Kema Sikazwe @ Traverse


Live Theatre Production
Script, music and lyrics written and performed by Kema Sikazwe
Directed by Graeme Thompson

World Premiere

The music is always present, you just have to hear it.

What makes us who we are? Do the choices in our lives determine who we become? Are we in control of our own story, or is it in our DNA?

Kema is three years old when his family move from Zambia to Newcastle’s west end. It’s not easy. It starts with a story of new surroundings, about making a new life, and then watching that life fall apart. About growing up in a world that doesn’t always accept you, but gaining self-belief, trusting your head, your heart and always chasing your dreams.

Actor, rapper, singer, rising star and Live Theatre Associate Artist Kema Sikazwe (I, Daniel Blake), who performs under the name Kema Kay, makes his powerful stage debut mixing a bittersweet coming of age story with an electrifying live soundtrack and heartfelt words.


What was the inspiration for this performance?

It’s my life story. I got interested in what makes us who we are – is it what people say we are? Our experiences? Or our circumstances? Do we get to choose? Or is it destiny? I had wanted to tell my story for so long, and a live show was the best way to do it.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Yes, 100%. It’s a creative way to get a message you want across

How did you become interested in making performance?

I’m normally used to film. It was my agent who encouraged me to try out live theatre. I soon fell in love with it.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Because it’s my story, I made sure I approached it with as much truth as possible. I go with my gut feeling with every word in the script, or change I make to the show.


Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is my debut show. Most of it is experimental, but definitely different to anything I’ve ever done before, work-wise.


What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope the audience will come away feeling inspired, hopeful and reflective.

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