Using Creativity to Help Us Get Through – Launching our Digital Stage

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all well and adjusting to a new and unprecedented time in world history.  With the spread of Coronavirus across the planet, all of us will experience a change at this time.

For example, on the day of writing this blog (Friday 20th March 2020) I was not expecting to be publishing an online post, instead, I was expecting to be on stage at the West End’s Criterion Theatre poised to launch Eastside’s 25 hour spoken word poetry marathon – I know I wish I will

808 performers and their families and friends, alongside passionate and supportive audience members, had booked trains, coaches, even flights to be part of this historic event – historic for Eastside – it being our 25 birthday celebration, but also historic internationally as the first-ever event of this kind in which young people from across the country and world would use their creativity and artistic spirit to share what they know about the world, what they wish for and what they will do to create change all through spoken word poetry.  

Watch the I know I wish I will video here.

It was a devastating experience to have to cancel this event – but we knew from the moment we heard the opening sentences of the Prime Minister’s address on the afternoon of 16th March, that we would have to cancel and that business was no longer ‘business as usual’.

It’s plain that this is but one story in the billions of stories that are being told in every family across the world of what has changed and what that means for what we all decide to do next.

Eastside’s mission will not change.  We are here to develop the creative thinking of children and young people through direct participation in the arts, culture and creative programmes.  

With the indefinite near full closure of all UK schools implemented as of Friday 20th March, Eastside and others like us will be searching for new ways to unlock creativity in young people, nurture their potential and celebrate their achievements.  

One way that we have started this journey is through launching a new conclusion to the I know I wish I will project.  If we can’t use the West End stage, we will create our own Digital Stage.  

We are asking all of our I know I wish I will poets AND any young person aged between 5 and 25 to seize this moment and make their voices heard on this alternative stage.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Record yourself performing your poem
  2. Make sure your environment is well lit and quiet 
  3. Get your film/audio online! Share to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
    USE THESE:  #knowwishwill #worldpoetryday @EastsideLondon and tell a friend!

We will be sharing these poems via our social channels @eastsidelondon so follow us there.
If you are writing a new poem, we’d love to hear what you know about your world and the wider world now, what you wish for and how you will be the change that we all need going forwards.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if together with thousands of young people we can create a fresh surge of creative writing and spoken word poetry.  All details of how to take part can be found on our Digital Stage.

And for audience members, friends and family, watching from home, please join us from 11am on Saturday 21st March and show your support by sharing, liking and letting all of your friends, family and followers know about this amazing initiative.

Eastside is here to support and celebrate you.  Please stay in touch with us as we work out how we can best fulfil our mission over the coming weeks and months.  Let’s use our Creativity to get through this together.  

Finally, we would be most grateful for any support to help us continue our work to inspire the creative potential of thousands of children and young people across the country at this difficult time.

Thank you so much,
Matt Lane 
Chief Executive Officer / Artistic Director


Screenshot 2020-03-20 at 15.21.50