Black Theatre Live



How would you describe yourself and what you do? Surprisingly hard question. I’m a freelance artist, which has always meant working across multiple disciplines. I started as a poet when I was only nine; moved into performance poetry when I moved to Manchester; from there to playwrighting, and from playwrighting to directing. And I always sang.  

Tell us a bit about the work you’ll be performing. Alaska is a mix of all the things I do. I’ll be launching the print and ebook versions of my first solo poetry collection, published by Crocus Books/Commonword. It was in the Commonword group Identity that I first began performing, and back in the day I was chair of Commonword for a few years. Alaska the book includes illustrations by emerging black artist Bethany Hermitt, from Young Identity and Inna Voice. Her illustrations are the starting point for animations by Tommy Ollerenshaw, and Maria Gabriella Ruban from Filmonik is creating films, all of which will be on DVDs with the printed book. Young Enigma artist Afshan Lodhi will be creating an interactive ebook which will have embedded links to everything.

And the poems are inspiration for a one-woman stage show, directed by Darren Pritchard from Company Fierce, working with Digital Artist Andrew Crofts and vocal coach Yvonne Shelton. So there will be vocals and movement and beautiful images and experimental video. It’ll be totally different from the printed version – as Darren says, “the show is the poem that’s not in the book.” It’s a microcosm of the way I work: collaboration, working with new and exciting folks, giving people...