Children discover the power of performance poetry as part of our Middlesbrough Reads campaign

17 Jul 2019
Our Stories poetry slam.jpg

A school team has been crowned the winner of the 2019 Our Stories Middlesbrough Performance Poetry Slam Off after taking part in a programme developed as part of our Middlesbrough Reads campaign.

Our Stories is a creative writing and performance poetry project created by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with the Middlesbrough Promise from Middlesbrough Council. Inspired by a successful roll out in our Bradford Hub, the Middlesbrough Reads campaign worked with local performance poets Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby to give the resource a local theme.

The initiative encourages pupils to cultivate a curiosity about poems and how they work, a willingness to play with language and a desire to communicate ideas. Our stories enables children to discover and define their individual poetry style through lively discussion and both collaborative and individual writing and performing tasks, while aligning to the national curriculum.

The schools that participated this year were Archibald Primary School, Beech Grove Primary School, Hemlington Hall Academy, North Ormesby Primary Academy, Viewley Hill Academy, Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Primary School – the inaugural winners of the competition. All the schools had learnt how to craft different poetry styles such as kennings and riddles and taken part in workshops led by Bob and Andy, focusing on local places and landmarks pertinent to each of them. The workshops were partly subsidised through the Middlesbrough Promise.

The programme culminated in the grand final, which was held at Middlesbrough Town hall on 11 July and attended by more than 130 local pupils. A total of 60 competed in 12 teams from all of the six schools and the judging panel was made up of our very own Middlesbrough Read Manager, Allison Potter and Programme Manager for the North East, James Kingett.

Middlesbrough Reads Manager, Allison Potter said:
“James and I were delighted to be asked to judge the Our Stories Poetry Slam Off competition and witness such a fantastic selection of entries performed on stage. A year after developing the resource and designing it specifically with Middlesbrough locations and points of interest in mind, it’s been brilliant to see it at its peak.

“With poetry centre stage in the curriculum, there is no better time to get stuck into creative poetry writing. We hope that the pupils feel more confident with spoken language since taking part and will be encouraged to write more poems for fun.”

The winning team was Battling Boro Bards from Archibald Primary School, who took home the coveted Our Stories shield. You can read their poem below:

People may think our town is grim

People may think our town is grim

But they don’t know the magic that lies within.

In between Asda and the Gas Station,

Behind old, crumbly walls

There is a sparkling fountain

Where glistening water falls.

Dab the magic water on your head,

Your family’s future will be read.

People may think our town is grim,

But they don’t know the magic that lies within.

Next to the Mosque and the car park,

Once I have finished praying and it’s nearly dark,

I find a dinosaur footprint mark

And find out it was a Dinosaur Park.

People may think our town is grim,

But they don’t know the magic that lies within,

I see a sign saying beware of the dinosaurs,

They will raid our town.

A pterodactyl circling the town hall clock tower,

It must be Middlesbrough’s darkest hour.

People may think our town is grim,

But they don’t know the magic that lies within.

Between Newport Bridge and Archibald School,

There is a FUNSHACK, where people play and have fun,

Right next to it is a FREDDIE’S PIZZERIA.

Enter at your own peril,

Terrifying robots making pizza?

Better turn and run!

People may think our town is grim,

But they don’t know the magic that lies within.

In Middlesbrough town centre, next to the duck pond,

Where teenagers hang out and do stunts on skateboards.

There is a battle bus floating high above the roof tops.

Creatures jump out and glide down,

Teenagers scatter throughout the town.

People may think our town is grim,

But they don’t know the magic that lies within.

Well done to all who took part and congratulations to the winners!

Find out more about Middlesbrough Reads.