“Our real poems are already in us, and all we can do is dig.” – Jonathan Galassi
Mouthy Poets have been working with the Playhouse since 2011 when Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson founded the collective. She was studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham University and acutely felt the the lack of a poetry collective for young people in the city. She was the youngest person at spoken word open mics by a good twenty years… Fortuitous meetings with Anne Holloway and Bea Udeh brought her in contact with the Playhouse and we agreed to give the group a space to meet and write on Friday evenings.
Whilst they have now grown substantially in size and reach, these three-hour Friday sessions continue to be at the core of Mouthy’s work. Each week around 20 poets between the ages of 15 and 30 will come to write, share, perform and give feedback on each others work. They might focus on a particular theme or learn a new poetic form or focus on performance technique; every session is different. This blog post from a former placement student gives an insight into what one of their sessions involves. Every session will also include an element of professional development, usually built around organising the Mouthy Poets events. They put on two unique shows at Nottingham Playhouse every year – these are produced by the poets themselves, and paid interns are appointed to head up the teams for this. Interns are given a training budget, a mentor and real responsibility.
Mouthy Poets have a holistic approach to the development they offer young people. It’s always focused around writing and creativity, but it’s also always about well-being, having the words to articulate oneself and having the confidence to be oneself. Mouthy Poets provide young people with the tools to be excellent humans.
If you would like to get involved with Mouthy Poets, visit their Participation page here.