Jerwood Arts | Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance programme is a unique opportunity for five/six spoken word poets from across the country to explore the performative potential of their practice. Running twice from 2020 – 2022, each iteration of the programme will culminate in two national showcases and a commission for one of the selected artists.

Providing space, time and creative support, the programme nurtures the creation of new work in spoken word whilst exploring the artform’s relationship to other disciplines such as dance, theatre and digital art, and interrogating the opportunities these offer for pushing the boundaries of spoken word.

The creative programme started in 2020 and was led by prolific writer and performer, Sabrina Mahfouz, producer and Artistic Director of Trigger, Angie Bual, and Apples and Snakes’ Artistic Director, Lisa Mead. Having worked together to select the five artists for the first year, the programme leads continued to offer support throughout the year and collaborated with the group to devise the creative programme. As 2021 draws to an end, we are now eagerly awaiting the next cohort and are pleased to introduce them to you further down this page.

A final word, we’d like to add is a special thanks to Jerwood Arts and our other partner organisations, artists, and colleagues around the country who nominated artists for the programme. We also want to thank everyone who has taken part and helped to support this programme – we couldn’t do it without you.

Meet the artists 2021-22

a montage of six mixed gender poets in different colour washes

This year we were enlightened to be joined by two powerhouses in the arts sector, Joelle Taylor and Vicki Dela Amedume, who helped with the selection process. It goes without saying that we warmly welcome the next six artists to join the programme: Reece Williams, lisa luxx, Malaika Kegode, Sarah Lasoye, Desree and John Bernard. We’re already anticipating an immense showcase from this year’s cohort and are genuinely looking forward the next 12 months with them all. 

We are delighted to be working with these 6 artists for our Apples & Snakes and Jerwood Arts| Poetry in Performance programme 2021/22 – together the cohort are an exciting and inspiring representation of the current spoken word poetry scene. Each artist was nominated by organisations based across the country and selected from 30 nominees by Joelle Taylor and Vicki Amedume – Artistic Leaders for this year of the programme. This bespoke programme offers time and support to explore and develop creative process enabling each poet to really push what poetry in performance means for them. We cannot wait to work with them and see how they develop over the coming year.” – Artistic Director – Lisa Mead.

Read the artist bios.

Meet the artists from 2020-21

Meet the Artists

In 2020, we were excited to be working with JulianKnxx, Kirsty Taylor, Neelam Saredia-Brayley, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, and Shaun Hill. These five fantastic artists participated in a creative lab with experts from different performance disciplines, receive mentoring and a bursary towards their development.

Due to the current Covid-19 crisis we adapted some aspects of this programme and moved sections online. We believe that the crisis has brought to light, now more than ever, the need to invest in artists, and we are delighted to be supporting these outstanding artists at this time of immense challenge for the creative sector.

Thanks again to our partner organisations, artists, and colleagues around the country who nominated artists for the programme. We were overwhelmed by the huge amount of talent and ambition, which made selecting the final five artists for this year a real challenge.

Read the 2020 artist bios


Jerwood Arts LogoJerwood Arts | Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance is supported by Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund.