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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Also featuring the luminescent smile of @MalakaiSargeant.