SPINE Festivals Gone By

We’ve had so much fun delivering SPINE over the years. The work of the Artists in Residence, the theatre, local artists and everyone in between is what makes this festival so fantastic. On this page an archive of some of the activities from SPINE Festivals in the past.

A group of artists in residence, smiling in fun and different poses

Spine 2023

Spine 2023 saw the return of a larger scale festival, all centred on the theme of kindness. 16 Arists in Residence were paired across boroughs in London, bringing together mixed art forms in libraries, all free for children and their families to enjoy. They were at the following locations:

Brent and Harrow
Bromley and Lewisham
Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham
Islington and Tower Hamlets
Merton and Sutton
Newham and Greenwich
Southwark and Wandsworth
Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea

Check out the SPINE 2023 Artists in Residence.

The festival’s inaugural Kindness Poetry Competition was judged SPINE 2023 Ambassador Joseph Coelho (Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate 2022-2024) in each partnering borough. A huge part of the work that Joseph delivers is around diversifying children’s literature. Libraries were also incredibly important to his childhood so he made the perfect choice to be an ambassador for this year’s festival.

Congratulations to Praven Kubavat, Kyan Norris and Mattie Stone. You can read the winning poems here: Kindness Competition Winners

SPIN Shows

This year, SPIN shows took pace instead of a theatre production. SPIN took place at the following locations and dates:

Fri 14 Apr: Islington with Desree, Adam Kammerling and Antoinette Brooks | Tower Hamlets with Desree, Adam Kammerling and Jay Sandhu
Sat 15 Apr: Hammersmith and Fulham with Stanley Iyanu, Kenny Baraka and Gayathiri KamalakanthanEaling with Kenny Baraka, Güneş Güven and Stanley Iyanu
Fri 21 Apr: Merton with Repeatbeat, Zohab Zee Khan and Eileen GbagboSutton with Repeatbeat, Zohab Zee Khan and Eileen Gbagbo
Sat 22 Apr: Bromley with Alim Kamara, Anneliese Amoah and Jasmin Thien | Lewisham with Alim Kamara, Laila Sumpton and Anneliese Amoah
Wed 26 Apr: Harrow with Khairani Barokka, Simon Mole and Paul Lyalls
Fri 28 Apr: Wandsworth with Simon Mole, Shagufta Iqbal and Ioney Smallhorne
Sat 29 Apr: Southwark with Arji Manuelpillai, Shagufta Iqbal and Ioney Smallhorne
Wed 3 May: Newham with Arji Manuelpillai, Miss Jacqui, Jaspreet KaurGreenwich with Güneş Güven, Laila Sumpton, Miss Jacqui
Fri 5 May: Kensington & Chelsea with Kat François, Francesca Beard and Jaspreet Kaur | Westminster with Kat François, Francesca Beard and Sadatu Futa

Photos from Spine 2023

Photo credit: Suzi Corker – suzicorker.com

SPIN show


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