Young Writers’ City at Juice Festival 2017

What you say? We might be different but that’s ok!

Newcastle was blown away in October as the participants from our Young Writers’ City at Excelsior project performed at the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of Juice Festival’s Our Time event.

These talented young writers took to the stage to present raps, poetry and audio; their own contribution to the city-wide celebration, Freedom City. The We are all Human Crew’s rap ‘What You Say’ called for an acceptance and celebration of difference, whilst performer Tessy Idemudia asked the audience to consider the endless possibilities of change. The project, led by artists Zoe Murtagh and Casey Spence, used the words from many more Young Writers’ City participants including open letters to Beyonce and MP Chi Onwurah to present audio and visual exhibitions throughout the gallery.

Freedom City celebrated the 50-year anniversary of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University. It inspired performance across the city celebrating the values that Martin Luther King expressed in his speech as he accepted that degree. Throughout this project, the young writers tackled issues like racism, poverty and homophobia with the ethos of Martin Luther King himself woven into their words.

Emily Wiseman, the Young Writers’ City at Excelsior Project Producer discussed how the students prepared for the performance with the themes in mind. She told us ‘We’ve been looking at some of the work that he did and the speeches that he did and thinking about how far we have come since he gave those speeches and where we need to go from here to tackle the challenges we face in society’.

As the audience rose to their feet to dance and cheer, there’s no doubt that this was another performance success under the belts of our Young Writers’ City participants, as their reputation of talent and skill continues to spread. There will be more offers like this down the road, that’s for sure.