My Father & Other Superheroes
NICK MAKOHA Born in Uganda, Nick Makoha fled the country with his mother, as a result of political overtones that arose from the civil war during the Idi Amin dictatorship. He has lived in Kenya, Saudi Arabia and currently resides in London. He has presented his work at many international events and toured for the British Council in Finland, Czech Republic the US and the Netherlands. In 2005 award-winning publisher Flippedeye launched its pamphlet series with his debut The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man.
As a former writer in Residence for Newham Libraries he wrote the poem ‘Promise to my unborn son’ which was published in the anthology Out Of Bounds (Bloodaxe 2012). The venture conceived by Spread the Word and Newham Libraries aimed to increase the number of residents in the borough of Newham actively involved in creative writing and literature. He represented Uganda in the Poetry Parnassus as part of the Cultural Olympiad. The poem “Vista” was used as part of a video installation to promote the Turner prize in 2008 for Tate Remix. His poem Beatitude is the newest addition to Being Human the third book in the Staying Alive poetry trilogy. Staying Alive and its sequel Being Alive have introduced many thousands of new readers to contemporary poetry. His poem ‘From The King”, got shortlisted for the Coffee House Poetry Fourth Troubadour International Poetry Prize and his poem “Stone” has been shortlisted for the 2010 Arvon International Poetry competition.
As a resident artist of Spoke-Lab (Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Spoken Word development programme) he developed a one-man show “My Father & Other Superheroes” One man’s honest revelation of how pop culture raised him in the absence of his father. Nick has gone on to develop the show, working with an exciting creative team to take his work from the page into the performance space, exploring the relationship between poetry and theatre.
He uses poetry as a Rosetta stone and is keen to investigate the relationships between sounds and the meanings they convey through language. Moving through many tongues he has acquired a special sensitivity to this relationship. The loss of his mother tongue is what separates him from his heritage. This theme of loss is expressed in his new poetry collection. He was one of ten writers on a programme called The Complete Works: A national two year development programme for ten advanced Black and Asian poets. During the programme he has been mentored by eminent poet George Szirtes, both writers in exile. The Complete Works culminated in September of 2010 with an anthology “Ten”: New poets from Spread the Word [edited by MBE Bernardine Evaristo and Daljit Nagra] on Bloodaxe press. George Szirtes’s description of Nick’s poems offers an excellent insight:
There is in Makoha’s work an intriguing balance between the immediate and the stately that fits his material and offers possibilities for expansion and further exploration. All that – his personal history, the history of his country and the leaving of it – suggests to me a talent at the beginning of a genuinely important road. George Szirtes www.nickmakoha.com
BENJI REID is an award winning creative producer, devisor and director. His Theatre performances have played to sell out audiences in the National Theatre Of England, Saddlers Wells, Sydney Opera House and Greenwich Village theatre New York He trained as a dancer with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and as an actor with David Glass and Double Edge Theatre. Following his years as a freelance performer he formed BREAKING CYCLES.
Benji’s dance background includes; 1985 GLC Break-Dance Champions with Broken Glass Street Crew, European Body-Popping Champion and 2nd in the 1986 World
Dance Championships. In 1989 Benji worked with the legendary Soul II Soul as the main dancer and choreographer for their world tour, appearing on the Arsino Hall show and playing at the Soul Train Awards.
In theatre Benji has worked widely with such highly regarded companies as the David Glass Ensemble, Trestle Theatre, Theatr Clwyd and Black Mime Theatre. It was with Black Mime Theatre that Benji first became interested in directing.
In 2005 Benji received the NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship, awarded to prestigious artists for their outstanding achievements and continuing development and was also nominated for the Art05 award for his work in the North West of England. www.benjireid.com
NIMBLE FISH Created in 2006, Nimble Fish is led by Greg Klerkx and Samantha Holdsworth. Passionate about the potential for the arts as a catalyst for social change, Sam and Greg have evolved a unique method of working that focuses on the creation of high-quality artistic events via deep and meaningful community engagement.