Barbican Young Poets 2017 Showcase

After six months worth of Wednesdays, chocolate Digestives, tube rides from Earls Court to Moorgate and taking up residency in Nuclino and Box for poetry submissions, last Friday was officially 2017’s Barbican Young Poets showcase, the culmination of all of our hard work and fun times.

Roll call:

This year’s showcase consists of the collective efforts of

  • Amber Sidney-Woollett
  • Anita Barton-Williams
  • Anna Kahn
  • Anne Byrne
  • Celestina Rowaiye
  • Eleanor Penny
  • Gabriel Jones
  • Henry Ofori-Kuragu
  • Jeremiah Brown
  • Jessica Sweeney
  • Jessica-Louise (Jazzle) Dunne
  • Jolade Olusanya
  • Joshua Judson
  • Laurie Ogden
  • Lucy Howell
  • Malakai Sargeant
  • Megha Harish
  • Mina Azong
  • Omar Bynon
  • Phoebe Stuckes
  • Remi Graves
  • Ruth Sutoyé
  • Troy Cabida
  • Wei Yuan (Bobby) Liow
  • Zahrah Sheikh

This year’s BYP is spearheaded once again by Jacob Sam La-Rose and co-tutored by Rachel Long, while being safeguarded by the strong and gentle hands of Lauren Monaghan-Pisano and Lorna McGinty, a woman who literally saved my life but that’s for another blog entry altogether.

Final touch ups:

Previous Barbican Young Poets showcases were performed at other places around the Barbican Centre such as Frobisher Auditorium 1 where I was lucky enough to witness the legends that are Gabriel Akamo, Amina Jama (!!!), Theresa Lola and Travis Alabanza in 2016.

2017 marks the first year the showcase is shown at Milton Court Theatre, which is an extremely beautiful venue. It’s spacious without losing its sense of cosiness. They also have some of the kindest lighting assistants, who always cracked a joke to lighten the mood.

What I liked about having to perform onstage like that is the way the spotlight hits you in the face. Not only is it actually warm in a comforting way, but it also really blinds your eyesight and forces you to not see anything past the light, which really helped my initial stage frights.

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 00 28 pm

That’s what we saw when we looked up. Still a beautiful sight, to be honest.

A few words of light and encouragement from Jacob before we headed off to the dressing rooms. I was a bit of a sceptic at first, I’ll be honest, but now I’m a firm believer of using the positive approach when it comes to managing a group of people, albeit still firm and authoritative. No one will ever feel alone or helpless after having to hear Jacob’s advice.

Photo 24-03-2017, 5 08 19 pm

Photo 24-03-2017, 6 55 19 pm

Note the chaos in dressing room one and the calm in dressing room two. Hi @WordofJess!

A night of stars:

I learnt a lot about performing poetry that night. One of those lessons being learning how to perform honest and soul-searching poetry that exposes your humanity out not only to a lot of audience members but to your parents, who sat in row B and who you can see smiling and watching your every move should you look down.

We had three groups clustered altogether after a session of deliberating which themes resonated well with each one of us. Thankfully the poem Jacob and Rachel agreed to have on the anthology matched the group I was already in. The final groups were as follows:

Group 1 = nature and death.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

Group 2 = gender, relationships, sexuality and violence.

Group 3 = disapora and race in modern society.

“My black soul is Dora.” Chills, man.

@AnnaCarlaKahn and @megha_harish
Mina Azong

Here’s a shot of most of the group after the show! Throwing out a huge thank you to everyone who came, cheered, helped out and performed with us. You are all responsible for the magic that took place in that theatre.

Photo courtesy of @ShayDRap

An Orchestra of Feathers and Bone:

Check out our anthology available for your eyes down on the link below!

Photo 26-03-2017, 3 52 49 pm

Also featuring the luminescent smile of @MalakaiSargeant.

– T

Published by troycabida

Troy Cabida (he/him) is a Filipino poet and producer based in south west London. His recent poems have appeared in TAYO Literary Magazine, harana poetry, MacMillan and bath magg. He is a producer for London open mic night Poetry and Shaah and co-founder of Liwayway Kolektibo, an arts and culture network providing space for UK-based Filipino/a/x creatives. His debut pamphlet, War Dove, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2020. Photo taken by Ray Roberts.

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