A spirited journey in spoken word poetry across Trinidad and Tobago is underway.
It is the third nationwide Courts Bocas Secondary Schools Speak Out Tour in which members of The 2 Cents Movement visit 50 schools to share some of the most stirring, thought-provoking and topical performances with a number of highly enthusiastic secondary school audiences.
In the first phase of this secondary school outreach project, supported by Courts, five local spoken word artists, accompanied by American artist-in-residence Marshall Davis Jones and a number of other guest poets, perform at schools, actively engaging the students in critical thought and explorations of language and creativity, while offering a stimulating and entertaining experience of poetry.
The tour is geared towards promoting art and literacy and includes free workshops for students that introduce them to writing and performance at a number of designated sites across the country. There students have the opportunity to work closely with the well-known performance poets, allowing for building and exchanging ideas, as well as developing newly crafted work.
In the last tour, more than 2,500 students signed up to attend the workshops, and figures are projected to be even higher this year as the genre grows in popularity and relevancy among young people across communities, encouraging creative expression and enhancing personal development. Apart from the personal gain, there are prizes to be won in Phase 3 of the project. The new budding performance poets represent their schools in an exciting Intercol play off in the annual Courts Bocas Speak Out Competition due to take place in March 2016.
The Tour poets include some of the finest spoken word artists in T&T: Idrees Saleem and Akile Wallace, winners of the 2014 Bocas Verses Poetry Slam and 2015 First Citizen’s National Poetry Slam Championship respectively, and Deneka Thomas and Derron Sandy who were competing finalists in the 2015 hotly contested competition.
This is another Bocas Lit Fest project that seeks to celebrate the literary traditions in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region, while supporting the work of Caribbean writers globally. Its mandate to support literacy, education and creativity among youth, has led to a thriving partnership with The 2 Cents Movement, a vibrant nonprofit that focuses on using performance art for youth development and social engagement.
Courts provides the financial backing for the tour and the Ministry of Education and the U.S. Embassy also form an integral part in facilitating the success of this historic 2015-16 national project, designed to inspire, empower and positively impact the lives of young people nationwide.
The tour continues to mid-November. To keep up with that exciting journey, you can follow on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/The2CentsMovement.