> What's on
What's on


25 and 26 October: London Is The Place For Me

A Caribbean weekend festival of literature, music and limin'

renaissance one and Tilt in partnership with Carnival Village present LONDON IS THE PLACE FOR ME 2014, an exciting Caribbean festival at the Tabernacle, London, which presents writers, calypsonians, orators and musicians who have been inspired by home, diaspora and personal stories.  Starting from 12pm each day at the Tabernacle, London, the sparkling programme of film screenings, literature performances and talks, family workshops and kids events includes contributions by MERVYN MORRIS, JOHN AGARD, JEAN ‘BINTA’ BREEZE, ABDUL MALIK, MONIQUE ROFFEY, KEI MILLER, TRACIE MORRIS, WOMEN OF STEEL, TOBAGO CRUSOE, ALEXANDER D GREAT, ANTHONY JOSEPH, MALIKA BOOKER, CHARLIE DARK, MELANIE ABRAHAMS, SURESHOT and special guests.

Poet Patience Agbabi writes and performs The Wife of Bafa

AUTUMN 2014: Mark Gwynne Jones performs his new Show 'Wordworms!'

Buxton Pavilion Studio Theatre

Award-winning poet Mark Gwynne Jones will be presenting a new show, Wordworms! for ages 7 to 107, exploring the magic and the possibilities of words and playing with what's important and not so important in contemporary culture. 

If I were a poet... I’d turn celebrities / into thin air / then sell them on eBay / in a jam jar!

Offering wild imaginings and exhilarating performance, Mark invites you to meet the boy with an eye on his index finger, learn to escape school by becoming a cat, and to make friends with a giant toad! 

When asked about the title of his show and why he writes for young people, Mark says “Words are alive… They’re Wordworms! Living creatures... They change the way we think and feel. They’re magic and can pretty much change anything! Young people respond well to my poetry. They enjoy its energy, playful irreverence and sense of danger. I think we’re hardwired for narrative, everyone loves a good story!”

AUTUMN 2014: Jean 'Binta' Breeze in England

Giving readings and performances, mentoring young talent, and touring as part of Three The Hard Way

JEAN 'BINTA' BREEZE is a poet, choreographer and director who has performed worldwide and is a recipient of an MBE for Services to Literature.  Her latest Book-DVD of poems is Third World Girl published by Bloodaxe.  Jean will next be visiting England from Jamaica in October and November.  As well as giving solo readings, Jean will be performing as part of the trio Three The Hard Way with Alison Dunne and Lydia Towsey, and will be in the role of Patron of Showcase Smoothie, the groundbreaking mental health and literature project, which renaissance one is also involved in as a Producer.


Mentoring, Education & Literature Support

Three The Hard Way by Keith Allott

Three The Hard Way by Keith Allott

Three the Hard Way

a new show by Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Lydia Towsey and Alison Dunne

Three the Hard Way is a nationally touring, rave reviewed and groundbreaking new show featuring Jean 'Binta' Breeze MBE, Lydia Towsey and Alison Dunne who respond to each other’s sets - and each other's styles - in competition and collaboration.  Following a successful run of dates in spring 2014, the trio return in the autumn with more shows, visit their blog for news and updates.

Behind the Term: Three the Hard Way

The term Three the Hard Way derives from Jamaican culture where male DJs would sometimes work together and bounce off and respond to each other’s sets, both in collaboration and in competition. The description was adopted by UK male dub poets, led by Linton Kwesi Johnson in the early 80s. For the show created and performed by acclaimed poets Lydia Towsey, Jean 'Binta' Breeze and Alison Dunne, the term is re-appropriated - for the first time by three female artists of diverse backgrounds - to explore the personal and the political, and to give power to the voice, and to artistic collaboration between the three poets.


A snapshot of our events in 2013

18 OCTOBER: We Talk of Pride and Prejudice

A spoken word event for Off The Shelf Festival

renaissance one presents WE TALK OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, a unique Literature and Spoken Word show in which a talented group of local writers aged 15 to 21 years share a stage with leading poets Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze MBE, Mark Gwynne Jones and Sureshot and all offer their own personal take on the theme of Pride and Prejudice. This show offers playful, witty, soulful and provocative responses to the Jane Austen novel and the book’s central themes in its bicentenary year.  It is part of a new intergenerational project for Sheffield residents and artists to engage them in literature, orality and sharing stories, and is developed by renaissance one in partnership with Writing Yorkshire and Off The Shelf. 

Photo of Jessica Care Moore

Photo of Jessica Care Moore


a forum for creativity, connecting and sharing

Creative Salon is a relaxing and stimulating forum for all who work in, support, or are interested in, poetry and spoken word. At our last salon, the US-based poet, publisher and rock star Jessica Care Moore offered her insights on developing a career in writing and performance followed by a group discussion.  Jessica was brought up in and still resides in Detroit, and she is a contributor to the city's burgeoning arts and activism scene. Read more about Creative Salon here


Photo of James Berry

Photo of James Berry

FRIDAY 27 SEPTEMBER: A Benefit Performance

A STORY I AM IN: Poetry, Music & Spoken Word celebrating James Berry’s Life in Literature

On 27 September, The James Berry Fundraising Project and renaissance one presented A Story I Am In, a special benefit at the Tabernacle for poet James Berry.  Thank you to all who attended and supported this event.  In the coming weeks we will notify attendees of the event's outcomes and our plans for future activity to generate awareness, funds and tributes for this remarkable poet.

Berry celebrates 90 years of poetry, stories and song in 2014.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nine years ago, and has been in residential care for over two years, five different care homes and has spent four months in hospital. Despite the serious nature of his illness, he continues to enjoy listening to poetry and talking about everything under the sun.  In this special fundraising benefit at the Tabernacle, nineteen outstanding poets, musician, performers and wordsmiths shared a stage to mark Berry’s life in words and bear witness to his contribution to the national, Caribbean and international literary landscapes.

Featuring Roger McGough, Grace Nichols, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ian McMillan, Maura Dooley, Andrew Motion, Michael Rosen, Hannah Lowe, John Agard, arroll Thompson, Victor Romero Evans, Janet Kay, Michael Horovitz, Inua Ellams, Dean Atta, Susanna Howard, Myra Barrs, Alastair Niven, Melanie Abrahams and James Ingham, and Keith Waithe

Tickets £45.  Early Bird ticket £35. All Proceeds from the event go to the James Berry Trust.  Event produced by renaissance one in partnership with the Carnival Village Trust, Living Words and English Pen.


Come hear Tanti Merle at de Oval and other stories from an international raconteur

"Paul Keens-Douglas celebrates our rich cultural amalgam and Caribbean landscapes like nobody else does"

Tilt and the Tabernacle presents two nights of PAUL KEENS-DOUGLAS, an Trinidadian storyteller, raconteur and public speaker who is also creator of the famous annual Carnival Talk Tent in Trinidad. He is a recipient of a Zora Neale Hurston Award and the Humming Bird Silver Medal for Culture. He was a guest artist at last year's London Is The Place For Me festival which was part of a summer 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Village that was initiated and presented by the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission. Bookings open this week!

1 Feb: Hannah Lowe and renaissance one presents Book Launch: Chick by Hannah Lowe

Jamaican High Commission

HANNAH LOWE’s first book of poems takes you on a personal journey, and exploration of, her father, a Chinese-Black Jamaican migrant who disappeared at night to play cards or dice in London's old East End to support his family. Chick was his gambling nickname.  With London as the backdrop to the poems, Hannah Lowe's narrative is often filmic in effect and brimming with sensory detail in their evocations of childhood and coming-of-age, love and loss of love, grief and regret.

What they say...‘...An extraordinary debut...a poet with a commanding style; her voice is entirely her own, both rich and laconic. These are poems springing from the page with vitality, rue and insight. Her elegies are restrained and devastating. ’ Penelope Shuttle.

Time: 6.30pm - 9pm
Venue: Jamaican High Commission, 1 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ Admission: Free. 

7 OCT 2012: Black Beats: Amiri Baraka in Conversation

Tilt, renaissance one and the British Library present AMIRI BARAKA.

Before the Beats there was Jazz poetry.  Experience an unmissable visit by the world-renowned poet, a leading figure of the evolution of the spoken word genre, who has influenced politics, artistic practice and cultural change on an international scale.  During this event, Baraka will be offering readings and performance from the rich collection of his work.  The reading will be preceded by a Q & A between Baraka and Dr Corinne Fowler on his career and influences.

His controversial career spans five decades: from his involvement with Jack Kerouac and the Beats in the 1960s through Black cultural nationalism to collaboration with the hip-hop group The Roots.

'As a contemporary American artist Baraka must be ranked with the likes of John Coltrane, Ralph Ellison…; as the Father of the Black Arts Movement'. William J. Harris

Baraka will introduced by Corinne Fowler, a Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature at the University of Leicester, UK. He will then be offering readings and performance from the rich collection of his work.

Photo of Kwame Dawes

(Catch him on the 2nd and 5th of Oct)

Photo of Kwame Dawes

5 OCT 2012: JUBILATION! Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence

Kwame Dawes, Mervyn Morris, Janett Plummer, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Kay Remedy

Enjoy an evening of poetry, songs and readings marking the 50th birthday of Jamaica's independence and the publication of a major new anthology, Jubilation!

Two of the best-known Jamaican poets, MERVYN MORRIS and KWAME DAWES, are joined by writer JANETT PLUMMER, musician AYANNA and singer-songwriter KAY REMEDY, to reflect on the historical moment of independence and the years that have followed.

Kwame Dawes is a distinguished international poet, a writer of over thirty books and an accomplished playwright, producer, actor and singer. Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, he is a winner of awards including an Emmy Award and the Forward Prize.

Kwame Dawes is one of the most important writers of his generation ….a mighty and lasting body of work...”. Elizabeth Alexander (Poet, Inaugural Ceremony, President Obama)

Mervyn Morris is an established Jamaican poet, published by among others the prestigious Carcanet publishing house. In 1992 he was Visiting Writer- in-Residence at the South Bank Centre and he is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature at the University of the West Indies.

An engraver in short, sharp, slashes that go deep”. Andrew Salkey

Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Venue: Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions

For more information and booking, click here


Britain re-mapped through a selection of writing on place

renaissance one and the British Library presents an evening of poetry and prose with some of Britain’s best Black and Asian poets. Celebrating the re-mapping of Britain created through Out of Bounds, a new poetry anthology from Bloodaxe Books edited by Jackie Kay, James Procter and Gemma Robinson, you are invited to help us launch the book in London, and join us on a riveting sensory journey from Aberdeen to Isle of Wight with readings by acclaimed poets and writers JOHN AGARD, GRACE NICHOLS, DALJIT NAGRA and CAROL LEEMING.

6.30pm - 8pm Tickets £7.50/£5 concessions.

Image - Carol_Leeming_1.jpg
Photo of Roger Robinson (See him at Talk Time: Independence! 18 Aug)

Photo of Roger Robinson (See him at Talk Time: Independence! 18 Aug and 19 Aug, at 4 pm. More details below.)


Trinidad and Tobago 50 Years Independence Festival

London Is the Place For Me festival commemorates and celebrates 50 years of Trinidad and Tobago independence at the Tricycle Theatre from Sun 12 - Sat 25 August.This two week happening offers some of T & T's finest artists, thinkers and shapers including EARL LOVELACE, DEBRA ROMAIN, PAUL KEENS DOUGLAS, ALEXANDER D GREAT, MARTINA LAIRD, LAWRENCE SCOTT, MONIQUE ROFFEY, AMANDA SMYTH, ANTHONY JOSEPH, ROGER ROBINSON and a book launch of THE POEMS OF SAM SELVON. Curated by MELANIE ABRAHAMS and DOMINIQUE LE GENDRE.

Please view/book events here.


Invitation to A Great Day In Britain - 25 Years On

Invitation to A Great Day In Britain - 25 Years On

10 JUNE 2012: A Great Day In Britain - 25 Years On

A quarter of a century of advancing political representation

The Bernie Grant Trust in association with Bernie Grant Arts Centre and renaissance one invites you to commemorate
A Great Day In Britain - 25 Years On
A reunion and celebration of progress marking a quarter of a century of advancing political representation
5.30pm to 9pm at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre N15 4RX
offers Reunion, Commemoration, Food, Music, Film, Spoken Word and more, including performances by Shazia Mirza, Alexander D Great and Adisa
Free admission, RSVP to renaissance one.

Photo of Jasmine Cooray (Extreme Happy Fair)

Photo of Jasmine Cooray (Extreme Happy Fair)


John Hegley, Jasmine Cooray, Prince Abdi, Jonny Blamey, Philip Wells & more

Saturday 2 June at 6pm

EXTREME HAPPY FAIR: a ‘spoken word fair' of speech juggling, poetry, live art, lucky dips, philosophy, and jam. Featuring Poet In Residence John Hegley, poet Jasmine Cooray, Comedian Prince Abdi, THE EXTREME HAPPINESS EXPERIMENT by Mesmer, Mystic, Philosopher and Magician Jonny Blamey, poet Philip Wells and other assorted guests.  Free, BOOK HERE

14 May & 16 May 2012: Pete (the temp) Verses Climate Change

Poet tries to solve climate change using only his mouth!

‘Poetry’s answer to Mark Thomas…expert performance skills’ Chortle

Pete The Temp (BA, MA, PhD, PDF) is a poet, a lover and a damn fine administrator.  Watch him solve the climate change using only his mouth!  High octane spoken word meets musical comedy, political commentary, and audience participation in this hour long show. 

14 and 16 May at 8pm: The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG Tickets £7/£5

About Pete The Temp: Pete has shared a stage with Bill Bailey, Mark Thomas, Stewart Lee, Josie Long, John  Hegley, Elvis  McGonnagal and Howard Marx and performed at over 20 festivals – Edinburgh, Oxford, Bristol and Brighton Fringe - making him about as common a feature in a festival field as a porter loo.

Visit Pete's website HERE

Show produced by renaissance one, in association with Apples and Snakes, The Albany and the Cockpit Theatre, and is supported by Arts Council England.

Patience Agbabi by Lyndon Douglas

Patience Agbabi by Lyndon Douglas

Patience Agbabi

Telling Tales book tour April to October 2014

Patience Agbabi England Tour 2014

Giving readings of her new poetry collection TELLING TALES

Setting off from Southwark in April 2014 on a journey that passes through unmissable landmarks on the trail of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and which includes some exhilarating detours en route, poet Patience Agbabi will be presenting her new book at the following venues over the coming months:

Click here to download a tour flier

Remaining tour dates in autumn



11 October  ILKLEY 

12 October  SHEFFIELD 

13 October  HALESWORTH

16 October  MANCHESTER

29 October  CANTERBURY

15 November LEICESTER


Please email renaissance one at hq[at]renaissanceone.co.uk if you would like further information or you have a query.


The new poetry collection by Patience Agbabi (April, 2014)

Telling Tales is a re-interpretation of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales for 21st century readers and audiences, from one of the UK's foremost poets.

What they say

"A pilgrimage of punks, badasses, broken hearts, beat poets, silver-tongued fixers, town criers, beauties, sinners…A poem on wheels."  Jeanette Winterson

“The liveliest versions of Chaucer you're likely to read." Simon Armitage

 “A compelling collection of story-portraits, at once contemporary and time-honoured. A wonderful achievement.” Andrew Motion

“Telling Tales is a brilliant, virtuosic take on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales… a landmark book that extends the domain of poetry. Forget the division between live and page. This is live on the page”  George Szirtes

“Chaucer would have been proud of what he has inspired... Patience Agbabi has brilliantly created a Canterbury tales for a multicultural Britain.. in rap, sestina, sonnets and rhyme royal.” Helen Cooper, Professor of Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Cambridge

About the author

Patience Agbabi was born in London to parents from Nigeria and Benin and grew up in Colwyn Bay, Wales with white foster parents.  She is the author of three collections, R.A.W, Transformatrix and Bloodshot Monochrome, the last two that were published by Canongate to great acclaim.  Patience is a former Poet Laureate of Canterbury, and her poems have appeared on radio and TV around the world.  She has toured widely with the British Council and independently and lives in Kent.