About Words Out Loud

Our vision is to develop a connected literary community confident of finding and sharing its voice in the local area.

Our Mission is to provide space, opportunity and support to enable unrepresented and aspiring writers find their creative voice and connect with their audience through written and vocal expression leading to publication in a range of media.

We currently run a monthly Open-Mic night in Chichester (Downstairs at Franco Manca)  on the 1st Wednesday of every month.

Our cabaret style entertainment evening, Seven Up takes place on the 3rd Thursday of the odd numbered months (also Downstairs at Franco Manca) and we run a programme of special themed events and workshops throughout the year.

Ken Jones

Ken Jones


Ken is a retired teacher having taught at High School level in England and California.

He has been writing poetry in fits and starts since University and is published (mainly in the USA) in a variety of periodicals and magazines (Poetry Quarterly, Pacific Poetry, SALT et al) and has a collection published by Prolific Press (“One Step Ahead”, 2017)
He has attended Open Mic poetry readings in Ventura CA since 2014, established Poetry readings in Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park Libraries in CA in 2016 and was a founding member and director of Off Main: Ventura County Poetry Project in 2020 (a non profit organisation whose aim is to foster and promote poetry and performing arts in Ventura County and beyond).

He has worked with the Poets Laureate of Ventura, Malibu, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo in developing and promoting poetry readings.

He has been the featured reader at Poetry readings in Ventura, Thousand Oaks and Malibu and has performed in Ventura at 5x5x5, a Performance Art event on several occasions in 2016 and 2017 and at The Electric Lodge in Venice CA in 2017.
Since returning to England in 2020 he joined forces with the other founding trustees to help found Words Out Loud as a non profit organisation promoting and fostering the benefits of Spoken Word.

Deni Jones

Deni Jones


Deni Jones comes from a long background as actor, director and dancer, and Lecturer in English and Performing Arts.

For Words Out Loud Deni manages our Workshop programme (along with Ros Hodgkiss) and has designed and delivered all of workshops so far. Deni also regularly directs for Drip Action Theatre in Arundel. 





Featured Readers

On Zoom

Writing Workshops



Curated Readings




Outdoor Events 



Poetry Slams


On Zoom & In-Person



Online & In-Person

Poetry Slams


On Zoom & In-Person

In the beginning was the word

During the national lockdowns in the UK it became clear to a small group of local writers that there were no live Spoken Word events in the local area; and although there were groups sharing poetry in text form on websites, no-one was using video meeting software like Zoom. One of the most powerful things about poetry, and indeed other writing is, what happens to the reader and listener when the words are read out loud. 

Something alchemical can happen when a writer reads out their own creations. Somehow, the power and intent from the initial moments of writing can be conveyed. Even more interestingly, often someone can hear something entirely different to what the writer intended and so the words begin a new life in those who hear.

We strongly felt there were probably more writers like us who would welcome the opportunity to join with others and read their work out loud using Zoom video meetings, especially in the days and weeks of isolation looming ahead for us all.

And so the seeds for Words Out Loud were sown. We decided to form a Charitable Trust, better to generate the funding we would need to meet our goals and aspirations and to enable the range of projects that we have in mind to come to fruition.

We’re now moving on to the next phase of our development with exciting plans for curated performance readings, writing workshops, competitions and poetry slams as well as our regular monthly open-mic events in-person at Franco Manca (Downstairs)  1-3 South Street, Chichester and on Zoom with our International friends from around the world.

Our Story

Word Up

Dec 2020

First Zoom Open-Mic ‘Chichester Zooms’

Our very first Zoom Poetry Open-Mic is held with attendees from Chichester, West Sussex, California and Mexico 

Feb 2021

Wagtail Coffee & Yoga Poetry Competition

Our first poetry compeition on the theme of ‘Locked Down but not Locked Out’ draws an excellent response from local residents. Winners read at a special Zoom event.

May 2021

First Zoom Featured Reader Event

Words Out Loud forms as a Charitable Trust and our first Featured Reader Zoom event with Open-Mic to follow takes palce with local poet Tina McNaughton sharing a selection of her work.

June 2021

In-Person Open-Mic launches at Wagtail Coffee & Yoga

With lockdown restrictions lifting, we gather in person for the first time at our regular monthly Open-Mic held at Wagtail Coffee & Yoga, in Chichester.

Sept 2021

Words Out Loud in the Park, Priory Park, Chichester

We gather for our first outdoor event, sharing original writing and some classic texts in the open-air (and late Autumn sun!) infront of the Guildhall in Priory Park. 

Oct 2021

Words Out Loud – from the Sea. The Anchor Bleu, Bosham.

Our 1st fundraiser takes place at The Anchor Bleu pub on the harbour front in Bosham with poems and prose read out loud on the theme of ‘the sea’. 

Nov 2021

The Body Speaks – Our first workshop for performance speaking

Mike and Deni run our first workshop – an introduction to speaking for performance at the Wagtail Coffee & Yoga Studio.

Dec 2021

Festival of Lights – Readings in Winter

Words Out Loud host their first evening of Poetry and Spoken Wordt at The Pavillion at Graylingwell Park as the Winter Festivals of light begin to ignite around the world.

Jan 2022

Poetry Competition – What’s in a Year?

The theme of our 2nd Poetry Competition was What’s in a Year and brought in over 50 entries, all displayed in the window of Wagtail Coffee & Yoga. The winning poet is selected to read at The Culture Sparks events later in the year.

Feb 2022

First Hybrid Zoom event (in-person AND on Zoom together!)

We combine a Zoom and in-person open-mic night for the 1st time! Featured readers perform either in person or via Zoom and those in the room can see and speak with those joining from Zoom and vice versa. 

Mar 2022

Culture Sparks events in Chichester District 

Words Out Loud take part in the Culture Sparks events around the Chichester district to promote the rich diversity of the arts and culture in the region. Winners from our poetry competition perform.

Apr 2022

Words of Art Workshop at Pallant House Gallery 

Mike and Deni run an Ekphrastic Writing workshop at Pallant House gallery, where participants create short stories and poems in response to works of visual art in the workshop room at the gallery. 

May 2022

Words Afloat! Canal boat trip with poetry and a fish and chip supper. Ahoy! 

Words Out Loud host a poetry open-mic with a difference: on board a canal boat with a fish and chip supper. Floating along the Chichester canal we read and listened to original poetry and enjoyed a socialable supper as the sun went down. 

July 2022

Words from the Square 

Words Out Loud gather in the brilliant Summer sunshine in Church Square in Chichester to share poetry, dramatic monologues and fiction. 

July 2022

The Big Picnic at Graylingwell Park

Words Out Loud perform in the open air at The Big Picnic in Graylingwell Park as part of the Culture Spark celebrations along with other local arts groups. 

Words Out Loud are very grateful for the support of Local Giving and Magic Little Grants in helping us extend our work in the community, helping people to explore their creative talents and share them with audiences.