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BBC Radio 1Xtra's 'Words First' brings spoken word to the masses

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

The search is on for the next Kate Tempest or George the Poet

From SheKnows UK
"Words First," the BBC's first ever spoken-word season, is celebrating the powerful, high-energy art form that bridges poetry, storytelling, monologue theatre and a wide range of music genres including hip-hop, folk, blues and jazz.

The collaboration between BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Arts, The Roundhouse and Arts Council England aims to bring the spoken word to the masses with a series of regional workshops and performances to find six fledgling spoken-word artists, who will be mentored for six months by Words First and have the chance to reach a wider audience via a weekly slot on 1Xtra's 100% HomeGrown With DJ Target.

"Young people are increasingly finding a voice through spoken word and using it as a means of expression," said Andy Worrell, editor of BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra. "I'm so excited that over the next year 1Xtra will be working with our partners the Roundhouse, BBC Arts and Arts Council England to nurture, reflect and enrich the already vibrant underground spoken-word scene across Britain and help elevate young artists to the next level."

More: The return of TFI Friday most exciting TV news of the year

The search is on for the next Kate Tempest or George the Poet

Photo credit: Brigitte Engl/

Coming up in "Words First"

  • Grime meets Spoken Word Live Lounge with Devlin, Blizzard and Bonkaz collaborating with spoken-word poets, Friday, June 5 on 1Xtra.
  • Radio documentary "Words First" follows DJ Target as Suli Breaks introduces him to the spoken-word scene, Sunday, June 7 at 9 p.m. on 1Xtra.
  • BBC iPlayer documentary Words First: The Poets Will Be Heard on the theme of "finding your voice," featuring some of the biggest names in the U.K. spoken-word scene, such as George The Poet, Kate Tempest, Hollie Poetry, Suli Breaks and Amaal Said. Available now on BBC iPlayer.
  • BBC iPlayer documentary Words First: Searching features an exclusive collaborative poem performed live on stage by 20 spoken-word artists. Available now on BBC iPlayer.

100% HomeGrown With DJ Target is on BBC Radio 1Xtra every Sunday at 4 p.m.

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