• Manchester City of Lit


Updated: Jun 1

Manchester City of Literature held a brand new event featuring the city’s best poets and spoken word artists on Sunday 31st May 2020.

Created in partnership with Contact and spoken word collective Young Identity, Our City Speaks is part of the ongoing performances by Greater Manchester’s United We Stream.

United We Stream is an online showcase of the city’s best performers, musicians and DJs, and has already hosted performances from Mancunian cultural icons including New Order and Maxine Peake, as well as digital editions of some of Manchester’s biggest club nights.

Our City Speaks was hosted by Contact Board member, City of Literature Community Engagement Manager and regular artist Reece Williams, and featured a mix of sets specially pre-recorded for the night, as well as solo artists appearing live at United We Stream’s studio located at The Met, Bury, which has been specially constructed for socially distanced live broadcasting.

The Lineup:

Poets and artists included Louise Wallwein, Mandla Rae, Roma Havers, Isaiah Hull, Saf Elsenossi, Damani Dennisur, Jardel Rodrigues, Dave Viney, Nasima Begum, Shamshad Khan and Argh Kid.

The first half of the evening ended with an appearance from Tony Walsh, whose famous poem, This is the Place, became a symbol of Manchester’s strength and unity after the 2017 terrorist attack.

“United We Stream has been a great project, very much in the famous spirit of Greater Manchester. Our diverse poetry and spoken word scene is internationally renowned and so I'm delighted to be in this excellent line-up supporting such a great initiative at this difficult time. Think that poetry is not for you?  Do please tune in and these poets will change your mind or even blow your mind!”
- Tony Walsh "Longfella" Poet

The second half was headlined by actor, musician and creative producer Keisha Thompson, whose most recent solo show, Man on the Moon, was awarded Best Studio Production at the Manchester Theatre Awards in 2018.

“Manchester is known for its vibrant poetry scene and so often poetry can help us to process the world in times of flux. I'm looking forward to being a part of an event that puts words and emotions at the centre. Hopefully we can bring joy, solace and catharsis to the people of Mancunia.”
- Keisha Thompson

The performances were live streamed from 7pm on United We Stream’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. We were live tweeting on the night from the Manchester City of Literature Twitter if you'd like to catch up.

You can view the show in full here:

United We Stream Greater Manchester is live every weekend with a donations page, where viewers can watch for free but can buy a ‘virtual ticket’ for whatever price they choose to enjoy the channel. Donations to United We Stream can also be made via the website, or by texting ‘MUSIC’ to 70140 to donate £5.

All income from the stream  goes directly to a relief fund, with 8% of funds raised donated to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity, 22% donated to the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Charity, and 70% of all funding generated going specifically to support Greater Manchester's night-time economy, including music venues,

restaurants, bars, freelancers and cultural organisations who are unable to work, or operate their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


A City Connects by Manchester City of Literature


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