• Applications for Words First workshops have now closed.

If you are a new or emerging spoken word artist, rapper, MC, poet or performer aged 16 to 25, BBC Radio 1Xtra and the Roundhouse want to hear from you.

We’re offering the chance to take part in FREE workshops to develop your writing, boost your confidence and move your spoken word career forward.


  • Writing and performance skills taught by professional artists
  • Opportunities to work with radio and film producers
  • An audio and video recording of your own material to takeaway produced by Roundhouse Radio

The Words First Programme is open to everyone – artists from anywhere in the UK, whatever their level of experience or style of writing and performance.

Once the workshops are over, six of you will be chosen to meet and share ideas with George the Poet and Kate Tempest plus receive mentoring from other leading writers and performers. These six artists will also get to perform on the Roundhouse’s Main Space stage (following in the footsteps of Akala, Lemn Sissay and Nas to name a few) and have a chance of being featured in programmes on BBC Radio 1Xtra and across the BBC.

Whether you’ve been secretly MC’ing along to your favourite tracks in your bedroom or performing poetry on huge stages for years this is the opportunity for you.


The workshops will be run by leading venues and arts organisations on the following dates and locations:


  • Applications for workshops in Leeds, London, Manchester and Birmingham have now closed.
  • Applications for workshops in Glasgow and Bristol are still being accepted – the extended deadline for these cities is 5pm, 23 September 2015.

It’s free to take part. To apply, fill out an application form and submit a video of yourself performing your own material (maximum 1 minute).

We’re not looking for polished performances, just artists who can show their passion, originality and personality.

Before you apply, make sure you check out the FAQs, including tips on how to create a performance video. You must be a UK resident and aged 16-25.

Made possible by

arts council banner 2

Words First is a national project supported by Arts Council England to shine a light on the existing spoken word scene and to help find and nurture new and emerging talent across the UK.

Words First is part of:

Call to Create Banner

Call to Create is a global collective of cultural organisations that believes it’s time to shout louder about the great art young people make. Across 2015, we’re celebrating young creativity in a season of multi-discipline performances, events and moments around the world, co-created by young people and established artists. Find out more .

How to Enrol