Poetry slam play storms West Yorkshire Playhouse

Recent Leeds postgraduate Zodwa Nyoni has stormed West Yorkshire Playhouse with a play about poetry slam battles.

Ode to Leeds tells the story of five young poets from the city, chosen to compete in an international slam contest in New York.

In a passionate and moving combination of spoken verse, music and contemporary drama, Zodwa – a graduate of MA Writing for Performance and Publication – evoked her early experiences as a member of the acclaimed Leeds Young Authors group, in a vibrant piece of theatre that earned excited national and local reviews.

The Times said “Nyoni’s political vehemence and her relish for language have a thrilling urgency”.

The Yorkshire Post said the play was “heartfelt and at times heart-breaking”, and the British Theatre Guide called it “a love song for Leeds and a hopeful testament to the city’s youth.”

This was Zodwa’s second major production at the Playhouse, following the success of Boi Boi is Dead in 2015. She graduated from the School in 2013, and has shot to prominence as a poet and playwright, with major awards and nominations to her name.

Her plays are published in Methuen.

West Yorkshire Playhouse is now known as Leeds Playhouse.