Nottingham Playhouse, Writing East Midlands and Mouthy Poets in association with Apples and Snakes invite you to take part in Shake the Dust at Lyric Lounge Nottingham

Shake the Dust is a national performance poetry project taking place in schools and youth groups across England from February to July 2012, inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Lyric Lounge festival celebrates spoken word by creating relaxed spaces for learning, practicing and performing spoken word and poetry. It is part of Igniting Ambition, the East Midlands' contribution to the Cultural Olympiad.

13 -16 year olds from participating schools and youth groups will have the chance to work with an established spoken word artist to learn about poetry and performance. They will write, craft and devise performance poems to be showcased at a regional celebration and slam competition at Nottingham Playhouse, in June 2012. The highest scoring team from the regional final will go on to represent The East Midlands at the national Shake the Dust weekend in London from 5 - 8 July 2012.

We are looking for five schools or youth groups to take part. 

 We would like to invite your group to be involved.

Participating schools/youth groups will receive:

  • An experienced performance poet to act as their ‘poet coach’ for the entire project, together with an emerging poet in a supporting role
  • 10 participatory workshops, to be broken down as follows:
  • A day of performances by the poet coach and initial workshops for a large number of students
  • Three workshops for a group of up to 20 students
  • Six workshops for a team of eight students, to be chosen from the initial 20 (this selection will be made by the poet coach in consultation with teachers)
  • Participation in a regional celebration and slam final event at Nottingham Playhouse in June 2012, alongside four other schools/youth groups from the area
  • The highest scoring team from the regional final will go on to represent The East Midlands at the national Shake the Dust weekend in London.

This is the largest project of its kind ever to take place in England. It is a unique opportunity to give your students a real life experience of literature in a way that engages and inspires them, moving beyond the page. The project is suitable for students of any ability level and may be particularly relevant to those who struggle to engage with literacy or who have other educational barriers. We are also keen to involve young people experiencing disadvantage or social exclusion. As well as learning about poetry, students will work in a team,improve their confidence, self-esteem and public speaking skills and experience being part of a regional and national community of poets and young people.

      Shake the Dust is being generously supported by Arts Council England through their Grants for the Arts programme, however participating schools are asked to make a contribution of £500 towards the costs of the project (however this is negotiable). You will also be expected to:


  • Provide appropriate space for the workshops in your school/venue
  • Ensure at least one member of staff is present during all workshops
  • Recruit/select young people to participate in the project
  • Send two teachers to attend the regional final in June 2012
  • If your school/youth group’s team is the highest scoring team at the regional final, two teachers must accompany the team toLondon for the national Shake the Dust weekend from 5-8 July 2012
  • Seek the appropriate permissions in accordance with child protection
  • Take part in basic monitoring and evaluation of the project

We hope that you are interested in being part of this project.  We can only work with five schools or youth groups from the region so please contact Catherine Rogers at as soon as possible if you are interested in taking part.

We will also be hosting a free teacher training session on Weds 23 November from 4-6pm at the Nottingham Playhouse led by Jacob Sam-La Rose aimed specifically at teachers, educators and youth workers who are keen to increase their creativity and develop their skills in supporting young people's learning through poetry.

To book your place at the free poetry INSET session, please call the Nottingham Playhouse Box Office: 0115 941 9419

Article by L Glynn / 18th November 2011


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Invitation to Shake the Dust