top of page

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 

Black Sheep_ Rod_ Penn 7 copy.jpg
Black Sheep
Livia Kojo 
Venue 20: Assembly Rooms - Powder Room
Aug 11-13, 16-27, 21:00 /  Tickets
Aug 12, 2022
Photographer: rod_penn

After moving to London to live within a more diverse community, Livia learns that the self-hate feelings she experienced all her life are internalised racism and survival techniques. While building her career in the circus industry she grows tired of playing a stereotype and starts unpacking layers to grow and overcome. She uses poetry, music and performance to speak about the challenges a Black woman faces when daring to move into her power. Carving out a place for herself as one of the UK's up-and-coming Black voices, Livia presents a performance that is timely, unsettling and powerful.

Hi Livia thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe and Assembly Rooms - Power Room this year?


I am very excited and a little scared to be honest. This is my first time at the Fringe with my own solo show. I am nervous about how people will perceive it! I am sleeping very light right now!

Before we start I hear congratulations are in order as your debut poetry collection Rising of the Black Sheep is to be published in September, how did this book come about and how excited are you to be able to share you poetry with the world?

So the book was a beautiful accident. After setting out to write my solo show I realised that all my monologues had poetry form. Then lockdown happened and I just kept writing and writing. By the end of 2020 I had a book!

You have had incredible reviews for your shows, what has it meant to you to get this type of response for your work?


Thank you. Yes I just finished touring with Marisa Carnesky’s company. Our show Showomen received 5 star reviews and awards. It’s been such a rollercoaster. We worked so hard on the show and didn’t know how the public would receive it. To be showered with accolades was amazing. Knowing that the world understands how your brain works and appreciates it was beautiful to experience. It’s also set me onto a good positive start for my solo show. It gave me confidence!


Can you tell me how Black Sheep came about, where did the inspiration for your new show come from?


I’ve been touring for years as a sword swallower with other companies. But I’ve always felt there was something missing in my career - my voice. People booked me to look amazing and swallow the sword. When I tried to flip the script on the traditional circus sideshow act where the male MC speaks for the female performer with a sword act where I spoke for myself it just wasn’t booked much.

After being invited to hold a TEDx talk in 2017 I got really inspired. I wanted to take control over my work. So I set out and started writing my show. The idea was fully formed in 2019 and we applied for funding. I eventually received the  Arts Council England award in 2020 but then lockdown hit. I think the show actually benefited from this extended time frame. But yes that’s how I got here!


"When I finally got to do my work in progress we had restrictions again and I could only have 15 people as audience."

What have been the biggest challenge you have faced bringing this show to life?

As much as the lockdowns helped with writing the show they also were my biggest challenge. Not being able to try things out with a live audience was very difficult. I made an online version but that was just not the same. When I finally got to do my work in progress we had restrictions again and I could only have 15 people as audience. Not having a buzzing crowd got me really worried and questioning. I nearly gave up. But thanks to the people around me like Marisa Carnesky and Clive Lyttle from Certain Blacks who believed into my work - I kept going.


In creating Black Sheep how important was it for you to make an autobiographical show and did you have any reservations about being so frank and open with this show?


An autobiographical show was the only option for my first one. If you had a life like me with so much revelation, loss, pain and misery but came out of it alive, a better person and even more healthy than ever you have a duty to share it.


Will you return to MisSa in the future or are you happy to continue to explore who Livia Kojo Alour is?


No I will be leaving the stage name MisSa completely behind starting 2023. I have moved on from this persona as it was deeply rooted in Circus and Cabaret performance. Livia is the writer and theatre maker I am now.


Do you allow yourself much flexibility once a show is running or do you prefer to stick to what you’ve planned to do?


I do like a little freedom to improvise. However since this is my first Fringe I am sticking to my script. It gives me safety in such uncertain terrain.


After the fringe you will be touring Black Sheep around the UK?


Yes Black Sheep and my debut poetry collection “Rising Of The Black Sheep” are going on a UK tour in October. I am so excited to bring my show to different cities and audiences.

In the process of writing Black Sheep what do you think have been the most valuable lessons you have discovered about yourself and about the type of work you want to create?

Writing and creating theatre shows is a slower process than making short Cabaret acts. It needs a lot of patience that i didn’t have to begin with. But I’ve learned in the process and now really appreciate the longevity of the work.


Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions you world offer fellow UK Black Queer creators?


Keep pushing for your dreams. UK Black Queer creators often don’t have the same funding opportunities like our white peers. I’ve learned that persistence works. Don’t give up. Work on your craft and goal even without money or rehearsal space. If we are creating good work we will eventually be seen. But literally never give up!


And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from Black Sheep?


I hope Black Sheep is thought provoking and leaves a lasting impact on people’s minds that induces change. I hope people of all backgrounds can develop a little more compassion for one another after seeing my show.

bottom of page