Read Our Lips at Barnard Castle

Apples and Snakes’ exciting new project, Read My Lips, teaches writers how to combine their poetry with film. Here, the writers involved share with us their experiences of the process.

Some time ago, we were contacted by Teesdale Words, a group of enthusiastic poets based around the very attractive market town of Barnard Castle. They had heard about the Read Our Lips project, where we teach poets to storyboard, film and edit their own filmpoems. Could their group take part? So one (mercifully) bright day in October, Laura Degnan and James Harris from Writers Block North East set up shop in The Witham Arts Centre and took nine writers from absolute beginners to first-time filmmakers.

 “It was a brilliant day – we covered so much in one day and the workshop has given me the tools to continue and hopefully (once the children are back at school) produce more and play around. It is an exciting medium and – through the workshop – something I can do myself. The film I made it was a bit of a cheat as the software wouldn’t recognise any of the footage I took that day so after lots of messing around and not much time I cobbled together something using holiday video and added a voice over!”

Arwen Webb – view Arwen’s film here

“I had a great time at the Read Our Lips poetry/film Workshop. I was excited and a little anxious about the event. I tried to prepare myself by bringing along several poems I thought might suit.  I also brought recordings of my voice reading these poems and I had done a bit of filming in advance. The day got off to a good start. Both Laura and Jim were so professional and friendly in their approach.
I was asked to go out and film something that interested me. 20 minutes later, I came back and had to write
 a new poem for some selected footage I had just made. That was the hard bit. Trying to write a new piece of work that didn’t relate to the film I’d just shot seemed rather strange. I was stuck! Laura suggested writing a few lines on the five senses and then I was away. I put the film shots together and recorded my voice over.”

Pat Maycroft – view Pat’s film here

ROL_TeesdaleRead Our Lips is an on-going project, featuring one-day workshops in various locations throughout the year, and an annual competition with screening. The Read Our Lips competition for 2015 will be open for submissions from 1st December 2014, with a deadline of 16th February. Finalists for the £100 prize will be screened at a special event on Wednesday 4th March at ARC, Stockton. the evening will also feature a special guest performance by Byron Vincent with his show, Talk About Something You Like.

To see information about this and other events and opportunities, please join our The North East Facebook group

To view finalists from the Read Our Lips Filmpoem Competitions 2013 and 2014, please visit

Apples and Snakes North East


Read Our Lips Filmpoem Competition 2014