Poetry Slam Final will end 262 days closure for The Roundhouse

PUBLISHED: 10:42 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 19 October 2020

Polarbear (centre) at the Roundhouse Poetry Slam finals in a previous year. This year contestants can take part in virtual heats from all over the country before the live final in November

Polarbear (centre) at the Roundhouse Poetry Slam finals in a previous year. This year contestants can take part in virtual heats from all over the country before the live final in November

Archant

The annual spoken word battle between emerging young poets will be in front of the first live audience for eight months at the shuttered Chalk Farm venue

A competitor at the annual Poetry Slam at the Roundhouse from a previous year. This year the heats will be held online before a live final in NovemberA competitor at the annual Poetry Slam at the Roundhouse from a previous year. This year the heats will be held online before a live final in November

The Roundhouse is inviting in its first live audience for more than eight months for the annual Poetry Slam Final.

Heats will be held ahead of the main event on November 26, which will end 262 days without a public performance at the Chalk Farm venue.

The final - when emerging poets aged 18-25 take to the stage to compete for the coveted title of Slam champion - usually takes place as part of the Last Word festival.

This year’s event will also be live streamed and is expected to reflect the seismic global events that have changed and challenged society.

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Judges include writer and poet Anthony Anaxagorou, poet and essayist Will Harris and cultural producer and writer Tobi Kyeremateng.

Past contestants include Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan and Caleb Femi. Since winning last year, Kareem Parkins-Brown has been developing his first full-length solo show with support from the Roundhouse and featured at an event for Stormzy’s #Merky Books.

More than 100 events and shows have been cancelled or postponed since March but Roundhouse artistic director Marcus Davey said the final was a light at the end of the tunnel and the first step in reopening plans.

“Even though the building has been temporarily closed, we’ve prioritised the needs of the young people we work with, through online projects, maintaining pastoral support and reopening our studios,” he said. “That’s why it’s so exciting that our first event with a live audience will also platform the voices and talent of young creatives.

“The Roundhouse might look and feel a little different to what people are used to but the team has done a huge amount of work to design the best and safest experience for artists, audiences and staff. We feel confident that the new set-up will provide everyone with a brilliant experience in the safest way possible.”

The deadline for entry is October 26 with heats taking place online on November 10, 11 and 12, which means performers from all over the country can take part.

The Poetry Slam Final is at 7.30pm on November 26. Tickets £5-£30. www.roundhouse.org.uk/poetryslam2020


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