So we’re coming to the end of another full and eventful year here at Apples and Snakes, and, we hope, in all of your lives. As we approach Christmas our national programme of events, artist development opportunities and participation and outreach projects starts to slow down, but 2015 is looking as busy as ever!
During 2014 we have been major partners on SPOKE, a yearlong programme of spoken word events and participation activities in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Highlights of this programme included John Hegley and Lemn Sissay performing in a swimming pool, storytelling at City Farms, and a Poetry Potting Shed in the Park which hosted Michael Rosen as well as hundreds of children, young people and adults starting to write their own poems. SPOKE also included WORDCUP14 in July, with students from ten schools performing their hearts out at Stratford Circus.
Architects of Our Republic, marking 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech, continued into 2014 with public events and education workshops in libraries and other venues. There is also a national tour of the commissioned artists currently underway, and visiting Southampton and Exeter in the New Year.
Artist development continued to feature as a major part of our work, with Power Plant masterclasses taking place in different areas across the country and Level Up and The Writing Room, in Birmingham and London respectively, offering younger writers the chance to develop and perform their work. This year also saw the launch of The Inventing Room, a space for more established spoken word artists to work alongside a practitioner from another art form, exploring ideas and experimenting with new approaches and collaborations.
After four years of the brilliant Hit the Ode event in Birmingham, we launched Hit the Ode Manchester, with events in April and November. Jawdance continues to be the most popular open mic night in London, with a new event, Spokes Amaze in Exeter, also including open mic spots. 451 in Southampton and many of our partnership gigs in Newcastle such as Jibba Jabba continue this theme of enabling people to take to the stage, potentially for the first time, whilst showcasing some of the best spoken word artists the UK has to offer.
We’re looking forward to many more such events in 2015, as well as the work we are planning as part of our extensive participation and outreach programme, which focuses on the marginalised and the voiceless. During these times, this feels more important than ever.
Thank you for all your support, and have a wonderful Christmas – if this is a special time for you – and a very happy New Year.