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Francesca Beard

Born in Malaysia...

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At Apples and Snakes we raise the profile of spoken word and push the boundaries of the artform through producing and curating live events and creative digital content, working extensively in partnership and commissioning and touring new writing.



We nurture spoken word artists, providing guidance and support from our staff team, mentoring and shadowing opportunities, critical feedback, a wide range of masterclasses and more in-depth professional development projects and programmes at a regional and national level.



Participation is at the heart of our work at Apples and Snakes, with projects and programmes involving schools, libraries, prisons, hospitals and other settings, with a focus on disenfranchised voices, marginalised communities and those at risk.

New Apples and Snakes Leadership Announced


Apples and Snakes, the leading organisation for spoken word and performance poetry in the UK, today announced the appointment of a new leadership team with

Lisa Mead becoming Artistic Director and Robert Saunders Administrative Director. 

Chris Elwell, Chair of Trustees at Apples and Snakes stated:

“The trustees are delighted to make these appointments. In a first for Apples and Snakes we have chosen joint chief executives that together will provide innovative, artistic ambition while ensuring that the business continues to provide a safe and secure environment in which the artform can flourish. This is a progressive and exciting move for Apples and Snakes that will ensure the company continues to build on its sector-leading role through the next stage in its development. We could not be handing the company over to two more well qualified, exciting and respected professionals.” 

Lisa Mead will be the company’s first ever Artistic Director. She has been with Apples and Snakes for over 11 years, most recently as Creative Producer. She brings to her new role a vast amount of experience in devising and producing innovative spoken word and performance poetry events and projects as well as an excellent knowledge of spoken word artists and the developing scene in the UK. 

 Lisa Mead, new Artistic Director of Apples and Snakes: “Apples and Snakes has always been at the forefront of pushing what poetry is and can be. We are at an interesting time with spoken word gaining more recognition in the public eye, we need to capitalise on this and be ambitious with the work that we create.”

Robert Saunders becomes Administrative Director, after 8 successful years as the company’s General Manager and brings a strong track record in financial and business management to the new role.      

Robert Saunders, new Administrative Director of Apples and Snakes, “I am really excited by this opportunity and looking forward to the challenges to come. I always aim to be a facilitator rather than a barrier to artistic development and experimentation and I see my appointment to the Joint Chief Executive role as an endorsement of this approach and my abilities.”


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