Words First is a new partnership with BBC Radio 1Xtra and the Roundhouse that will seek to find the hottest and freshest spoken word talent from across the country supported by Arts Council England.

Words First was launched at the Roundhouse in May by DJ Target and featured an explosive collaborative poem delivered by 20 poets, plus performances from George the Poet, Hollie McNish, Deborah ‘Debris’ Stevenson and GREEdS.


We’ve been committed to nurturing and developing the spoken word scene in London for over six years now but we want to go beyond the walls of the Roundhouse and our new partnership with BBC Radio 1Xtra will do just that.

Over the next year, our ambition is to nurture and develop young spoken word artists, rappers, MCs, poets and performers aged 16 to 25s from across the country with our regional partners.

The Roundhouse has a history of nurturing the rapidly growing spoken word scene in London so we’re delighted to now be venturing around the country with 1Xtra, BBC Arts and Arts Council England. The project will give up to 100 young aspiring wordsmiths the opportunity to develop their talent and give spoken word the national platform it deserves.

Nicola Thorold, Executive Producer at the Roundhouse

Our regional partners

We’re working with five regional partners across the country and Apples & Snakes in London.


If you’re 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.
Find out more here.


Don’t miss all the latest news and updates on our blog and follow the conversation at #WordsFirst

For any enquiries and more information email:

Image: Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2015 © Ellie Pinney