> About us
About us

word power; literary sensations

curiosity and quality production - a potent combination

We produce and curate spoken word, poetry and fiction-based events. 

Our range of work includes book tours, literary readings, spoken word shows, talks and workshops.

In the last few years, we have collaborated with writers, organisations, and practitioners including Tongue Fu and Chris Redmond, British Library, Southbank Centre, Grace Nichols, John Agard, Peter Bearder (Pete The Temp), Dean Atta, Dzifa Benson, Deanna Rodger, Lucy Macnab, Bea Colley, Writing Yorkshire, Ilkley Literature Festival, Off The Shelf and many more.

We have toured with the writers Jean 'Binta Breeze', Caryl Phillips, Lemn SissayJacob Sam-La Rose, and Gary Younge, and have developed events for Dan Rhodes, Barry Yourgrau, Bernardine Evaristo, Christian Campbell, Sureshot, Mellow Baku, Hannah Lowe and Psykhomantus

Many of our projects combine words, music and visuals/film and reflect the buzz and mix in contemporary culture. For instance the one-person show WHEN TO RUN written and performed by SOPHIE WOOLLEY explored the phenomenon of women running, our spoken word show KIN explored family - looking at definitions beyond the biological - and MODERN LOVE looked at love and modern relationships from the perspective of lover, friend, sibling, parent, boss etc as well as exploring whether 'love is dead?'

In 2005 the company's Creative Director Melanie Abrahams set up a sister company to renaissance one - Tilt.  The aim for Tilt is to focus on the spoken word artform - its uniqueness, the possibilities for new and exciting content, and advocating for the value of spoken word in contemporary culture in terms of speech, debate, orality and free expression.


supporting writers for the long-term

Fostering a legacy and identifying talent early on is integral to our work. We're thrilled to have been able to champion a range of writers and artists over the years including KWAME DAWES, SOPHIE WOOLLEY, ANTHONY JOSEPH, RUTH HARTNOLL, PATIENCE AGBABI, MIKE LADD, YEMISI BLAKE, LEONE ROSS, NICHOLAS MAKOHA, LAWRENCE SCOTT, PIERRE RINGWALD, JEAN 'BINTA BREEZE', JOHN AGARD, BYRON WALLEN, JAY BERNARD, CHARLIE DARK, SUNDRA, DALJIT NAGRA, COLIN CHANNER, LEMN SISSAY, and more.


Testimonials and quotes about us

We develop audiences for literature and spoken word through a breadth of work and through making connections:

Whether producing book readings, live literature events, theatrically-staged shows, parties or 'liming' events, we present the full range of contemporary writing and spoken word.

Our work cuts across cultures, backgrounds and ages, making for lively and engaging events at which literature is centrestage.

Here's what some writers and organisations we have worked with say about us:

Nick Barlay, novelist

‘Where others have strived to assert their place on the cultural landscape, renaissance one has drawn its own map, populating its highways and byways with the finest of poets, writers and performers. Through its programmes and events, from 'Kin' to ''London Liming and from 'Off Centre' to one-off showcases, audiences have been introduced to illuminating, uplifting and thought-provoking work which might otherwise have gone unnoticed. The contemporary arts and literature scene would a lot poorer without it.’

Alex Wheatle, novelist

‘When my debut novel, Brixton Rock, was published, opportunities to publicise and market my first novel were limited. renaissance one invited me to appear at their events and were committed to helping writers who they felt deserved more of a public standing gain a bigger profile.

In those first tentative appearances I learned how to perform readings and other aspects of a reading performance event. In 2005 renaissance one helped me launch my fifth title 'Island Songs' and with their vast contacts managed to get funding for the event at the High Commission of Jamaica and hosted a launch that hasn't been matched in quality and organisation for any other launch I had. I would recommend renaissance one for any publishing initiative or any event involved with the written or the spoken word.’ 

Barbican Library

‘… a dream organisation to work with - great authors, efficient organisation and lovely people'

Poetry Can (Bristol)

‘…represents some of the most brilliant, culture-wise, history-wise, world-wise, word-wise, word-dancing, word-romancing writers and performers working in Britain and the world today.’                        

Greg Klerx, Writer

(participant on renaissance one’s Off Centre one-week writing residency at the Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Barton, July 2005)

‘I knew little of renaissance one before my course, but since then I’ve been singing your praises as often as possible and will continue to do so. I believe you are doing essential work in bringing together, and putting forth, writers and performers who have important things to say and eloquent means of saying them. Also, I believe there is a wealth of further potential for renaissance one (and Arvon) in the bringing together of prose writers and poets, performers and page-jockeys, and fiction and non-fiction writers.’                                                                                  

Sarah Hemmings, British Council

‘renaissance one are fantastic to work with. Many of their writers tour overseas for the British Council; they always provide us with excellent advice and information.’

Uppingham School

'renaissance one are particularly adept at choosing people who they sense will work well with the children here.  Both the events and the residencies added some vivid and memorable features to school life.  I hope this link continues for a long time!’  (Live Poets Society) 

Heronwood Youth Project

'renaissance one and their artists brought peace of mind in both quality and professionalism.  As well as this confidence it also generated much excitement in the participants and project workers as to what great things could be achieved through word and performance. Participants loved it!’