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

One Mic Stand

Join Manchester’s finest young spoken word performers for a boisterous night of poetry, music and visual art. Featuring an open slam and special guests.

Workshops this month

Longsight Library workshop @ Longsight Library
Feb 28 @ 16:45 – 18:45


Workshop at Longsight Library every Tuesday

Contact workshop @ Contact Theatre
Feb 28 @ 17:00 – 20:00

Contact theatre

Contact Theatre workshop every Tuesday

6pm Beginners workshop

7pm Advanced workshop

Central Library workshop @ Central Library
Mar 2 @ 17:00 – 18:45


Workshop at Central Library every Thursday

Moston Miners workshop (postponed) @ Moston Miners Community Cenre
Mar 6 @ 17:00 – 18:45


Moston Miners Community Arts Centre workshop postponed until further notice

Longsight Library workshop @ Longsight Library
Mar 7 @ 16:45 – 18:45


Workshop at Longsight Library every Tuesday