London's Rise Festival (previously known as the respect festival).

It is the fifth year that the Poetry Society and Mayor of London have coordinated this competition to find the capital's most promising poetry slammers. This year, they will have the chance to appear in a showcase at the Mayor of London's Rise Festival, which will take place in Finsbury Park on Saturday 8 July.

Over the last five years, these young performers have astounded festival audiences with their high-energy performances, which exhibit professionalism far beyond their years. Previous performers have gone on to feature on Blue Peter for National Poetry Day, in front of thousands at the Globe Theatre, and as part of last year's memorial event in Trafalgar Square for the July 7 bombings.

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: 'The Rise Poetry Slam shows that young people in London actively embrace London's diversity and are very aware of the impact that racism and discrimination have on people's lives. I am pleased to support the slam, which gives a platform to young Londoners, whose energy and talent are one of the highlights of the rise festival. I hope many more young Londoners will come forward this year to show off their verbal skill and wit – and their commitment to standing up against prejudice and racism.'

The slam project provides the framework for those most deeply affected by racism to empower themselves, and to share their experiences in a positive environment. It also promotes greater access to education for the diverse ethnic minority communities living in London by providing a vibrant framework in which to learn, and by focusing on non-traditional forms of literacy (spoken word, performance poetry and rap poetry). Participation in the slam widens the young poets' understanding of the world and creates new opportunities for which they did not previously have the skills to qualify.

If you are aged between between 12 and 18 years old you've got until March 31 2006 to register yourself. Schools, youth centres, arts agencies, young offenders institutes and community groups may nominate up to two artists to represent them.

To find out more contact Joelle Taylor at [email protected] or Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championship 2006, the Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London, WC2H 9BX or telephone 0207 420 9893 or text name and address to 07757117667. Visit

The Rise Londonwide Youth Slam Championship is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, with additional support form the Mayor of London and Subtext (formerly known as Eastside Arts).

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To find out more or to interview Joelle Taylor (performance poet and coordinator of Londonwide Slam Youth Championship) and/or past slam entrants telephone 0207 420 9895 or email [email protected]


Notes to editors

  • For further information about the Poetry Society visit .
  • The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of all National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to the lives of disadvantaged people and the wellbeing of communities, through fair and open funding of people, projects and programmes.  
  • The Rise festival will take place in Finsbury Park on Saturday 8 July. It is a free music, dance and comedy event organised by the Mayor of London, which celebrates the city's diversity and its status as a great multicultural city with an active commitment to eliminating racism. Press information is available by calling Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071. Public information is available at: .


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