Press release: 16 July 2009

Summer of Slam… The Poetry Society’s SLAMbassadors UK is about to blast off!

Open to anyone between the ages of 13-19 who have something to say, SLAMbassadors is the only online Slam competition in the UK. So dust down your mic and spit some beats!

After seven years of exhilarating live events, showcasing of new talent and the involvement of thousands of young people across London and Liverpool, SLAMbassadors is going to join forces with BBC Blast and go nationwide this week. 

As part of the BBC Blast Tour, SLAMbassadors UK will be running a set of free workshops in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Salford and Leeds. The aim is to get young people in these regions creating their own slam poems around the theme of identity that they can video and publish on the BBC's website. Visit www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/competitions/rise to find out more details.

The Poetry Society has also secured funding from the Aldgate and Allhallows Foundation and Awards for All to run school workshops in London to complement the programme of work. But SLAMbassadors UK isn't just for young people in those areas. If you are 13-19, no matter where you are in the UK, if you have something to say, you can submit your video to the BBC website as well.

Six of the acts published online will be chosen to take part in an intensive, two-day masterclass with the spoken word artist Joelle Taylor and the legendary poet Benjamin Zephaniah. The winners' work will be showcased at a live performance in Central London in November 2009. Make sure you don't miss this unique opportunity. You have until 19 October 2009 to send in your video.

SLAMbassadors UK is not just about the chance to speak and flex your voice, it’s not just about developing conscious and coherent thought – it’s about talent scouting, too. The Poetry Society – in its 100th year – has a long and respected history of digging up raw talent and seeing it develop into exciting new stars of performance poetry or first collections.

Joelle Taylor puts out the call to all young performers: “Whether you are a free verse poet working out of your bedroom in Solihull, a rapper loosening your lips around a mic in Lewisham or a Mancunian emcee – address the theme of identity and send your films through to the BBC Blast website. And do it NOW!”

Notes to Editors

  • The Poetry Society is this year celebrating its Centenary with a host of events to celebrate 100 years as the nation's leading champions of verse. Founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. Today it has 3,500 members around the world, publishes the leading poetry magazine Poetry Review, and has an extensive education programme. "The Poetry Society is the heart and hands of poetry in the UK – a centre which pours out energy to all parts of the poetry-body, and a dexterous set of operations which arrange and organise poetry’s various manifestations. It has a long and distinguished history, and has never been so vital, or so vitalising, as it is now." Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate To find out more visit www.poetrysociety.org.uk.
  • BBC Blast is the BBC’s learning initiative that supports the developmentof creative skills in 13-19 year olds. Blast online is at the heart of the project, allowing participants to upload their own content and gain feedback from both peers and media industry professionals. The nationwide Blast tour offers free creative workshops , visiting a total of 27 town and cities throughout the UK from April to November each year . Plus, content created by users on the website and tour is collected throughout the year and the very best is showcased on BBC2 in the autumn. Further information about BBC Blast can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/blast
  • The SLAMbassador UK Blast Tour dates are as follows:London, New Vic College Newham – Thursday 9 July
    Bristol Harbour Festival – Friday 31 July
    Leeds – August (date TBC)
    Liverpool – Saturday 12 September
    Salford – October (date TBC)

SLAMbassadors UK co-orordinator Joelle Taylor

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