SPOKE: Earth

Our year began with a great second season here at SPOKE, a series of varied and engaging community events culminating in the opening of the south part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday 5 April. As 2014 hurtles on and our third season comes to an end, we take a moment to reflect on how our year kicked off.


SPOKE: Earth brought together top UK poets to engage with enthusiastic, inspiring young people through four ambitious spoken word projects across East London in and around the Olympic Park.


At the Poetry Potting Shed Niall O’Sullivan was our poet in residence, helping primary and secondary school children to sow the seeds of their imaginations. Vicarage and Grangewood schools were amongst those visiting the shed. With workshops, live poetry readings, and a poetry installation from local young poets, the shed was a hub of thriving creativity.

‘An interesting new landscape for London’ Michael Rosen

If that wasn’t enough to get the people of East London queuing at the gates, poet Michael Rosen also spent a day pottering about the shed. The children of Southwald Primary, Orchard Primary, and Eastbury Secondary were the lucky participants of Michael’s poetry workshops.

Carmina Masoliver shadowed Niall O’Sullivan and Michael Rosen for the duration of their time in the shed and took a hand at working with the children, writing new poetry, and leading workshops.

‘We forget that the environment is, itself, a classroom; we don’t have to learn about it from the classroom, we can get into it and discover it’ Michael Rosen


With earthly tales, storyteller Helen East and the adorable animals of Mudchute City Farm and Newham City Farm captured the hearts of young families and story lovers alike. Helen brought her environment to life through her talent for storytelling and there were even opportunities for Helen’s guests to get acquainted with some of the furrier residents of Mudchute and Newham.



The park’s beautiful Timber Lodge was the perfect venue for SPIN, a fun and interactive children’s show. Our three featured poets created a safe space in which children could play with words and explore a love of poetry and storytelling. Children’s storyteller Jan Blake, children’s poet Paul Lyalls, and rapper Breis came together to make SPIN an exciting, engaging, and educational show for all who took part.

‘Ten-out-of-ten, ten-out-of-ten, ten-out-of-ten!’


SZC_1375 copyThrough an enriching poet in residence scheme, SPOKE unearthed a plethora of new spoken word talent amongst the young people in six East London schools. Working with top performance poets, schools took part in a series of stimulating spoken word workshops. The anticipation built as the workshops led towards a final live performance showcase, where our young people got the chance to make their voices heard.


A group of emerging writers, aged 18-25, were given the opportunity to enter The Writing Room and work with top spoken word artists, including Polar Bear, Joelle Taylor, Breis, and many more. Through a series of workshops the Writing Room participants developed their skills for performance poetry and built up to a final showcase.



SPOKE: Earth was a truly ambitious and exciting season of spoken word events. It created a real buzz of words and poetry that has engaged children and young people across the East of London with poetry today. The success of SPOKE: Earth propelled us here at SPOKE into our third season, which proved to be even bigger and bolder than its predecessor. A full write-up of SPOKE: AIR is soon to come, but you can have a look at our project page if you can’t wait to hear about it.