How did you get involved with the National Youth Theatre?
I kept hearing about how spoken word, music and theatre seem to be bumping heads at the moment in London with exciting projects emerging. As I tend to be involved with all three in one way or another I was really excited about the prospect of getting involved somehow.
A friend recommended that I get in touch with the NYT as they have a fantastic youth programme that caters to a range of artists. At the time, they had a project lined up that was using movement, rap and theatre to recreate the musical ‘Follies’. As a rapper with a background in musical theatre, I was intrigued at how this classic musical theatre piece could be recreated using the modern genre Grime.
I went through an application and audition process and was lucky to receive a place in the collective. I worked alongside dancers, writers, grime artists -you name it. We were a melting pot of skill-sets and backgrounds putting our heads together for a week-long intensive project devising our piece based on the musical.
Our process was led by two directors, one specialising in movement and the other in lyricism, so the scope of work that we were able to achieve was really huge considering we had such a short amount of time to do it in.
What’s the most recent project been?
My most recent project was getting involved in Inua Ellam’s R.A.P party. I was commissioned to write a piece on Hip-Hop culture and perform it at the Brighton Dome. My favourite projects are the ones where I am asked to respond to a specific theme or stimuli, so this one really ticked the box for me and performing at the Dome was such a treat!
How did studying at BIMM prepare you for working with the NYT?
Bimm’s encouragement to its students to remain versatile really helped me with my work at the NYT, as by presenting my different skill-sets and creative interests to the company they saw that I was suitable for the role.
Anything interesting in the pipeline?
I’ve just been commissioned to create a course for a theatre school, combining movement rap and music, to teach it next year. Really hoping this project can help me get me on my feet in the freelance world, as like many of us striving artists I’ve been working a 9-to-5 alongside creative projects which is a pretty tiresome juggle!
Photos: National Theatre 16-21: Youth Programme © Emma Hare and Dan Weill