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All student poems

The School

In 2012 the Sydney Mardis Gras Youth Festival has collaborated with Papercuts as part of its special line up of events with young people under 25 in mind.

For the first time young people have the opportunity to sing, dance and perform at Fair Day, with the launch of the inaugural Youth Hub. Young people were invited to attend a specially devised Papercuts performance poetry workshop, led by the fabulous Candy Royalle, at Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre on 25 January 2012.

Young people aged 14-21 attended the workshop and composed a performance poem as a group. Their poem is called Love Army and is their response to the Mardis Gras' first ever logo.

The participants have been invited to perform their group spoken word poem as part of the youth hub festivities at Fair Day on Sunday 12 February 2012.

Fair Day is held at Victoria Park Camperdown and regularly attracts up to 70,000 people to kick off the Mardis Gras season.

The Project

This full day workshop was led by Candy Royalle and former Education Director, Tony Britten.

The participants ranged from 14-21 years of age and came from the Blue Mountains, Western Sydney and the Inner West to attend.

Candy shared her experiences and understanding of performance poetry, which included warm up techniques such as tongue twisters. Opinions were mixed about whether it is harder to say " How can a clam cram in a clean clam can?" or "Sheena needs. Sheila needs"!

The participants were delighted to experience a special performance of her recent work at the start and conclusion of the workshop. Candy also generously gave each of the participants a copy of her new CD, Stories by Starlight.

The culmination of the day was the composing and performance of a group poem that emerged fro the participants' responses to the new Sydney Mardis Gras Logo. Their poem, entitled, Love Army, will be part of the Youth Hub performances at Fair Day on 12 February 2012. Candy Royalle will join the participants also perform 'Love Army 2.0', her commissioned poem for this project. 

A CD will be pressed by The Red Room Company to celebrate this collaboration with The Sydney Mardis Gras. Tracks will include the performance by participants at the workshop and at Fair Day and a recording of the performance poem commissioned from Candy Royalle for the project. Candy's commission is a response to the group poem produced by the participants and is entitled 'Love Army 2.0'.

Our particular thanks to the wonderful staff at Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre for being such warm and generous hosts to the event. Thanks also to Liza Bahomondes, Executive and Production Assistant with Sydney Mardis Gras, for her enthusiasm and support.

You can read a review of the workshop from one of the participants here.

The Poet

Candy Royalle

Vale Candy Royalle - celebrating the poet, warrior, artist


Each thread is its own story
everything woven
is first a lonely particle
— Candy Royalle, ‘Threading Battle Lines


A Trillion Tiny Awakenings

Esteemed poet and activist Candy Royalle was our 2018 Fellow. She performed with RR’s Poetic Threads: Lady and the Unicorn exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW weeks before her untimely passing. Red Room Poetry, along with Candy’s family and friends created a film capturing her enduring personal and poetic legacy. 

Purchase Candy’s book, A Trillion Tiny Awakenings (AU$22.99) from UWA Publishing.

 Film by Craig Holbrook 


Candy Royalle is an award winning performing writing, performance artist, poet, storyteller, activist, educator and vulnerability advocate who fuses cinematic storytelling, poetry and unique vocal rhythms with confronting, political and heart thumping content seeking to break open closed hearts. She has performed alongside many of the greats including Kate Tempest, Ursula Rucker (who said “Candy Royalle is all at once fragile, powerful, raw, sensitive, beautiful, unflinching and honest. She, her spirit and her work, will change you”), David Malouf, Shane Koyczan, Mark Tredinnick, Sarah & Phil Kay, Rives and Anis Mojgani to name a few. A festival curator described Royalle as “an act you remember for years” and the Austin International Poetry Festival Chair stated Candy had “...changed the face of poetry in Austin, forever”. Few who see her can forget her intensity, her combustible blend of intellect, imagination and heart.

Candy Royalle has expanded across artistic boundaries engaging in mixed art forms and exploring those forms with various forms of writing. Most recent collaborations include feature film “SLAM” working with award winning director Partho Sen-Gupto to develop poetry for the characters in the film; music video “Killing Us Softly” with director Emilie Morgane B., which was selected for multiple festivals including Saatchi Cannes Lion, Le Femme Underground LA and Austin Music Video Festival and many others; visual arts exhibition “Cedars” weaving poetry into sculptures with artist Annee Miron for AirPlay Gallery; and a dance piece for the Keir Choreography Awards with well known choreographer Paea Leach where they explored the relationship between words, movement and space to critical acclaim; Candy’s latest album “Birthing the Sky Birthing the Sea” was a collaboration with the band The Freed Radicals where their musical explorations blurred the lines of rock and roll, funk, experimental soundscapes and hip hop supporting Candy’s own vocal experimentations of fusing poetry with song.

Her solo work has included two published collections “Love Spectacular” and “Heartbeats” which received excellent reviews with one reviewer stating: “there are some exquisite lines in this book...I am impressed by the scope of Royalle’s artistic vision.” Her solo tours have taken her across Australia and world.

Her 2015 international tour “The Butch Priestess Tour” took in 20 cities across the UK and parts of Canada and the US with the Wales Arts Review stating Royalle delivered an “energetic, assured and startling performance. Royalle engaged and enthralled… This is the best live performance…I’ve heard in years”. Other tours have included feature performances, talks and readings at The Sydney Writers Festival, The Stella Awards, The Austin International Poetry Festival, The Latitudes Festival in Toronto and The National Folk Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Seven Sisters Festival Victoria to name a very small few.

Accolades include selection for the 2017 City of Sydney Annual Residency Program, being awarded the “Big Picture Award 2015” for her award winning piece “Memories” at the “Outside the Frame” film festival in San Francisco, the 2014 Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship for poetry, a highly commended award for the Queensland Poetry Film Makers Challenge in 2013, winner of the World Performance Poetry Cup as well as the AIPF Excellence in Poetry Award in both 2012 and 2013. She has won numerous competitions and has been nominated and highly commended for a number of awards.

Her poetry and opinion pieces have been published and featured both in publications and online including Fairfax, SBS, Overland Literary Magazine, Mascara Literary Review, Peril Magazine, Australian Love Poems, RN’s Poetica, AIPF’s Diversity anthology, “Butch is Not a Dirty Word” magazine and many more.

Royalle’s work has been covered in all major media outlets including the ABC, Fairfax, News Limited, CNN, Sky, BBC and a host of local and street press.

Candy also delivers key note speeches and talks most recently for the Stella Prize, Amnesty International’s youth conference and others.

She creates and facilitates workshops and masterclasses for both young people and adults, exploring the relationship between vulnerability and creation, what the ethical obligations of artists might be and how activism can be achieved through art. Information on these workshops can be provided upon request.

For more information or media enquiries please contact or visit