Rap meets the Romantics with OMG Keats! in Keats House collaboration

Keats Slam

Keats Slam - Credit: Archant

Dance, spoken word, theatre and music aim to bring the 200-year-old words of John Keats alive for the next generation.

Dance, spoken word, theatre and music aim to bring the 200-year-old words of John Keats alive for the next generation.

OMG Keats! – a collaboration between Keats House and Jacksons Lane – will showcase the work of 11-25-year-olds responding to the romantic poet’s work on a summer afternoon in the garden of his former Hampstead home in Keats Grove.

The July 31 event will feature emerging spoken word artist Lemar Barrett accompanied by his brother playing guitar.

The 19-year-old, known as ‘the animated poet’ says of his poem, Artists: “It’s about having no fear in expressing yourself and understanding that everyone has their own unique qualities.”

Many of the performers have taken part in Keats House’s participation programme.

Organiser Lisa Wilkinson from Jackson’s Lane says: “We want to make Keats accessible to young people who may not have come in contact with his work and may not know about his legacy, and to make Keats House more accessible to the general public who may not be aware of the venue.”

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She added that the performers had created their own imaginative responses to Keats’ work through their chosen art form.

“There’s a real range of artists. Some have attended the summer school programme at Keats House and a couple of young people are part of the poetry circle.”

Local artist Jonathan Prince will be crafting butterflies to hang from trees in the garden as a direct response to one of Keats’ love letters to his next door neighbour Fanny Brawne.

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days. Three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

JK Dance Academy will present movement-based pieces and John Celea, a star of Jumble Theatre Company will perform a monologue.

Billed as a “monumental mash up” the free event on the 200th anniversary of Keats’ arrival to Hampstead is the first of three OMG Keats! schemes funded by a £41,000 Heritage Lottery grant. Jacksons Lane, in Archway Road are also planning a five day film workshop for young participants telling the story of Keats and Keats House and in 2017 will stage an immersive theatre event.

Bring a blanket and chill booking advisable jacksonslane.org.uk