Tari Eguruze

Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighborhood: Giving Young Poets and Musicians Room to Perform

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Ever since I started volunteering at the Southbank Centre in Lambeth, I have and come across a number of art events that they were being hosted over the weekends as a part of their Summer Festival of Neighborhood.

Last week, the Southbank Centre held the London Lines poetry event; where they invited members of the public to write short poems of their experience of the boroughs around London, while the professional guest poets were tasked with writing new poems based on the submissions from the public.

I saw that there were roughly 20 professional poets seated around the main foyer of the Royal festival Hall, each marked with their own London Borough. They were sitting with members of the public, writing poetry and sharing their experiences. Poets at the Southbank included Rebecca Perry representing Croydon, Sarah Hesketh representing Kingston, Amy Key representing Westminster, and Josephine Corcoran representing Ealing.

As I had never done anything like this before, I decided to go around each of the poets at a table representing a Borough that I was familiar with, and contribute my own poems. I sat down with and talked with poets, asking questions about poetry, how they got involved in it, and what young people should do if trying to get a foot-hold into creative writing, poetry and spoken word. A few poets even mentioned that some lines from my poems would be included into their official composed poems. The sections of submitted poems can be viewed on the Jaybird Live Literature twitter.

More recently, Southbank Centre hosted a weekend event called My Deptford. Southbank Centre invited artists to perform from organisations such as the Uncover Theatre & Music Company and the Apples and Snake Performance Poetry Organisation.

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The My Deptford event featured a rotation of spoken word artists, as well as music acts, all local to Deptford, and all young people. The free weekend event aimed to showcase young talent, which is currently being produced in the South London.

Each of the spoken word performers recited one piece of poetry which was written in response to what Deptford meant to them and what their experience living there was. They also performed other personal pieces of work.

The levels of passion and dedication from these young artists who are so invested in their craft, was amazing too see firsthand. Organisations like the Apples and Snakes Writing Room works to help to cultivate the skills of young poets and give them a platform to express themselves.

Festival of Neighborhood is running until the end of August. They’re running workshops and events for families and children earlier in the day, while the afternoons and evening are for a broader range of audiences. Not to mention the exhibitions and galleries hosted throughout the centre all day, including the Alternative Guide to the Universe exhibition held in the Hayward gallery, the Lambeth Treasures walk, and the Beano Town Attraction and Museum. Every weekend the Southbank Centre also hosts a Real Food Market and World Street Food Festival.

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The Southbank Centre is the perfect place to visit this summer to experience the variety of arts London has to offer in one place, as well as being a place to escape the weather and find somewhere to stop and relax.

To find out more about attractions this summer at the Southbank Centre visit their website.

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