Our patron Lemn Sissay led his first workshop for our youth theatre last month.
Lemn started by telling us about his life: starting from challenging beginnings in foster care and children’s homes, his journey to meeting his birth mother at 21, and how he has channelled his life story through his work.
As we are creating a new youth theatre show exploring the theme of debt, Lemn then led a writing exercise to help us on our way. We ended the session with about 20 short, honest, moving and funny ‘IOU’ poems and stories.
Lemn has had a long career as a poet and spoken word artist with lots of very famous commissions; his poems have made it on to the side of buildings and monuments – he was even the official poet of the 2012 London Olympic Games – he has an MBE, and he’s Chancellor of the University of Manchester!
We were really inspired by Lemn’s incredible journey. Youth Theatre Member Manoka Mbolokele said:
“I liked the bravery that was displayed by Lemn. He gave us a new approach to sharing tricky or problematic issues through spoken word and poetry. I found his story very inspiring and hear warming – I’m honoured to have him as our patron.”