Seen And Now Heard is a spoken word and performance poetry project for children and young people from lower income areas. If you want all the fine detail, you can go to our Facebook page of the same name. In the meantime, I thought it might be helpful if I spoke about this from a more personal perspective.
The idea is simple - we bring a workshop covering the basics (such as writing, performance, and delivery) to youth clubs and youth groups and so on, and then provide these kids with ongoing support in the form of mentors - professional poets and performers who will coach them via email to help them produce one or two really good pieces of work.
The grand finale of the project will give them the chance to perform what they've written in a real, working theatre - a performance to which they can invite their families, friends, whoever they wish. They won't pay for any of this. If they want to take part, they can, but the back bone of the whole project is that this is for people who are financially obligated elsewhere.
The idea really formed as a result of a discussion between myself and a friend who is an English teacher and head of year. We were talking about extracurricular activities and how, beneficial though they are, they can be hard to access for those who are already financially stretched. We decided that this sucked, and that someone should try and make cool extracurricular stuff available to those who might not have the financial means for what are often perceived as posh, after-school courses. Then we decided it should be us.
It's no secret - in fact anyone who has read my poetry bio can tell you - that I am somewhat of a reformed character. I also only discovered recently that poetry, or 'spoken word' was a thing you could spend your time doing, with actual nights, open mics, gigs to attend, a whole scene. If I had known about the concept of poetry as a lifestyle choice, haha, as it were, then I would have lived a thoroughly different life. I may not have spent my teens and most of my twenties being completely miserable on strange substances, for a start.
Since entering the world of performance poetry, I have completely changed. Internally, at least. I feel a deep sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and achievement when people tell me they enjoy what I've written, or something I've performed has made them think more deeply about whatever I'm going on about. Poetry has made me realise I am worth something; that I'm not just the person making bad choices at 5am. Poetry has brought opportunities my way that I never in my wildest imaginings thought possible. Performing at festivals. Being in a film. Getting onstage at the Royal Festival Hall.
Five years ago I was stripper with a serious predilection for coke rather than Pepsi. If that's not food for thought, I don't know what is. Imagine what we could do if we started telling young people about poetry? Young people who are at risk of making similar appalling life choices? What if, yeah, we showed them how cool spoken word is? What if we made just one kid see there's another way apart from drugs and house breaking and crime? Then it will all have been worth it, for me.
- Sadie Davidson
To find out more about Seen and Now Heard, or to see if you could get involved check out the page:
To find out how you could help make this amazing opportunity a reality check out:
To find out more about Sadie Davidson, AKA Barbie the Bard check out:
To see Sadie perform and to perform yourself, get along to her featured night at the next Poetry In Commotion - 12/1/17