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Theatre of the United Kingdom 2019: Shine by Kema Sikazwe (Preview)


LONDON – Best known for his role in Ken Loach’s 2016 BAFTA and Palme D’or-winning film I, Daniel Blake, actor, rapper, singer and rising star Kema Sikazwe (aka Kema Kay), will make his stage debut in Shine. Premiering at Live Theatre in Newcastle before transferring to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, this world premiere is written and performed by Sikazwe and features seven new songs written specially for the show. Shine, named after Kema’s own name, which means ‘one who shines’ in Gambian, mixes Sikazwe’s own bittersweet story with an electrifying live soundtrack and heartfelt words.

Says Kema Sikazwe: “I’ve always wanted to inspire people to follow their heart through storytelling and personal experience. When I was given the opportunity to get up on stage and share my story at a scratch night at Live Theatre the response was beyond what I expected. Although we all have a different journey, we also have many similarities. I’ve wanted to tell this story for years and now I have the platform it’s a dream come true.”

Through his words, songs and stories, this multi-disciplinary production explores growing up in a world that doesn’t always accept you while learning to gain self-belief and to always trust your head and your heart and always chase your dreams. Kema was just three years old when his family moved from Zambia to Newcastle’s West End, and Shine follows him as his family becomes immersed in these new surroundings, and what happens when that new life begins to fall apart, asking us what makes us who we are and whether the choices in our lives determine who we become – are we in control of our own story or is it in our DNA?

Says Graeme Thompson, Live Theatre’s Creative Producer and Director of Shine: “Kema is a great musical talent and when he first came to Live Theatre to develop his writing and performance skills it was clear we had a real opportunity to make a unique show. What we have created is something that really speaks to this city and the things happening in our world today. To think that this is his debut theatre show is very exciting, it’s a very ambitious piece of work. It’s a very personal story to Kema but there is so much people can relate to. Also, it has an amazing original soundtrack and music.”

Shine plays at the Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DQ from 2nd – 11th May 2019, and at the Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2ED from 16th – 18th May 2019. Tickets available here 

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