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Speak it!

Published: 13 Jun 2017


Toynbee Hall recently teamed up with longstanding supporter Proms at St Jude’s and their principal sponsor Investec to deliver Speak it!, a spoken word competition for young people with award winning poet Anthony Anaxagorou.

In May, Speak it! ran in Morpeth School, Langdon Park School and Central Foundation Girls School with a winner selected from each group by a panel of volunteer judges. All poems were written on the theme of ‘identity’, though topics were wide ranging. The winners were Shabiha Saleh at Morpeth School, Saarah Rahman at Langdon Park School, and Charlotte Sonnex at Central Foundation Girls School. All students who took part in the competition are graduates of Make it!, Toynbee Hall’s flagship youth project which aims to cultivate critical thinking skills in its participants.

For volunteers and participants alike, Speak it! was a supercharged introduction to spoken word, where students aged 14 -16 years old wrote poems over two sessions with Anthony. Anthony and the volunteers were impressed by the nuanced and mature topics students chose to write about. Learning from Anthony, students perfected their performance skills to deliver impassioned, and indignant pieces on topics including Islamophobia, gender equality, LGBT rights and race to the panel. Feedback from the judges commended students for tackling these issues in such a thought provoking and honest way.

The winning pieces will be performed at the Proms at St Jude’s Music and Literary Festival on June 29th. Proceeds for the event help to fund Make it!. Visit their website more information and ticket details.

You can read a selection of the young people’s powerful poems here.