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The National Slam Final

14 May, 2014

Hammer & Tongue + RAH present:
The National Slam Final
The Royal Albert Hall, London
Saturday 21 June 2014
hosted by Steve Larkin and Sam Berkson
with featured artist Kate Tempest

The UK's finest performance poets / spoken word artists / verbose verbalised minds / masters-of-spit-and-wit go head to head to see who is the greatest at the National Slam Final at the Royal Albert Hall – the venue that brought the world momentous literary events such as Ginsberg’s International Poetry Incarnation in 1965.

Hammer & Tongue, the UK's poetry slam organisation, established in 2003, has been running poetry slams throughout the country all year and Midsummer's day sees each region's winners compete to take the title.

A poetry slam is a democratic system of choosing a poetry champion where the audience decides who wins the day. The power of judgement is with the poet's peers and they must connect with and entertain the audience. What ensues at a poetry slam is high-octane entertainment with "poems" that are not improvised, but rather pre-prepared, well-crafted and perfected performance pieces guaranteed to delight audiences.

Steve Larkin from Hammer & Tongue said: “People coming to the slam final will be blown away by the variety and virtuosity of UK spoken word.

“There’s a whole carnival of quality going on under the surface. For every Kate Tempest and Dizraeli, there are a plethora of poets who are coming from all sorts of different backgrounds – from comedy, music or hip hop – and doing incredible things.”

In the urban setting of The Royal Albert Hall's Loading Bay pop-up venue, deep under the Hall itself, with a backdrop of graffiti art depicting jazz and literary greats of old, a new generation of poets will make their mark. Could this underground setting unearth the next William Burroughs, Christopher Logue or Allen Ginsberg?

Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “Almost 50 years after one of the most incredible events ever to be staged in the Royal Albert Hall, the International Poetry Incarnation, we are delighted to announce the National Slam Final today.

“The Loading Bay has played host to a succession of invigorating, exciting and unusual events over recent years, from a graffiti exhibition to chessboxing, and this poetry slam will be no exception. It’s a unique arena, and the perfect location for this extraordinary event.”

Hammer & Tongue's poetry slams have been sweeping the nation, gobbling up new-found enthusiasm for the resurrected oral tradition. 

They have worked at grass roots for over a decade to create a platform for impressive emerging talent. One such talent is Kate Tempest, who will be honoured as a featured artist as part of the show. Kate has been lauded by poets, rappers and critics the world over:

 “Her works are truly of upliftment and betterment” – Roots Manuva

“A genuinely galvanizing presence” – The Guardian

But it is the slam that will take centre stage and capture the collected imaginations of the audience as more than 50 poets speak their piece, and a new team and a new individual are hoisted into the limelight and crowned National Poetry Slam Champions 2014.

Because of the unique nature of the location, tickets for this event are very limited.

"Hammer & Tongue have reinvented the medium for the hip hop generation" The Guardian

"The best live poetry is to be found at The Hammer & Tongue Slams" The Sunday Times

Notes to the editor:

To arrange interviews with Steve Larkin, or for more information, contact Rick Burin at / 020 7959 0531.

Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state-of-the-art small-scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, and has reached over 100,000 participants as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.

For more information, visit Registered charity number: 254543

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Rick Burin
020 7959 0531

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