SPINE Festivals Gone By

We’ve had so much fun delivering SPINE over the years. The work the Artists in Residence, the theatre we have commissioned and all the creativity that has come from the young people have been outstanding. On this page an archive of some of the activities from SPINE Festivals in the past.


SPINE Festival ran a ‘LITE’ version in 2022. This was a less intense programme with no artists in residence. The decision to make run a smaller version for the festival was to give the library partners a small break, post-pandemic.

In 2022, the lite festival’s theme was ‘KINDNESS’ and launched on 3rd March 2022, World Book Day, taking place throughout the month across libraries situated at the heart of London’s communities, both digitally and in-person. The free programme of spoken word and arts activities featured a six-week Discover Arts Award Telling Tales creative writing workshops programme for 7-11 year olds, tour of the playful Half Moon Theatre ‘Dollop & Crinkle’ show, and exciting local artists events. 

To celebrate the launch of SPINE LITE, as well as World Book Day, we commissioned a delightful blog from Joseph Coelho – all around his book Poems Aloud and how to use poetry to inspire children. It’s a piece we’ll continue to share going forward (not because we’re mentioned in it!) as Joseph has a fantastic way with children and genuinely supports their growth and skills.

More about SPINE LITE

In previous years, the festival has been quite large and has run for a few years now. The vibe in recent years has been slightly different as some of the events took place online due to government restrictions. We felt this didn’t affect the magic of SPINE festival and thought we’d share with you what SPINE means to us (Apples and Snakes) and to the communities that take part.

We interviewed Sarah Smith from Brent Libraries so you can get to know the festival a little better. Read the interview in this blog post.

Where did it take place?

SPINE LITE Festival 2022 takes place in the following London boroughs. To check out what’s happening in your borough, contact your local library.

Brent ● Bromley ● Croydon ● Ealing ● Greenwich ● Hammersmith and Fulham ● Islington ● Kensington and Chelsea ● Lewisham ● Merton ● Newham ● Southwark ● Sutton ● Tower Hamlets ● Wandsworth ● Westminster

Some of the events that took place:

Thu 3 Mar | Colliers Wood Library – ZooLab: Zoo on a Broom
Wed 9 Mar | Walworth Library – Improv with Pillow Talk Theatre
Sat 12 Mar | Hammersmith Library – Storytelling: Hom
Sat 26 Mar | Hammersmith Library – Storytelling: Wonder
Tue 29 Mar | Mordon Library – Comic (Manga) Workshop


SPINE 2021

In 2021, the festival’s theme was ‘EMPATHY’ and launched on 1 June 2021, World Children’s Day.

Check out the Artists in Residence from 2021. They were paired with two boroughs:

Dan Mayfield/Lalia Nadia Sumpton

Caitlin Strongham/Christy Ku

Amari Harris/Alfiah Brown

Dan Simpson/Maya Campbell

Milly Rolle/Ehireme Omoaka

Patrick Evans/Yara Rodrigues

Linden Katherine McMahon/Victoria Fifield

SPINE 2020

In 2020, SPINE Festival saw over 160 events delivered across 17 London boroughs, bringing together local communities to creatively explore the theme of ‘Our World’.

We’re really proud of the work the artists produced last year and we think it’s a great resource to keep coming back to:

Each year, SPINE Festival also offers a host of activities specifically for local school and community groups.

Produced by Apples and Snakes in partnership with Brent Library with support from John Lyon’s Charity and (previously) Arts Council England. We also would like to thank library authorities across London.

Photo credit: Suzi Corker

Brent Libraries