Welcome to Young Identity

Young Identity (YI) at Commonword is a spoken word collective formed in Manchester, 2006 by Shirley May and Ali Gadema. They were brought together when volunteers Shirley and Ali put together a Manchester team for Apples and Snakes’ WORDCUP youth poetry slam held in Warwickshire.

YI has been running creative workshops since in art venues such as Contact Theatre and HOME, in addition to projects in local wards. As well as meeting regularly in these locations to work with eager writers aged 13-25, Young Identity’s original members known as Inna Voice also work alongside YI to manage ‘One Mic Stand (affectionately known as OMS), a popular poetry showcase and slam night which takes place quarterly at Contact Theatre Young Identity is dedicated to giving young people opportunities to perform their written work and have worked with artists such as Lemn Sissay, international spoken word icon Saul Williams, dub poetry legend Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ted Hughes Prize Winner Kate Tempest, and the late Amiri Baraka.

YI have performed all over the UK, from the Southbank in London to the West Yorkshire Playhouse and even in America’s Nuyorican Poetry Café. We are currently funded by a grant from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund and work in partnership with Commonword, Contact, HOME and Manchester Library Services.

Why we write-Video

Upcoming shows

Workshops this month

Central Library workshop @ Central Library
Apr 27 @ 18:00 – 19:45


Workshop at Central Library every Thursday

Longsight Library workshop @ Longsight Library
May 2 @ 17:45 – 19:45


Workshop at Longsight Library every Tuesday

Contact workshop @ Contact Theatre
May 2 @ 18:00 – 21:00

Contact theatre

Contact Theatre workshop every Tuesday

6pm Beginners workshop

7pm Advanced workshop

Central Library workshop @ Central Library
May 4 @ 18:00 – 19:45


Workshop at Central Library every Thursday

Young Identity at Home @ HOME Manchester
May 8 @ 19:00 – 21:00

Calling all aspiring writers, poets and spoken word artists aged 15-25. Whether you’re already penning your own poetry or just fancy giving it a go we’ve got the perfect opportunity for you to work with Manchester’s premiere youth spoken word project, Young Identity.

Young Identity at HOME now meets twice a month. On the first and third Monday of every month the team will deliver spoken word workshops inspired by HOME’s artistic programme. Workshops will take place from 19:00-21:00 and are open to all young people aged 15-25.

Led by outstanding facilitators, versatile poets and established spoken word performers from Young Identity, you will get the chance to respond to the evocative films, theatre and art exhibitions at HOME, through a dynamic spoken word programme.

If this sounds like it’s for you, then join our free, unique writing workshops. Just come along to one of our sessions on any of the given dates. If you have any questions please contact youngcreatives@homemcr.org.

Train, bus and tram travel up to £5 will be reimbursed. Refreshments will be provided.