Future Voices – South West

The south west cohort for Future Voices will be led by Milk Poetry – Milk Poetry selects the finest, freshest poets from the UK and beyond to produce the most nourishing and eclectic spoken word bonanza you could ever hope for, curated and hosted by Malaika Kegode (Outlier) – monthly Mondays at The Wardrobe Theatre. The south west cohort are as follows:

Jonah has dark hair, swept to the side. Wearing a light blue zip up hoody

Jonah Corren

Hailing from West Dorset, Jonah Corren is a songwriter-poet. His poems have been published most recently by Violet Indigo Blue, etc, and in the After Sylvia anthology from Nine Arches Press. He is also a UniSlam champion (2019), Exeter City Slam Champion (2023) and an alumnus of BBC New Creatives (2019/20), and The Apples & Snakes Writing Room (2021).

Jonah’s debut folk-rock EP, Dreaming and Petty Crime, was released in December 2020, and his spoken word and music single Borderlines, a collaboration with rapper and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Sawday (better known by his stage persona Dizraeli), was released in December 2021. He is now living in Plymouth, and is the organiser of local monthly poetry evening ‘POETRY@thePPL’. 

Lesley wears her light brown wavy hair in a half up style with a dark blue long sleeve top

Lesley Hayes

Lesley started writing and performing Spoken Word in early 2020. As an actor there was no work and she found it a great way to remain creative online, that fitted around her other job working with children with severe learning difficulties.

She was published that year by SlamKingsX and later by the Public Sector Poetry Journal. Resulting from that, she got a job helping to develop and lead poetry writing workshops for students training to work in the public sector at University of Northampton. For the last two years, she has been a finalist at the LyraFest Grand Slam.

Despite also writing play scripts, Lesley has had no formal training, except attending Red Sky Sessions run by Apples and Snakes, and is excited to receive more personal support, and to see where that will lead. Her subjects include her work with very special children, mental health, and her experiences of chronic illness. She sometimes incorporates Makaton into her work and always looks for some fun in her writing however dark it may be.

Eyrn has short, spiked up hair. Wearing a silver chain necklace, white shirt and leather jacket

Eryn McDonald

Eryn is a Bristol-based poet/dancer/wearer-of-many-hats whose writing focuses mainly on themes around butch/trans/bisexual identity, politics and relationships. They began writing poetry at fifteen after watching the ‘Women Who Spit’ series on BBC iPlayer and performed their work for the first time at age twenty whilst at university.

Since then they have performed at various events, festivals and slams including UniSlam, Green Gathering, Nozstock and Cheltenham Poetry Slam. They have a degree in dance and drama. For their dissertation they created a short documentary on drag and gender identity called Queer Is A Tender Feeling. This was screened at Watershed as part of the Queer Visions programme during Bristol Pride in 2022.

In the last year they created a short spoken word theatre piece called ‘She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ for Tobacco Factory’s SPARK Festival, which has since been performed at Elevate Festival at Theatre Royal Bath and at Fringe Arts Bath. They love interdisciplinary work and are very excited by the opportunity to combine filmmaking and poetry.

Kane has short, gelled spiked hair. Wearing a blue square patterned shirt

Kane John Mills

Devon-based Kane John Mills is a Dance, Theatre & Spoken Word Artist (Facilitator, Performer, Theatre Maker, Choreographer, Director, Writer, Dramaturg) and Access Consultant who is passionate about highlighting and fighting injustice, and championing, uplifting, and celebrating those who experience marginalisation.

Strongly believing artistic, cultural and educative experiences should be accessible to all, he is driven by the desire to break down barriers, and dispel incorrect societal preconceptions as to who the arts are for.

He has extensive experience as a Facilitator, and for over a decade has delivered provision across Dance, Theatre, Physical Theatre, Improvisation, Creative Writing, Spoken Word, and Voice & Movement, for a vast array of contexts, environments, and individuals.

He makes bold, relatable, innovative works as an independent creative, in collaboration with others, as commissions for companies/organisations, and as a creative lead for community/socially-engaged projects.

He creates space for people to share their stories, and draws upon lived experiences and observation to explore the mundane, magical, personal, and political.

Kane believes his words are for everyone (especially anybody who feels ‘othered’, unheard, and/or unseen).
He writes to try and understand this messy world, and aims to make it a more accessible one. @Kane_john_mills

Jaidah holds hand over face, wearing a portrait shirt and black hat

Jaidah Spence

Jaidah’s written & spoken works are undeniably compelling, ask questions of us collectively & hold the primary focus of advocating alongside promoting human welfare & connection. 

Jaidah’s journey into writing started 2 years ago in a sanctuary of solitude, which stimulated vastly journeying the world within herself & most importantly she has been inspired by listening to the language nature speaks.

Vulnerable yet powerful, Jaidah’s quiet commanding presence and delivery are outward-reaching and embody a courage built through her own hard-won experience. Continuously thought-provoking, her words are colourful and within those colours live the essence of divine-human nature. @Naturesjaidah 

Jo has bobbed silver hair, wearing a animal print scarf, black cardigan and red top - about to talk into the mic

Jo Eades

Since her first performance set at the inaugural Hotwells Festival of Words in 2021, Jo has become a regular on the Bristol spoken word scene, performing at slams and open mics at Milk Poetry, Raise the Bar and Tonic events.

She was a finalist in the Lyra Poetry Festival Slam at St. Georges Hall, Bristol, and performed on the Milk Poetry stage at Valleyfest in 2023. She has twice been featured on BBC Radio Bristol Upload. Some of her “pocket poems” appeared on the creative hub “Loud Voices Silent Streets” over lockdown and two of her poems have been published in the “Walking Words” collection, curated for Lyra Festival 2023.

Elena wears ginger hair pulled back, pink and yellow striped top and light denim dunagrees

Elena Chamberlain

Elena is a queer writer, theatre-maker and performance poet from the Midlands. Elena’s writing explores the mundane and the weird, coupled with a love of movement. She was longlisted for the Outspoken prize for poetry (2023), published in Snowflake magazine (2023) and was a finalist in the Lyra festival slam (2023). They have previously performed at Uni Slam (2020, 2023) and with the Leading Edge Arts Project (2017-2021).

They have also created space for children and young adults, running theatre and poetry workshops at venues such as Sunrose Festival. She has created social media content for organisations including Poetry to Your Ears. Elena is a psychology student at the University of Bath, currently taking a placement year with the National Literacy Trust. 

Valentina wears a sleeveless vest, arms showing a heart, scorpion, fern and other tattoos.

Valentina Paz Huxley

Valentina (they/them) is a British/Chilean artist based in Bristol. Specialising in illustration and poetry, they explore themes like intergenerational healing, South American folklore, addiction, queer ecology and the absurd. They also run creative writing/drawing workshops with local grassroots collectives and adores collaborating with other artists