I fell in love with Theatre in 2002 when I was 14 years old. Professional theatre performers from the Hackney Empire visited my secondary school to perform a one off workshop to promote their new theatre course, ADP
(The Artist Development Programme).
My music teacher put me forward for the workshop. She saw how much I enjoyed rapping, dancing and acting during my performing arts classes, so she assumed that it would be something I'd be interested in. She was right, I went along to the workshop to see what it was all about.
During that one hour workshop, I met Director and Actress Susie Mckenna who taught the group about the importance of stage presence, storytelling and character development within theatre.
I was sold on the idea of being a theatre performer.
Knowing that there was a place in Hackney that would let me sing, rap, act, play instruments and dance had me ready to sign up for auditions about ten minutes into their workshop. This was my first (and maybe the most important) experience of being involved in theatre... and I loved it.
What do you think theatre should be?
Theatre should be more than life.
It shouldn't be boring.
What should theatre do for you? How do you want theatre to make you feel.
I think it should surprise, investigate and bring
out the nuances of a story.
I think it has to demand to be theatre.
What do you think makes good theatre?
A strong story with big ideas about
humanity, complex characters and diverse casts.
A real audience that represents the world.
That day encouraged me to expand my skill set of acting, script scriptwriting, musical directing and composing. Not only did these skills become additional tools I could use to express myself, but they also allowed me to develop a career in theatre whilst developing a career in the music industry.
I have worked consistently in theatre as a Composer, Musical Director, Arranger and Performer since I was 19 and have found myself collaborating and recording with organisations such as:
The Royal Court, National Youth Theatre, The south bank Centre, Music theatre Wales, Wise Children Theatre company,
Perfect Pitch Musicals, Kneehigh Theatre,
The National Black Theatre of Harlem, Royal and Derngate
and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Photography by Steve Tanner & Tristram Kenton