- London has a new corner for spoken word performers at Canary Wharf
- Young People’s Poet Laureate Theresa Lola leads a series of Black poets over four weeks of free-to-attend performances for Black History Month
A new Speakers’ Corner has opened in Canary Wharf with the aim of giving a platform to young, inspiring Black poets across the capital.
The Poets’ Corner is launching for Black History Month, featuring four weeks of performances with spoken word artists including Young People’s Poet Laureate Theresa Lola, British-Trinidadian dub poet Roger Robinson, Nigerian-British author Sarah Aluko, internationally acclaimed poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams and multidisciplinary artist Joladé Olusanya.
The initiative is part of a collaboration with Canary Wharf and creative collective SXWKS, set up to celebrate and ignite conversation around the Black experience and the importance of observing and honouring Black culture in Britain.
Each poem has been chosen to encourage listeners to share their own stories and experiences in the spirit of Speakers’ Corner where anyone can lead a discussion. Every Poets’ Corner performance will finish with members of the audience invited to come up on stage to perform their own poem, rap or story.
All poems featured during Black History Month will also be published in Canary Wharf’s Short Story Stations – the innovative vending machines that dispense free one-, three- and five-minute stories for visitors to read and gave the first snippet of Bernardine Evaristo’s new book Manifesto last year.
It is the latest effort from Canary Wharf to create spaces that are representative of diverse audiences. Recent initiatives have included commissioning Yinka Ilori to transform Bank Street Park with a vibrant basketball court installation, Camille Walala’s colourful redesign of the Adams Plaza bridge and working alongside Penguin and Bernardine Evaristo to champion and publish Black authors on the Short Story Stations around Canary Wharf for Black History Month in 2021.
Theresa Lola, Young People’s Poet Laureate (2019-2020), said: “Poets’ Corner at Canary Wharf have given a great platform to spotlight on poetry, Black culture and some of Britain’s most impressive Black poets. Poetry offers its author a creative way to capture feelings and experience, and I hope by sharing my poems aloud, I can portray an insight into my own life and culture in a way that encourages others to do the same.”
Camilla Mcgregor, Arts & Events Manager, Canary Wharf Group, said: “We are committed to creating spaces that are representative of our diverse audiences. Collaborating with partners like SXWKS enables us to engage with incredible poets, authors and spoken word artists for both the Poets’ Corner project and beyond. To people who can’t watch the live performances, we will be publishing their words through our Short Story Stations to help further showcase the authors talent and celebrate Black culture.”
Alongside the live performances, Joladé Olusanya and Sarah Aluko will host workshops with local schools. Pupils will be taught about the art of writing and will put their creativity skills to the test by drafting their own pieces, before sharing their work at the final performance.
Schedule of performances:
- Saturday 8 October, 1pm, live performance from Theresa Lola & Inua Ellams
- Saturday 15 October, 1pm, live performance from Roger Robinson
- Wednesday 19 October, 1pm, live performance with Joladé Olusanya
- Saturday 22 October, 1pm, live performance from Sarah Aluko
1-, 3- and 5-minute poems available on short story stations:
- Theresa Lola: Despite the Noise, Ball and Bounce, My Brother’s Barber, Two Photographs
- Inua Ellams: Lights in the Gulf, Homecoming, Queeron, Queen’s Road Peckham, Ike/Rust, Questions for Fela Kuti – from his Saxophone, The Runaway, Clubbing
- Roger Robinson: Home is Not A Place, Guy Fawkes Night, Survivals, Traces, Afro Haiku
- Joladé Olusanya: Untitled, 253, love as an afterthought
- Sarah Aluko: Self-portrait (a vision of water), On Instagram, Today, Retrograde Love, Full, Ocean Love, For What it’s Worth, Note to Self
Poets’ Corner is part of Canary Wharf’s ongoing investment into arts, culture, events and sustainability in which visitors are encouraged to live, eat and shop locally with sustainable retail choices, refillable water stations, transport links, extensive green spaces, and plastic-free lunch spots.
With the launch of their new free app, visitors, workers and residents only need to check their phone for the latest on upcoming events, discounts, offers and more. The app also allows users to buy tickets, RVSP and check-in to events as well as providing feedback on all different aspects of the Canary Wharf experience.
Click here to find out more about Poets’ Corner in celebration of Black History Month at Canary Wharf
For further information, please contact:
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166