‘Hopefully the first of many’: Students impress at Hackney Shed’s first Monologue Slam

The Slam took place at BSix College’s theatre space. Photograph: BSix

Youth theatre company Hackney Shed’s inaugural Monologue Slam was such a resounding success that teachers from the three schools that took part have called for it to be held every year.

The event, which saw nine young actors from City Academy, Mossbourne Community Academy and Clapton Girls’ Academy compete to outperform each other, took place on 7 December.

It was hosted at the theatre space at BSix College, whose students got in on the action by pairing up with City pupils for a musical number.

In the run-up to the contest, the team from Hackney Shed, which offers youngsters an inclusive place for drama, put on workshops and acting lessons at the three participating schools.

The schools then hosted their own preliminary rounds to find three finalists each.

Despite some understandable nerves, the nine young talents put on a show to remember.

The Shed’s Barry Fitzgerald said: ‘We’re delighted to have organised the Monologue Slam. It has been brilliant to work with these talented young performers from across Hackney.

“We’re very thankful to the local schools and teachers working with us and to BSix for hosting the event, which is giving these young performers a chance to grow in confidence, work with students from across different schools and take the stage together.

“We hope this will be the first of many annual Monologue Slam events.”

Teachers have called for more schools to take part in future Slams. Photograph: BSix

That wish was echoed by Christopher Thomas, lead drama teacher at City, who said his pupils really enjoyed the experience.

“Students have been given some excellent tips from professionals in the business to help with their performance,” he said.

“What has been so brilliant is to see how excited the students are about performing and, although a little nervous, they have really risen to the occasion and created some outstanding pieces of work.

“Big thank you to those at BSix for allowing the competition to go ahead and for allowing our younger students to see the talent of the musicians who attend your college.

“It will really give them something to aspire towards.”

Thomas thanked Fitzgerald and the Shed team for putting on the event and helping the students to “achieve their potential”, adding: “Let’s hope this can become an annual competition and get more schools in Hackney involved and share and promote the talent of our youth.”

BSix’s head of creative industries Sarah McLinn said: “We were thrilled to host this competition, our students were keen to perform and if they can be role models for future sixth form students, then that is brilliant.

“The standard of work from the Year 9 students was impressive. We look forward to helping to build this into a true Hackney event next year with greater participation and lots more healthy competition!”

Earlier this year, Hackney Shed launched a new offshoot aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds, having previously catered only to under-16s.

For more information on the theatre company’s work, head to hackneyshed.org.uk

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