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Arts and Health

Arts and Health

Apples and Snakes is the leading organisation for performance poetry and spoken word in England: the only one with a London heart, national infrastructure and international reputation. This year we're celebrating our 35th anniversary and are looking forward to demonstrating the increasingly important role of performance poetry in platforming unheard voices.
We have been working in the arts and health field for many years, collaborating with hospitals, NHS Trusts and in other healthcare settings you can see examples of our past projects below. Many organisations and individuals have benefited from our expertise and ability to tailor our work to their organisation and the needs of participants. We are renowned for developing exciting, high-quality participation projects for a variety of settings; from hospitals to theatres to community centres. Our arts and health activities are at the heart of what we do.
Healthcare organisations recognise the difference poetry can make in healthcare settings, enhancing the lives of participants by increasing self-esteem, reducing stigma and giving people of all ages a voice. One of our project participants told us:
“I discovered how cathartic the act of writing experiences down can be. Getting things out of my head and onto paper, I am able to view them more objectively and somehow put my problems into perspective. Also, I find that the act of writing things down makes me feel that I am actively confronting my problems and I therefore feel more in control”.
Our work inspires people of all ages to develop a love of words, giving them confidence in their writing and performance skills.
The artists we work with bring an open, flexible and down-to-earth approach to often very sensitive environments. They engage creatively encouraging those involved to write or listen to poetry and stories, adapting their techniques to the situation for positive and effective results.
Through our Arts and Health strand we aim to: 

- Help the most vulnerable or disadvantaged: such as children in hospital with long term illness or people in rehabilitation where they are unlikely to have access to creative activities
- Help vulnerable and disadvantaged groups unlikely to have access to creative activities.
- Empower the hospital, centre or clinic staff with creative ideas for interacting with their patients, offering unique training opportunities.
- Provide stimulus for long term patients and support for parents/carers and families. Enriching healthcare environments for staff, patients and visitors.
Improve quality of life for patients through creative workshops aimed at reducing stigma and isolation.
- Work creatively with healthcare partners to create bespoke projects

Examples of Past Projects:

Spill the Magic Beans

A creative storytelling and writing project for young patients at the Royal London Royal London Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Vital Arts. Storytellers Sally Pomme Clayton and Helen East performed and collected stories on children’s wards, in the hospital classroom and at children’s bedsites over six months. Patients’ stories have been published in an anthology, alongside activity ideas for future hospital patients to enjoy.
Lunch performances at Guy’s & St Thomas Hospital

In collaboration with Breathe Arts Health Research, a series of lunch time performances by poets & storytellers held in public spaces across Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital to enhance the healthcare environment for patients, staff and visitors.
Allsorts is a creative arts project for adults with learning disabilities run by Heart ‘n’ Soul. Apples and Snakes commissioned poets and storytellers to enable the participants to experience different ways of creating/writing poetry and performing.
Out of the blue
From October 2013, Apples and Snakes collaborated with Mind Islington's patients in a creative writing project exploring how language comes alive through poetry, creative writing, listening and speaking and storytelling exercises.
The No Panic Book of Not Panicking
A series of creative writing sessions led by storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton with No Panic (Sutton & Merton), a self-help group in Sutton that supports people suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. The project led to the publishing of The No Panic Book of Not Panicking, a book with stories, poems, biographies and fictions and self-help advice, written by the group to help others who suffer anxiety.


If you would like to discuss projects or partnerships in this specialised field, please contact Daniela Paolucci, Producer at daniela@archive.applesandsnakes.org  

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