Lights beam down, stage lit

eyes wide like a hungry cat

The first words roll from my lips

as the butterflies flutter away



By a young poet about their WORDCUP Weekend experience

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The 'Most Striking Line' Award goes to the North West team

The 'Most Striking Performance Technique' Award goes to the South West team

... Yorkshire is the Highest Scoring Team

Photos: Helen Gregory

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‘Island’ by Blakeston School

Sadly, the WORDCUP2010 team from Blakeston School in Stockton-on-Tees wasn’t able to make the North East Final. At the event, Viv Wiggins, their poet coach, read out one of their poems.

Viv reading 'Island' by the Blakeston Team


This is Seanie Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Be a lifeguard and rescue the Liverpool Football squad

Do Thai boxing all day and master the art

Live next door to Steven Gerrard

Play Bon Jovi records and The Prodigy

Make all of my own clothes just for me.

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to FEEL!


This is Nathan island, my dream location

Where I can:

Bounce all day on my trampoline whale land

Swim with the sharks and sunbathe together like a normal happy family

Build a huge house for homeless people to sleep

Sail around the world and see different people and countries

Where there are no rules except ‘TERRORISTS KEEP OUT!’

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to LOVE!


This is Daniel island, my dream location

Where I can:

Drive amazing cars as fast as I can at the age of 3

Buy anything I want at any time and it’s all free

Constantly watch new ‘Top Gear’ episodes

Where one week it is hot and the next week it snows

Where wild, exotic animals roam free but they are also friendly

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to EXPRESS YOURSELF!


This is Matthew Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Spend all night with the army cadets

Drive my tank all over the land

Hunt animals and find plants to survive

Play snowball fights in a special dome

Where school has not been introduced

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to WRITE!


This is Jordan Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Swim all day and win all the medals

Permanently be on holiday

Listen to the words of Eminem

Have a new pair of trainers every month

Watch ‘Mock the Week’ every night

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to THINK!


This is Callum’s island, my dream location

Where I can:

Eat all the chocolate and it never runs out

Buy all the games in the world

…and will win the Euromillions lottery

Start a rock and roll band and be bigger than ‘Oasis’

Fly to Jupiter as many times as I like

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to PROTECT!


This is Taryn Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Eat chocolate ripples before they melt

Chat all day and night to my friends and never stop

Play netball and have the winning team

Spend time on the beach with my whole family

Eat Sunday Roast every day washed down with ‘Capri Sun’.

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to SPEAK OUTRIGHT!

(Chorus) Let’s all think for a minute, and work together…


This is OUR Island, our dream location

We share all our skills and our motivation


We are free to THINK, to PROTECT and to SPEAK OUTRIGHT

This is OUR Island

Love ‘Blakey’ xxxxx

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Coming Soon….

Photos, thoughts, poems and experiences from the WORDCUP2010 Weekend in Manchester. Stay tuned.

The Mainstream Misfits

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The North East Final

On Saturday 3 July at the Arc Arts Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, young people from across the North East came together for a day of performances, workshops and the North East WORDCUP final. The venue was literally buzzing with yellow t-shirts and poetic energy. Here are some images and thoughts from the day…

Young poets receive their t-shirts

The Managers' Match: Jacob Sam-La Rose introduces the Poet Coaches

Simma performs at the Managers' Match

‘The best thing was working with Jeff and training. I have learned to organise my lyrics’ – Student


Getting to know the other teams

What was the best thing about WORDCUP2010?

‘The workshops. I met new people and had lots of fun playing the games’ – Student


What have you learnt during the project?

‘That there are different ways to deal with stress and emotions and anything is possible’ – Student

Jean 'Binta' Breeze opens the evening

The slam begins... The Black Books perform

Three words to describe WORDCUP2010: ‘Fun, Exciting, Nervous’ – Student

Drastic Camp perform!

New Writing North Young Writers

What would you change about WORDCUP2010?

‘Make the workshops longer’ – Student

The 'Most Striking Performance Technique Award' goes to New Writing North Young Writers

The 'Most Striking Line Award' goes to The Black Books

...And the 'Highest Scoring Team' are the Mainstream Misfits who will go on to represent the North East at the National WORDCUP2010 Final in Manchester

...What is striking about the day is how all the teams interact and get to know each other, so that when it comes to the Slam, they are supporting everyone, not just their own team

How would you describe WORDCUP2010?

‘Spontaneous’ ‘Mind-Blowing’ ‘Awesome’ ‘Legend’ – Students’ responses

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WORDCUP2010 live stream

All the teams are gathered and gearing up for the big night tomorrow –

If you couldn’t join them ….  you can now – it wil be streamed live for free on 

Saturday 10 July 2010 @ 7pm at the following addresses:

Or even better – come down and see them live at Contact, Manchester :

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Two shots from my recent trip to the North East to visit Degna Stone and Nikki Hawkins’ WORDCUP teams at Newcastle’s Live Theatre and in Ashington…

Degna’s team were brainstorming on the project’s theme ‘I am free to write’. All poems in the first round of the SLAM must address this theme. It’s been interesting to see all the different interpretations…

Brainstorm by Degna's team at Live Theatre

Nikki’s team are already published poets. They recently wrote and illustrated a book with the help of their teachers, another poet and an illustrator. This is a photocopy of the cover of the book – which had just gone to print at the time of my visit. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a finished copy.

Open Your Mind by Mainstream Misfits

One of the poems in the book was written during WORDCUP2010 on the subjects of mothers. I’m hoping they’ll share some of their poems on the blog. They’re a talented group of young women writing openly about the challenges they face in everyday life.


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