Amy Langdown, a dedicated member of our 18-25 writing group in Newcastle, talks about meeting Tod Connor through the scheme and the subsequent creation of Out Of Your Head – a new and thriving poetry and spoken word night which raises money for different charities while championing new voices in the process.

Tod and I met when Tod became a member of the New Writing North’s 18-25 development group, which I have been a part of since its conception. I have been with New Writing North as a young writer since I was 14, and knew that when I got too old for the young writers’ groups, I would have a big hole in my life – so when New Writing North got in touch about an 18-25 group, I was so excited. Tod joined the group to expand his creative circle and to gain some insight into how he could turn his creativity into possible work. The sessions have allowed all of us to make wonderful connections with other like-minded creatives; we’re always sharing new works for feedback and proofreading, and sharing opportunities. We have also made some amazing friendships.

Tod and I had chatted a couple of times at the group about how we wanted to write together; we were both experiencing the gradual loss of our Grandads when we met and it was something we were both dealing with through writing. One night after the group, Tod messaged me and said he was thinking of doing a one-off poetry night to raise money for a charity close to his heart, and that he thought I might know how to make it happen – and I loved the idea. I have ADHD and once I get an idea into my head, I take it and run with it. By the end of the night, I’d made posters, promo plans and an idea for how the night would run. By the end of the week, we had social media up and running and a venue and date for the event. Somehow, from a few over-the-phone meetings, ‘Out of Your Head’ was born. 

Before we’d even launched our event, we’d decided that ‘Out of Your Head’ wasn’t going to be just a one off thing – I’d made example posters for future months and we both had so many ideas of charities and themes – and now, we’re prepping for our third event. We theme our nights around the charity we want to support, or sometimes pick a charity based on the theme – our first two nights were the former. Our launch event was ‘Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad’, themed around nature and raising money for ‘Gerry’s Forever Home’ animal sanctuary.  Our second was ‘The Story in Your Head’, themed around mental health, supporting ‘Tyneside and Northumberland Mind’. Both our first and second events had an amazing turn out and raised over £300 for the charity we were supporting.

We’re very proud of how quickly OOYH! has taken off; but we knew that a space like ‘Out of Your Head’ was wanted and needed post-lockdown; so many wonderful creative spaces had to shut and opportunities disappeared. We wanted to make a community that gives opportunities to, and highlights, emerging talent, and we really feel that we’re on the way to that goal.

 

For details of upcoming events, find @ooyh_poetry on Instagram and Twitter.