Joseph’s Story

If it wasn’t for Apples and Snakes I would never know the complete joy that can be found in opening up the written word to a young person who has perhaps never spoken aloud in class or independently written a word.

If it wasn’t for Apples and Snakes I would never have known the innate and completely magical power hidden within the pen. Apples and Snakes completely rewrote my career path.
Joseph Coelho attended Apples and Snakes’ Furnace course in 2003, facilitated by Aoife Mannix. An inspiring and eye-opening experience, it went on to shape much of his future. Joseph soon found himself performing regularly on stage and loving it, writing a new poem for every gig. In 2005, we asked Joseph to compere our Broken Words tour. We also arranged for Joseph to shadow poet and facilitator Francesca Beard, after which he began running his own poetry workshops in schools, realising that teaching and performing poetry could be a viable career. Joseph was featured on Apples and Snakes’ twofive album in 2007 and created his first work for theatre, Bear, the same year for an Apples and Snakes showcase at Battersea Arts Centre. Joseph continued to write for theatre, and has since written and performed several shows for children, including Pop Up Flash Back (2014), developed with Apples and Snakes and Half Moon Theatre, and Fairytales Gone Bad (2016). Both shows have been performed in libraries across London as part of Apples and Snakes’ annual SPINE Festival.
In 2015, Joseph won the prestigious CLPE poetry award for his debut poetry collection for children, Werewolf Club Rules. This catapulted him to stardom and he has since written a second collection, Overheard in a Tower Block (2017), several children’s picture books, and a guide to How to Write Poems for children. Joseph has also featured on CBBC for Blue Peter with his Poetry Tips, and has had many high-profile commissions, such as the Premier League Writing Stars poem, the Trafalgar Square Tree poem 2018 and the Southbank Imagine writing project. From 2017-18 Joseph was the most successful poet on Apples and Snakes’ Book A Poet programme, and continues to work hard taking his poetry to children across the UK and the world.  

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