Coinciding with the football World Cup, WORDCUP2014 was a celebration of spoken word for young people, helping them to hone their writing and performance skills and gain confidence in their voices through a series of workshops with professional poets, culminating in a giant WORDCUP slam championship at Stratford Circus.Wordcup Slam Final-26

Over April-July, the WORDCUP teams were selected from 10 schools across East London. Each school was appointed their own professional poet, like Raymond Antrobus, Indigo Williams and Joelle Taylor, to come in as their team mentor and help the groups put pen to paper and create their own spoken word. Through weekly workshops with their mentors and shadow mentors, the teams began to polish and sharpen their poetic skills in the build-up to the big WORDCUP2014 poetry slam. After weeks of preparation, the WORDCUP2014 finale took place on Saturday 12 July, with over 300 young people and families from across East London gathering at Stratford Circus to cheer on the teams.Wordcup Slam Final-28

The slam was hosted by renowned slam facilitator and performance poet Jacob Sam-La Rose and judged by Khadijah Ibrahiim, Mr Gee and the Young Poet Laureate for London, Warsan Shire. The panel were blown away by the standard and quality of the young people’s poetry, with memorable lines including “Hearts that beat like soldiers on the street” and “we have stairwell veins and window hearts” raising the bar of the event to the standard of a professional competition. The ‘Most Striking Line’ AwWordcup Slam Final-133ard was won by Clapton Girls School who worked with poet coach Keith Jarrett, for “we dream of love and we love our dream”.

The ‘Most Striking Performance’ went to St Gabriel’s School, who worked with Indigo Williams. The ‘Most Humorous performance’ was by Lammas School, whose poet coach was Cat Brogan. The highest-scoring team of WORDCUP2014 was from St Paul’s School in Greenwich, mentored by poet Joelle Taylor. Both the performances by St Paul’s School received unanimous (and deafening) support from the audience, who could barely keep in their seats!


Have a look at this promotional video, which shows Joelle Taylor’s team St Paul’s School during the workshopping process.

All in all WORDCUP2014 was an incredibly inspiring project, showcasing the truly awe-inspiring levels of talent and creativity that thrive in the young East London community.