Working with a diverse team of programme coordinators in different locations, we give support to local partners, organisations and artists to create events, participation projects and artist development opportunities. Meet the Apples and Snakes programme coordinators…
South East and East
Hello, I have been involved in spoken word and poetry for nearly 20 years now and started as a humble open-miker, reading a hand-written poem from a shaking piece of A4 to a room of strangers. But that was enough to give me the bug. Since then I have read and performed all over the UK, in Europe and even in America, have competed in slams and have co-written poetry-based plays for national radio. To put it simply, I know what it’s like to take your first faltering steps onto the stage and where those steps can lead, and one of my greatest thrills as an Apples and Snakes coordinator is watching poets take the risk of sharing their work and finding out where that can take them.
Over the past few years in the South East I have seen scenes develop and blossom, seen new poets emerge and have been lucky enough to help provide opportunities to help facilitate this development. Working with young people has introduced them to the power of writing and expressing themselves, working with poets has given me the opportunity to offer guidance and support, as well as learn from them, and I still get a warm glow seeing audiences, enthralled and inspired by their peers and professional poets, leaving an event smiling and chatting and enthused by performance poetry.
Looking to the future, I am keen to continue this work – spreading the word about spoken word, creating more opportunities, supporting more poets and finding more new voices to add to the performance poetry pantheon.
I’m Gina, Apples and Snakes coordinator for the South West. My background lies in the fields of writing, visual art and theatre, with a degree from Dartington College of Arts and experience as a touring cabaret artist. Words and the way they are performed is something I am passionate about, I’m a firm believer in the transformative effect of poetry on people and on the importance of art for a healthy culture. I live in Bideford, by the Sea.
Here in the South West, Apples and Snakes have two regular events, Forked and Spokes: Amaze!, that both take place in Devon, the biggest of the South West regions/areas. Between them, they have notched up almost 8 years of performances and enthused audiences. In addition to our regular events keep an eye out for spoken word shows across the South West at venues such as, Fringe Theatre Fest in North Devon, Bath Spa University Theatre, Falmouth Performance Centre and Bridport Arts Centre.
On a National scale, I have programmed and commissioned Artists for large scale projects such as Shake the Dust and Architects of Our Republic, We also run the yearly Public Address National Tour, a fantastic opportunity for artists to tour across the UK together.
Programming is made so very easy due to the fantastic talented artists I have the honour to work with. You only need to check out the poet’s database to see many faces from across the South West including Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Bath, Dorset and Somerset. I try my very hardest to find opportunities for professional poets in the South West to perform, often giving first paid sets to talented newcomers. We like to share our poets and I connect regional artist with my fellow Apples and Snakes programmers, helping them to establish National connections. I also programme artists from across the UK and international ones at times too, such as USA’s Buddy Wakefield and New Zealand’s ‘Hotpink’ Penny Ashton.
Artist development is a big part of my programme. Past projects have included Kindle, a page to stage intensive course, mentorship and shadowing programme, one to one meetings and our range of programmed Power Plant masterclasses. There have been lots of exciting masterclasses for poets at every stage, from slam techniques, to Improvisation, finding funding to using found text. I also work in partnership with other organisations to deliver projects that help develop the skills and confidence of young people and poets with disenfranchised voices.
We have established some fantastic partnerships here in the South West and this helps to keep us alive and on the pulse of what spoken word artists and audiences want and need. I am always looking at ways to develop our offer and reach new audiences.
Hi, I’m Bohdan. I’ve been developing Apples and Snakes’ work in the Midlands for five years, working with local and national artists across the spoken word scene to deliver a great programme of events and artist development opportunities, actively seeking out chances to collaborate with artists working in a range of media.
I am also a poet myself; originally from Poland, I now live in Birmingham and continue to develop my own writing. I have a depth of performance experience at an array of venues, ranging from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Rep, from an underground Tokyo club to a tramway in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany. I enjoy the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events.
The current Apples and Snakes Midlands programme includes the popular monthly spoken word night Hit the Ode, held at the Victoria Pub in Birmingham, which features a different local, national, and international artist every month, and gives upcoming artists the chance to step up to the open mic. LEVEL UP at Birmingham Rep also delivers an explosive night of spoken word from some of the very best UK poets. Outside the Midlands region, I contribute to Apples and Snakes’ national projects, including the Public Address III Tour in Autumn 2015.
In the East Midlands region, Apples and Snakes has been developing artists through a mentoring programme delivered by Writing East Midlands, and I offer local poets one-to-one advice sessions. We have also been supporting the work of Mouthy Poets including programming and paying for the headliners on their current national tour.
When I’m not wearing my Apples and Snakes hat, I co-lead the Roundhouse Poetry Collective with poet Deborah Stevenson. I am also Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham and a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Hi, I’m Kirsten. I’m a spoken word artist, and I’ve been an Apples and Snakes Coordinator in the North of England since December 2010. The region has a strong tradition of independent poetry publishing, and thanks to the passionate efforts of local poets and promoters, we also now have a thriving scene for spoken word performance in a range of wonderful venues.
The North programme has some well established regular nights, including Jibba Jabba at the Cumberland Arms in Newcastle, and Scratch Club in Newcastle, a space for spoken word artists at all levels to come together, share new work, and receive critical feedback. I also make myself available to local poets for one-to-one advice sessions, aimed at helping writers to improve their professional skills and provide guidance on progression routes and performance opportunities.
Modeled on the successful and long-running Birmingham event Hit the Ode, we are running the new Hit the Ode Manchester, in partnership with Ben Mellor, at the Contact Theatre, Manchester. And outside the region, I contribute to the development and delivery of Apples and Snakes’ national projects, including the Public Address III Tour in Autumn 2015.
Hello from the London Programme Team. Together, we develop Apples and Snakes’ work in the London area. We’re committed to working with artists at every level, from big-name headliners, to grass-roots, open-mic level. We like to maintain a friendly and approachable environment in our office at the Albany in Deptford, and welcome visits from any of our artists or partner organisations.
We are constantly seeking new ways to engage with artists and different London boroughs, and form relationships with other organisations. This is reflected in our varied and extensive programme of events, projects, and artist development and education opportunities. Our monthly open mic night, Jawdance, continues to grow in to one of the largest free open mics the city has to offer — showcasing some of the best talent in spoken word, and pulling in a crowd of over one-hundred audience members each month.
On a wider level, we work closely with the other regional coordinators throughout the year, and coordinate the London element of any national Apples and Snakes project. Amongst other things, in the past, these have taken the form of national tours and writers’ residencies. One of our most recent projects include Picture the Poet, a three-year project in partnership with The National Portrait Gallery and National Literacy Trust. We have been developing a strand of work with London libraries, helping to transform these great places into cultural spaces. In March 2015, SPINE Festival saw 33 libraries across 11 London boroughs welcome a range of cultural events and artists, and Library Takeover is set to equip 6 young people and 6 library staff with the skills and experience to produce live arts events.