Apples and Snakes announces spoken word artist Amerah Saleh as New Chair of the Board
Apples and Snakes have appointed a New Chair of the Board, Birmingham-raised spoken word artist Amerah Saleh. She succeeds Chris Elwell, who stepped down in early December and has been chair since 2014.
Amerah takes up the mantle after being a member of the board for three years. As a trustee, she aims to bring young people to the forefront of organisations minds’ and provide a voice in the room that could become potential opportunities for young people across the country.
Amerah grew up with no arts access in her family or surroundings, but during secondary school she turned to storytelling. From writing out her life story in the back of her schoolbook, her English teacher took a fond liking to her writing and she was later asked to join a programme with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and R4. This led to the staging of her first short play, I’m Not Mad, I’m Just No Normal before joining a scheme at Midlands Art Centre with their Young People Producer. From there, Amerah’s love for spoken word grew, inspired by YouTube defjam poetry, and she became a regular on the spoken word circuit in Birmingham.
She has since performed all around Europe and released her first collection, ‘I Am Not From Here’, in April 2018 with co-founded poetry publisher, Verve Poetry Press. Amerah’s Muslim Yemeni roots give her space to get lost and found on multiple occasions between identity, and her work touches on identity, womanhood, religion and the obscure idea of belonging only to one place. Amerah has worked as a poetry mentor with Brouhaha festival working with poets from Liverpool, Belgium, San Francisco and Holland.
On her appointment, Amerah said, “When I first started gigging, I had no idea what I was doing, or what this could be – but nor did my family. An artist? I couldn’t even find the words to translate it into Arabic for them. But I pushed through, I continued gigging, and eventually I found ‘my’ crowd. Apples and Snakes have always been close to my heart. What it represents is what I found. Voice. Stories. So the work we do through Apples at its core is platforming, giving and raising that voice. I am excited to innovate; not only what we do, but how we do it. I love finding new ways of doing old things! And I am definitely secretly excited about all the spoken word things I get to go to!”
Apples and Snakes artistic director Lisa Mead said,“We are delighted that Amerah is taking on the role of our chair. Apples and Snakes is a national organisation which has always had artists at its heart. So, it feels fitting that as we celebrate our 40th anniversary year, our new chair is a poet as well as someone who brings extensive professional expertise in governance and management. Amerah is an inspirational powerhouse and we look forward to working with her to overcome the myriad social and economic barriers facing the next generation of spoken word poets and renew our commitment to harnessing the power of poetry to enable social change.”
Apples and Snakes is England’s leading spoken word poetry organisation and exists to support poets at all stages of their careers. Now a funded NPO based at the Albany Centre in Deptford, it has been a registered charity since 1986 after being started by a group of poets in 1982 in a room above a pub. Since then it has worked with Lemn Sissay, Polarbear, Kae Tempest, Benjamin Zephaniah, Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay, Caleb Femi and Hollie McNish, to name just a few. It is proud to have worked in partnership with a number of organisations, including BAC, Southbank Centre, Rich Mix, Tate, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Penguin Random House, Barbican Theatre Plymouth, Hull City of Culture, Roundhouse, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, RSC, Arc Stockton, The Royal Court, #Merkybooks, Sky Arts and the BBC.
To find out more about Apples and Snakes, visit here…