Kent Daydreams: a new spoken word event for young people
We are really happy to be collaborating with the folk behind Kent Dreams, a spoken word night that has been running in Rochester for five years. But because this is part of Medway River Lit – we’re doing it with a twist! The majority of spoken word nights seem to take place downstairs at night in a bar or pub, which is often also not accessible to wheelchair users, and young people certainly can’t attend. Our special one-off ‘Kent Daydreams’ will be specifically for young people aged 14-18 to come and have a go at performing. And it will be in a venue that is accessible (The Medway Adult Education building in Rochester.)
A more family-friendly, accessible poetry event was something we’d tried in 2020 with The Confluence Sessions, but then the pandemic hit, and our venue closed during that uncertain period. We still had the idea of doing an event for young people, but it was on the back burner. Then, poet Patience Agbabi (who’ll also be performing at River Lit, but reading from her books for children aged 8-12,) mentioned that there were no nights for her teenage son to go to locally, as he would like to try his hand at performing his poetry, so we started thinking about it again.
Wordsmithery met Nathaniel Oguns and Sean Alayo the hosts of Kent Dreams a couple of years ago, and since then Nathaniel and Sean have performed at several of our events, including at the first Welcome to Cloisterham festival in 2021. They seemed like they could be ideal hosts for this event for younger people. We had a chat, they were up for it, and a special one-off River Lit Kent Daydreams was born!
The word - spoken and written
We asked Nathaniel and Sean to tell us a bit more about their writing and performing backgrounds.
Nathaniel lives in Rochester and studied Performing Arts at Mid-Kent College. The idea to get into spoken word grew from a comment somebody made at a photoshoot, about his words being lyrical and did he perform his poetry?
He set up Kent Dreams in 2018 with (as Sean describes it) ‘... the intention of bringing poetic life to his local area’ and has been holding regular nights in Rochester since then, (with a bit of break for the pandemic).
Nat describes his poetry as ‘grabbing influences from everywhere. I write what’s in my heart and how I feel at the time. If it’s a negative feeling I try to write opposite to it. Which is positive. For low days don’t last and I give my energy to what’s good.’ One of his favourite poets right now is the American poet Rudy Francisco.
Poetry: therapy or vice?
For Sean, who is London-based, he’s been ‘… writing poetry since Year 6, a teacher called Mr. Sinanis gave us a workshop on poetic devices and well, over the years, it’s become more of a form of therapy that turned in to a vice. Performance poetry started at a sixth form event where I kinda freestyled a piece against knife crime. Since then, I've dabbled in and out of different art forms. Still haven't gotten round to writing my motivational e-book yet though!’
Sean describes his poetry as ‘… abstract or even anti-poetry... but I like to vary through styles and forms. Sometimes I just write for the sake of the rhyme.’ One of his favourite writers is Shakespeare: ‘I like the way he incorporated rhyme into common speech, especially looking at plays like Midsummer Night's Dream and Merchant of Venice’.
Nathaniel and Sean will be hosting Kent Daydreams on 2 June, as part of Medway River Lit. It is suitable for ages 14-18 and we are really looking forward to seeing what our younger Medway poets will come up with!
For older poets, the next Kent Dreams event will take place on Friday 12 May at the George Vaults in Rochester.
@kentdreams (instagram & facebook)
@seango.nft – (instagram: Sean’s new art page)