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Spoken word champions gather to Shake the Dust

  • Date: 5 July 2012
  • Area: London
A perfomer in Shake the Dust

Performer from Shake the Dust. Credit: Courtesy of Apples and Snakes

This weekend, Southbank Centre hosts the grand final of Shake the Dust, a national celebration of the power of spoken word.

Funded by Arts Council England, Apples and Snakes has held regional finals across the country from March to July to find the region's champions.

On Saturday, those champions will gather to compete in the country's biggest national youth slam final at London's Royal Festival Hall. Each team will perform two original pieces they have spent months writing and developing, based around the Olympic and Paralympic Values and the theme of 'truce'. At the end of the slam final, the judges will name the overall highest-scoring team plus a variety of other awards in different categories.

Shake the Dust is part of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

Young people from across the country have worked with leading performance poets to write, perform and compete with words. The teams of 13 -16 year olds wrote, crafted and devised performance poems showcased as part of regional slam competitions in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and Stockton-on-Tees.

'Shake the Dust is more than a poetry competition. It has been a chance for young people across the country to come together and share their stories through spoken word. For many, this has been a life-changing experience. It's about building community and shining a spotlight on voices that would otherwise be unheard,' commented Artistic Director, Jacob Sam-La Rose.

'Poetry isn't dead - it's alive and happening in all sorts of forms and places. Shake The Dust has shown that spoken word has the power to have a transformative impact on young people's lives and learning. Working with professional spoken word artists can engage young people and give them a positive focus - that's why Shake the Dust is such an exciting opportunity,' said Executive Producer, Lucy Crompton-Reid.

'Arts Council England is delighted to support Shake the Dust' said Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature. "It is an exciting and ambitious project, which has given young people across England the chance to show off their talent and creativity on an Olympic scale!  It has been a really high quality experience for them and their audiences.'

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