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Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance Artists 2021-22 Announced

06 January 2022

We're delighted to announce the six spoken word poets selected for the Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance 2021-22 programme supported by the Jerwood Arts Development Programme Fund.

The poets selected for the second cohort of the programme are Reece Williams, lisa luxx, Malaika Kegode, Sarah Lasoye, Desree and John Bernard.

The Jerwood Arts | Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance programme is a unique opportunity for a cohort of 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 culminates 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.

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.” –  Lisa Mead, Artistic Director of Apples and Snakes

Reece Williams is a Mancunian poet of Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage. Reece has brought his inimitable, no-holds-barred brand of wordsmithery to stages up and down the country (including Band On The Wall and The Southbank Centre) and internationally too (with performances in New York City’s Nuyorican Poets Café -the ‘temple’ of spoken word and the prestigious Schaubuehne in Berlin).

lisa luxx is an activist and poet of British and Syrian heritage. Her poems are published in The Telegraph, The London Magazine and by publishers including Hatchette and Saqi Books. Her work is broadcast on Channel 4, BBC Radio 4 and TEDx. In 2021 she toured UK theatres with the show for her 60-minute poem Eating the Copper Apple, produced by a team of all Arab women artists. Her debut book Fetch Your Mother’s Heart is out now through Out-Spoken Press.

Malaika Kegode is a writer, performer and producer based in Bristol. She has appeared on stages at a number of festivals and literary events including WOMAD and Edinburgh Book Festival. Her debut theatre show, Outlier, an autobiographical gig-theatre show about addiction and isolation in rural England performed with prog-rock band Jakabol was the first piece of new writing to appear on Bristol Old Vic’s main stage in 2021.

Sarah Lasoye is a poet and writer from London. She is an alumna of the Barbican Young Poets programme and a current member of Octavia – poetry collective for women of colour. Her debut chapbook, Fovea / Ages Ago, was published by Hajar Press in April 2021.

John Bernard is a Coventry based Poet, Rapper & Writer who uses his artistry to inspire, influence and invigorate his listeners with meaningful messages. His work commentates on social issues, youth empowerment, faith and purpose. Distinctive delivery, commanding voice, an intricate lyricist his content is authentically raw and potent. He has undoubtedly carved a lane for himself infusing Spoken Word poetry, Alternative-Rap and Neo-Soul.

Desree Gumbs-Carty (preferably known as ‘Desree’) is an award-winning spoken word artist, writer, playwright and facilitator based in London and Slough. Producer for both Word Up and Word Of Mouth, finalist in 2018’s Hammer & Tongue national final and TEDx speaker, she has featured at events around the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry New York. Desree has a pamphlet out with Burning Eye titled I Find My Strength In Simple Things (2017).

Jerwood Arts | Apples and Snakes Poetry in Performance supported through Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund.