Don’t Tell Anyone But…

“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns; there are things we do not know we don’t know.” – United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld

We live in a world of secrets and walk among experts of social espionage. With Don’t Tell Anyone But, Young Identity undressed deception and let the truth walk naked in the garden of reality. A night of cabaret, Young Identity style, with musical musings, poetical pyrotechnics and a healthy serving of real secrets.

The poetry in this show was based loosely on anonymous secrets collected from young people in several Manchester venues. The show was an exploration of the issues young people face in Manchester. This was also the first performance that many YI members were a part of.

Photography by Hema Karecha

Word Cup 2010


Where: Contact Theatre
When: July 2010
Participants: 6
Audience: 200+

WORDCUP2010 is a national spoken word project for young people. From April to July 2010, teams of 13-16 year olds from nine regions of England worked with professional poets to create their own poetry and spoken word. The teams came together to meet, write and perform at the WORDCUP Weekend from Friday 9 – Sunday 11 July at Contact Theatre in Manchester.

WORDCUP2010 was about giving young people a chance to express what is important to them through poetry and spoken word. Participants were challenged to write, perform and work creatively in a team. By meeting other young people from across the country, they became part of a community of poets sharing their stories, energy and ideas.

WORDCUP2010 brought together top spoken word artists, poetry organisations and venues from across the country, including Leeds Young Authors, Radikal Words, Spiel Unlimited, the U.K. School’s Poetry SLAM Championship, Young Identity, April’s Dawn, Arc Arts Centre, Ashcroft Arts Centre and Contact. WORDCUP2010 was a chance for people from across the literature sector to work together, share skills and develop lasting relationships for the future.

Manchester’s Young Identity also won the coveted accolade of ‘Best Lyrical Lines’!

Photography by Hema Karecha

Poetry Slam 2009

Where: Contact Theatre
When: May 2009
Participants: 15
Audience: 70+

In preparation for The Brave New Voices International Slam Competition 2009, Young Identity members competed for a place on the Young Identity team of 6 which would represent Manchester at the festival.


For many members, this was their first experience of slam poetry. Over 15 young people participated in the slam and the judges had a difficult time deciding on a winner!

Photography by Hema Karecha

Journeys 2009

Where: Contact Theatre
When: December 2009
Participants: 19
Audience: 100+

‘Journeys’ was Young Identity’s annual end of year show of 2009. The showcase featured 19 young people, including 7 first time performers and looked at the themes of identity, heritage and culture.

They were successful in tackling serious issues with quirkiness and also highlighting that they were blossoming as performers.

Three members of Young Identity helped to direct the show under the leadership of Florence Wilson and assisted in choreographing the stage movement. This illustrated the confidence that the poet coaches have in YI and the commitment they have to empowering the young poets to contribute to the group.

Yussuf M’Rabty, Keisha Thompson and Saquib Chowdhury commented that being given the opportunity to have such an active role in the development of Young Identity was an invaluable experience and allowed them to gain organizational skills that they would not otherwise have gained. This show also saw several new members of YI take to the stage for the first time!

Photography by Hema Karecha

Evolving Words 2009

Evolving Words is a poetry writing and performance project spanning six UK cities that engaged 14-25 year olds in marking Darwin200. Darwin200 addressed the impact of Darwin’s ideas about evolution, as well as his approach to the understanding of the natural world and his outstanding example as a scientist, continue to have on our lives. Participants in Evolving Words worked with a poet and a science educator in each city and performed their poems at a range of local events during 2009.

The events built up to November 2009, the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

A selection of the written work, film and live performances was showcased at a public event at the Wellcome Collection Gallery in London. The headline performance was by Soweto Kinch, an award winning writer, hip-hop artist and jazz musician who wrote and composed a new work inspired by Darwin’s science. The event showcased the best work produced by young poets from Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

The poets involved were Anita Govan, Valerie Laws, Dinesh Allirajah, Shirley May, Kimberly Trusty and Polarbear. The lead partners are National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive); Centre for Life and Customs House, Newcastle; World Museum Liverpool; University of Liverpool; Manchester Literature Festival & Manchester Museum; University of Birmingham and Cambridge Darwin Festival. Delivery partners include N.Edinburgh Arts, Customs House, Young Identity, NU Century Arts and The Junction.