WHO AM I?
I am a storyteller. I am a writer and I am a teller of tales. I am the stories of my lineage, the stories of my culture and the stories running through my DNA. I am the stories of my grandmother and the stories of my mother and I am the stories that whisper my children to sleep. I am ancient stories of times gone by. I am contemporary stories of modern times. I am stories from improvisations and collaborations. I am stories inspired by music, inspired by Mother Nature, inspired by the architecture of my dreams and by the clarity of my art. The words are my music. Life is my scripture. The world is my library. The universe guides my spirit.
I create art through my storytelling. I facilitate opportunities for storytelling to breathe. I train storytellers. I direct stories on the stage. I bring stories to the people and I listen to the stories of their heart. I bring magic to the children so they can create stories of their own. Storytelling is engaging; it is necessary, it is air. Storytelling is a beautifully engineered art, with form and structure. It is as old as language and as free as the imagination. I imagine it. I speak it. I write it. I read it. The spelling in the word castes a spell on the soul. I divine visions with this oral tradition.
The magic conjures the characters and the characters cry out, “Take me on a journey. Take me out of obscurity. Speak me into existance. Place me in the ether. Watch my energy flow to and fro, in between the spaces. let me be the blackkness that gives birth to life. For in the beginning there was nothing but black conscious energy. Call one, call all to come listen. Take a breathe, take a stance. Turn the key, pull open the door, cross the threshold. We are now ready for; Once upon a time, there lived a woman called, Who am I…"
2010 - present
2010 - present
To Book Griot Chinyere
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Application of Afrakan storytelling form and structure
2014: United We Stand!
This adapted story, tells the tale of a dying mother’s desperate need to ensure her 3 very competitive daughters, who have spent most of their life arguing, learn the lesson of working together so they can be their best. She sets them a task, which they must complete before the ancestors call her to return to spirit. Will the girls realise in time that they can only inherit their mother’s wisdom, and wealth once they are united as one? This story toured the month of October in schools, libraries and museums. It also played to an audience of 500 at the Broadway Theatre Catford, London.
2013: Ezigbo the Spirit Child
I adapted this Igbo folktale, my grandmother told me when I was 10 years old. I worked with a music composer to complement the tale with traditional Igbo Rhythms. Ezigbo - is born repeatedly to the chief’s wife and dies repeatedly. Without a child her status is questioned. The river goddess shows empathy and grants her wish to have a child. To keep this child, she must obey but one rule; She must not slap her child. It is a thought provoking magical journey. Will she find ways to discipline Ezigbo or will the pressure be too much to bare? This was very popular with young people and families. This was performed at Arcola Theatre Studio, The Albany Studio, The Deptford Lounge and promenade in Oxleas Woods.
2012: I’m divine, I’m Free, I Can Fly
I wrote this original story tackling the emotional and spiritual trauma of the transatlantic slave trade. That said, it is a story of empowerment, enlightenment and spiritual transformation through community experience. The story of a young girl who can fly is charmed out of the sky, captured, chained and thrown into darkness by enslavers and murderers. While on the plantation, she meets an old man who informs her that freedom is within her reach. Will she grab this opportunity to fly or is fear her new enslaver? This is very popular amongst young people and adults. This was performed at Arcola Theatre Studio, The Albany Studio, The Deptford Lounge and The Sesa Wo Suban Africa Storytelling Festival.
2010: Olympic Torch Mysteries
I wrote this original tale: The Torch Mystery, which follows the expedition of two local children, who have been called upon to investigate the whereabouts of the missing sacred Olympic torch. It is the application of their ancient knowledge that unravels the clues. Where will their journey take them? Our two young detectives travel through time, space and the sequence of life. A mysterious old Woman secretly guides the children on this dangerous journey. Will the find the torch and save the world from destruction? or will the path be to hazardous for them to survive? I was awarded funding by Southwark Arts to write and stage this performance. It toured schools with accompanying workshops. It was then revived and played at Arcola Theatre 2013.
2008: Princess and the 12 Windows
This Igbo folktale was adapted to suit young people. Exploring how we negotiate relationships and female leadership. The story of a young girl thrown into ruling over her community when her mother dies and her father gives up from a broken heart. She grows to love her new position. How will she find a husband with the right qualities to stand by her side? I introduce magic as a theme. This toured secondary schools around East and South East London
Scripts: London Based
A short film drama, I wrote and film called Bliss (20). A young girl so light she can pass as white, falls in love with and is pregnant for Tom (45), white. What happens when she is alerted to his BNP membership and must reveal her cultural identity? Filmed in a comedy farcicle style on location in Deptford herb garden. Supported and sponsored by Skillset, Albany theatre, Royal National Theatre, BBC and Creekside forum.
2004 Sex in dis ya City
Lewisham youth service wanted to make a positive contribution toward sex education via theatre. Commissioned to research sexual health issues and to write and direct a play based on the findings. The play “Sex in dis ya city” follows the lives of a group of 6 south London youths, as they embark upon the turbulent transition from childhood to adulthood and tackle love, sex and sexual abuse.
Seeking was a continuation and further development of A Picture of You Too. Seeking was a devised piece operating on the theme “suffering from neglect”, After much exploration, discussion, hotseating and improvisation on the subject of what, young people do for attention and the impact it has on how they were perceived, we devised a play about a loud girl with low self-esteem and looking at the deeper issue of what she actually craves for in her attention seeking actions? A three night run in local adventure playground.
1998 A Picture of You
An adaptation of, “A Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. Young people strongly identified with how skin deep beauty has a hold on us. Because of our sensitivity to how we are treated based on the way we look it can affect what we do and who we chose to become. We read the story and compared different forms of beauty as seen from various cultures. We explored the media concept of beauty and the relevance of that to our actual identity? We asked, what do we do to try and fit the concept? And how does that affect who we become? It was a collaboration between local artists in the Borough of Lewisham and a group of young people. We found new and innovative ways to tell this story of individual morality.
1996 39th Floor
A play of African and Russian Mythology, Oshun (once goddess) lives on the 39th floor of a council estate. The lift stops working, she is isolated and nobody honours her anymore. Through the radio she learns people are honouring Peter the Russian Tzar. She wants to be honoured, in her mind she becomes this Tzar. She wants to be less than she is (a goddess) to be a man (Tzar) so she can be recognised for who she is. This multi-media event with original soundtrack from Paul Micah opened at the Deptford festival in 1996. It told the story of disillusionment and mental health. Can she ever return to her former glory?
Scripts Montpellier France Based
1993 Je suis invisible
From Montpellier South of France, having learnt French and situated among the community a program of creative work begun. The local Marie (council) funded me to run theatre workshops with the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts seeking long-term solutions. Je sius invisible told the story of a young man who ran away from an unbearable home life. What happens when a nice man offers his hungry belly food and his lonely soul friendship? It was a fantastic imaginative collaboratively devised piece toured during festival season.
Scripts Bristol Based
1991 Rock-a-bye baby
Depression among the young and especially among young mothers was on the increase. Inspired by local newspapers article outlining how a mother killed her children because she feels the world is too cruel. The play opens with a 10 foot 6 inch puppet in straight-jacket, facing bright lights and the condemnation of the media for infanticide. Can society ever come to terms with what this mother has done and why?
1990 Big A little a
Motivated by the high emotions of the poll tax. "BIG A little a" tells the story of Marcia and Francis who are stolen away from their village by the Prime Sinister's cronies for innocently laughing without paying the laughing tax. How will they restore laughter to the village and rid the community of the prime sinister? Toured primary schools, festivals and Edinburgh festival.