On National Poetry Day 2018, we open our show Rallying Cry​ at Battersea Arts Centre.

Rallying Cry​ feels like a homecoming; both professionally and personally my connection to BAC is strong and I feel it a massive privilege to have David trust us with the building for a week. And to be honest I feel a bit emotional about it….this is the first major project I have delivered since becoming Artistic Director of Apples and Snakes, and although over the years I have produced many brilliant projects this feels scarily and excitedly ambitious. We have commissioned 5 established poets, 8 emerging, have bands and singers involved, emerging producers and director, and an amazing creative team led by Rob Watt.

This is all kinds of important for me. I worked at BAC back in 1997 on a maternity cover as the Education Manager, based in an office which is now one of the spaces that we are performing in, as part of the team where Tom Morris was the inspirational Artistic Director and previous awesome Apples and Snakes’ Director Geraldine Collinge was programme manager.

I had loads of fun and learnt a lot which has stayed at the core of my being, BAC has a way of getting under your skin! For many years I never really left, working freelance on projects then coming back in 1999 working alongside David Jubb, amongst others, I remember the idea of scratch being developed…

During this time Apples and Snakes hosted regular Friday night gigs in the café with amazing line-ups. Later our offices would move into BAC and we would co-produce shows such as Lemn Sissay’s Something Dark.

Rallying Cry​ is important for more than this though. Spoken word/poetry is an under-resourced and under-funded part of the arts sector, lacking infrastructure and opportunity. But the artists that we work with represent often ignored and unheard voices, and the audiences we reach aren’t your typical arts crowd. Poets have always been social and political commentators and we need them more than ever at the moment. We need to create spaces for their voices to be heard and opportunities for them to experiment and play with the form, pushing everything that poetry can be. It was amazing to see Rallying Cry mentioned in Time Out’s round of immersive experiences alongside the city’s most exciting theatre and live art.

So here’s my Rallying Cry​!
If you have ever watched a poet in a festival tent and connected with what they say, come.
If you have ever been to a spoken word event and had a good time, come.
If you hated poetry at school, this won’t be that sort of poetry, come.
If you like grime, hip hop, lyrics, stories, come.
If you want to hear some interesting things being said, that might make you see the world differently, come.

We need you to be there.
We need to show that poets and spoken word deserve these platforms.

Lisa Mead
Artistic Director / CEO
Apples and Snakes

Rallying Cry runs Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 October, 7pm & 8.30pm. Info & booking