Alex Vellis and Henry Madd - Canterbury, UK

Alex Vellis

Alex is an award winning poet, published author, and playwright from Canterbury, Kent. 

He is the poet in residence for Wise Words Festival (Kent) and Canterbury Connected (BID). 

Alex's writing draws on the ideas of love, loss, and feeling lost; of family matters, sex, gender identity and hope. He was the 2015 Wise Words Grand Slam champion, and has since gone on to set up his own slams across the city, in addition to running the ‘poet in residence’ scheme with the “Rough Cut Collective” in Canterbury. 

He has been support for Lemn Sissay, Shane Koyczan, Kate Tempest, Anthony Anaxagorou, Joelle Taylor, Vanessa Kisuule, and Dan Simpson, among others, and has performed at various festivals across the country, spoken at conferences in Paris, and performed in Europe.

Alex runs regular workshops on creative writing and performance, skills learned as part of a series of workshops led by Marlowe Theatre Writer in Residence, James Baldwin in which he was a shadow facilitator assisting James in workshops to help young people find their “warrior” selves. Alex has also worked as a shadow poet with Joelle Taylor on the Marlowe Theatre’s collaboration with Wise Words “Warrior Poets”. And has been personally mentored by Lemn Sissay and Joelle Taylor in workshop facilitation.


Alex launched his debut show, ‘Everything Is Terrible’, at a sold-out show at Wise Words Festival in 2017, and aims to have another show ready to tour in 2019.

Alex is a prominent member of the ‘Rough Cut Collective’ a Kent based group of artists led by Workers-Of-Art, and a main player in the artistic scene in the Kent community. 
He also mentors a group of poets (aged 17 to 25) helping them achieve their goals in a literary career. As well as running a page for artists of different mediums that want to collaborate on new and existing work called Vertex.


Henry Madd

Henry Madd is a spoken word artist, theatre maker and workshop facilitator. After cutting his teeth on the Californian poetry circuit he returned to his native England and firmly entrenched himself in the poetry community in Kent. He won the 2017 Apples and Snakes/ Wise Words Festival Emerging Artist Contest and has since gone on to perform around the country, highlights include: City 451, Brighton Fringe, Nozstock, CSP in the Park main stage and supporting Lemn Sissay in Canterbury Cathedral. Working with The Marlowe Theatre and Wise Words Festival, Henry is co-producer and host of LicKitySpit poetry slam, an event that helps to connects artists from all different walks and helps provide both new and experienced poets a platform to develop.


Henry works extensively teaching writing and theatre workshops to children, teens and adults alike with a focus on encouraging participants to express themselves by reconnecting with the joy of writing as a form of self-expression. He is also involved in various local poetry projects designed to encourage the community to connect with each other and the places they call home.


2018 saw the completion of his first self-devised theatre tour ‘Rex’, a theatre in education project that raised awareness about Eating Disorders. He is currently developing a one man show based on his experience growing us in a small town in the West-Midlands, due to start touring Spring 2019.