Primary Content: Home

Battle Of The Minds


Young Identity, Manchester’s brightest young orators, present their own take on the curricula of education and knowledge, teaching their lessons of life and sharing playground parables.

Between lunchtime punch-ups, discovering self-worth and devising a fail-safe plan to avoid PE, our poets think out loud about what they know and where they learned it from.

Date: Saturday 17th October 2015

Time: 7:30pm

Tickets: £11/£6

Box Office: 0161 274 0600









One Mic Stand – 6th June


Friday the 6th of June brought with it the second of this years One Mic Stand. An tantalizing and engaging night of powerful spoken word poetry, the event was hosted by Young Identity members and mentors, Elmi Ali and Saquib Chowdhury. the evening brought with it some spectacular performances from some of Manchester budding poets and performers, and a splash of sexy vocals from local talent.

The night was a full of unprecedented talent and lyrical skill, but in the end only one poet could be crowned winner, with the judges final decision bringing two of our great poets head to head in a tie, Young Identity’s very own Isaiah Hull came out on top an took home the metaphorical crown, and a smashing £50 prize!

Visit the One Mic Stand Facebook Page.

One Mic Stand is back with a bang!

After eight hugely successful shows, One Mic Stand is back again, but this time with a twist….

One Mic Stand is a boisterous night of poetry, music and visual art. The night is centred around a Poetry Slam, in which poets are given only 3 minutes each to wow the audience with their lyrical mastery and charismatic delivery to battle it out to gain the top spot and with the grand prize!

This month, however, we have a twist!

Instead of having our usual open slam, we are pitting the original members of Young Identity, who are now known as Inna Voice to war verbally to get the top spot. Usually they hide in the shadows, organising the events, running workshops with the young people and training the next generation of poets, but this time you get to see them put their money where their mouth is and really witness what the so called ‘greatest slam poets of our city sound’ like.

The event will also feature special guest performers Tony Walsh and Mali Hayes.


National Diversity Awards 2015

Young Identity has been short listed for the UK’S Largest Diversity Awards!

Young Identity from Manchester has been short listed for the Community Organisation for Age at the
National Diversity Awards 2015.

Charities and Role Models from across the UK will gather at the breathtaking Anglican Cathedral on September 18th 2015 for The National Diversity Awards.

The Best of British Diversity will flock to Liverpool to celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.

Over 20,000 nominations and votes were received this year, paying tribute to grass root communities nationwide.

Young Identity began its life in Moss Side, Manchester in 2006. Poets Shirley May and Ali Gadema founded YI following the completion of Word Cup 2006, a project they were commissioned to deliver by Apples and Snakes, the UK’s leading poetry organisation. After coaching a team of young poets to perform at a national slam poetry competition in Warwick-where they represented Manchester, the group returned to Manchester so inspired that they managed to persuade Shirley and Ali to continue to work with them by turning up at Shirley’s workplace with their notepads and pens and demanding a workshop!

9 years on (and many, many working hours later) Young Identity, operating under the umbrella of Commonword, the leading writing development organisation based in Manchester, providing opportunities for new and aspiring adult writers to develop their talent and potential, stands as a testament to the great things that investing in the voice of young people can accomplish.

In the past 3 years alone, over 400 young people have participated in Young Identity’s programme of free workshops and events. Their members volunteer on the project, drive the project through a Steering Group and are empowered to progress into careers in a range of fields.

Speaking about being shortlisted for an NDA Award, Shirley May, Project Director said:

“Young Identity works tirelessly to develop and deliver a project that is reflective of the diversity of Manchester. We pride ourselves on being a genuinely safe place for young people aged 13-25 irrespective of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion. We believe that fostering this inclusive environment in our work place, workshops and events is not only the responsibility of Young Identity project management but also the responsibility of our participants. Therefore, we emphasise the importance of not only being tolerant of other peoples’ identities and characteristics but actually embracing difference as this is what helps us develop into empathic, well-rounded citizens.”

The Awards

The prestigious black tie event is definitely one to mark down on your calendar and provides recognition for excellence regardless of race, faith, religion, gender, identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and culture.
Microsoft will be just one of the brands supporting a skyfall of diversity talent alongside Barclays, The Army, Financial Ombudsman Service, Liverpool City Council, Penna, Mouchel, MI5, PwC, ThoughtWorks, Transport for London and The Open University.

Barclays commented ‘We understand the commercial relevance of diversity and are therefore proud to sponsor the National Diversity Awards as thespirit of these awards aligns with the way we do business. We would like to congratulate all of the nominees and winners this year and wish them every success.’

TV personality Brian Dowling also expressed his delight in returning to host the ceremony, He said: ‘I am so excited to host The National Diversity Awards again! I have witnessed the awards go from strength to strength since its formation and I am always truly taken back by the humbling and uplifting stories of all the nominees and award winners. I can’t wait to get on stage for what is sure to be another extraordinary evening!’

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s are supported by the likes of Brian Blessed, Adam Hills and Ade Adepitan amongst many.

Comedian and actor Stephen Fry said, ‘Four years on and The National Diversity Awards are continuing to have a positive impact across the whole of the UK. The awards have grown, and with it, so has the vast array of unsung diversity heroes being recognised nationwide.

It is crucial that we challenge discrimination head on, and the NDA’s unite those that dedicate their lives to the cause. Long may this continue’. He added.

Previous winners include Huddersfield based Disability Theatre Group Shabang!, Freedom Fighting Refugee Aderonke Apata, and domestic violence campaigner Karen Ingala Smith.

Internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Rachel looked back on her time winning the positive role model award in 2013 “It truly was a tremendously uplifting emotional evening, and I don’t think there was a single person in the room who would disagree with that! The evening represented everything that is good about our society”.

Rachel went on to receive the award for battling successfully against a potentially life limiting illness to produce works of art that are applauded worldwide.

She continued “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating an exceptional night, the challenges ahead are still enormous, but with the ND Award in my hand, I will journey forward with renewed hope and ambition to try to do so much more, and in my efforts, hopefully I will, in some way, contribute to making the vital cultural shift within our society.”

To view a full list of nominees please visit www.nationaldiversityawards

One Mic Stand – 11th April


Friday the 11th of April saw the commencement of the first of this years One Mic Stand. An explosive and engaging night of powerful spoken word poetry, the event was hosted by Young Identity aficionado and mentor, Saquib Chowdhury. with a commanding and comical presence on stage, Saquib quickly took the full and complete attention of the audience in his hands, and refused to let go throughout the night. the evening brought with it some spectacular performances from some of Manchester budding poets and performers, and a tantalizing splash of vocals from Yemi Bolatiwa. with all amount of merriment in full swing the night came to a close with the judges final decision, and one young poet was crowned champion.

If you cant wait to get your next fix of punchy poetry, your in luck, as this years next One Mic Stand will be heading your way on the 6th June.

Meander over to the One Mic Stand Facebook page.

One Mic Stand – 14th November

oms banner november

We’re back in collaboration with the Black Sound Series!

1939739_10154730458255232_1564476341361599661_o (1)
Tickets: £6/£3 (bloody bargain that)

We are uber pleased to announce our headliners:

Guest Poet: Kayo Chingonyi

Guest Singer: Jenna G

If you don’t know, get to know then get your ticket – simples.

As usual there will be a slam in which poets are given only 3 minutes each to wow the audience with their lyrical mastery and charismatic delivery to battle it out to gain the top spot and win the grand prize of £50!

We will be graced with our brilliant house band – 8 GOLD RINGS

Finally we will be skanking afterwards with our special BPM afterparty.
Tickets: £6/£3 (bloody bargain that)

Pictures from One Mic Stand in April
[nggallery id=22]

Longsight Poem

longsight poem border

My Town

theres no limit to the harmony we have on Stockport road
theresx no violence, no swords, or crossbows
As we condense 5 continents in to one road
amongst the flavoured atmoshpere
the odd cocky kid spits lyrics to his peers.

People of all intellects come here,
A union from Athletes to poets to scientists,
we’re more than a group of people who are normal.

with no boundaries to word peace
On Stockport Rd, knives and guns are
kebabs and chicken drumsticks
We deliver success like Fedex
with an assembly of the intellect.

70% of us like everyone: are just water,
the other 30% of Longsight is dignity and order,

We are the only place in this universe
that grasps the concept of magnificence
And still finds an ‘Uncle Ji’ on every corner
If you were to script out brilliance,
Dickens and Shakespeare would not be good enough.

because this is Longsight;
an amazing and Unique place.

See Poster

Kate Tempest partnership Young Identity, Inna Voice and Sanctum

Kate Tempest event with young identity 2

Young Identity poets performed as the curtain-raising act for touring poet Kate Tempest’s one woman show ‘Brand New Ancients’. Their performance was a scintillating showcase of new-age story-telling, lyrical dexterity and youthful honesty and brought delighted the 340-strong audience.

Brand New Ancients is an epic spoken word performance of every day Gods, Brand New Ancients follows two South London families as their respective generations grow and intertwine into a parable of modern life. Highlighting the immortal and very real truths of love and loss, Brand New Ancients is a call to arms for the modern day hero. Set over an exhilarating live score played by tuba, cello, violin, drums and electronics, that finds the gods of today all around us and reveals that our true heroes are much closer than we think.

[nggallery id=23]

Picasso Theory


Young Identity’s Inna Voice Ensemble explore modern mythology, antiquity, morality, and the anarchy that comes with complex relationships, in this theatre performance featuring spoken word, live music and visual art.

[nggallery id=17]

The Saul Williams Experience

One of the most outstanding Slam poets of his generation, Saul Williams has many lyrical accolades under his belt such as winner of the 1996 Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s Grand Slam Championship, featured in the documentary film SlamNation and star of the 1998 feature film Slam. He has performed with The Fugees and Erykah Badu, as well as Sonia Sanchez and famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

In 2010, Manchester welcomed Saul Williams when he made a one-off visit to the city as part of the Literature Festival and Black History Month.

Young Identity arranged a series of events around the festival, with Saul appearing in a Q&A session at Contact Theatre and performing at Band On The Wall.

With music provided by the Speakeasy Band, and members of Young Identity performing alongside their hero, the event was an exciting and fully enjoyable session!

Sanctum and Inna Voice

sanctum and inna voice - Amiri Baraka

This event was curated by Tilt Spoken word and Manchester Literature Festival in association with Commonword. The proceeding were opened by Manchester’s very own Young Identity’s Sanctum (Supported by Commonword and the Big Lottery) and Inna Voice

Young Identity’s Sanctum and Inna Voice performed their commissioned piece at Contact Theatre on October 10th 2012 in support of Amiri Baraka. Baraka is a leading figure in the evolution of the spoken word genre, who has influenced politics, artistic practice and cultural change on a international scale.


To view more of the pictures, click here


Formerly known as LeRoi Jones, Baraka has produced over 40 books of plays, essays, poems and music history, is an esteemed lecturer, and has won countless awards including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a Rockerfeller Foundation Award. Reading from his rich collection of work and talking with Dr Corinne Fowler about his career and influences.