Shine, named after the writer whose name means ‘one who shines’ in Gambian, mixes Sikazwe’s own bittersweet story with an electrifying live soundtrack and heartfelt words. 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.
Hey Kema thanks for talking to TNC, are you all set for your World Premiere in Newcastle?
I’m ready! I’ve put my all in this and I’m ready to share it with the world.
What does it mean for you to have your World Premiere in Newcastle?
Everything, this place is like home to me it’s only right it starts here!
How much has Newcastle inspired your wealth of creativity as a performer/writer?
A lot! I’ve spent almost my entire life here in Newcastle so everything that I have experienced has contributed to my creativity.
Shine is your debut show, have you always been interested in theatre?
I wrongly judged theatre in the beginning. Once I got a taste of it, I was hooked from then onwards.
Are there any nerves ahead of opening night?
Yes! I poured my heart into this play so I’m hoping it will connect with people.
After your run in Newcastle, you are heading to Edinburgh, how do you think your audiences will respond to this show?
I do know they will find some parts in the show they can relate but you can never really judge how an audience will respond.
Can you tell me about Shine, how did the show come about?
I was looking for more experience as an actor after starring in I, Daniel Blake, and Live Theatre was the perfect place! It wasn’t until by chance Graeme Thompson, director of Shine, saw me performing live at a festival. He suggested we do something for a Scratch Night to combine music and theatre. I told him I had this life story I’ve always wanted to tell but didn’t know how. We tested it out at a Scratch Night (at Live Theatre’s new writing festival, Elevator Festival in 2017) and the response was bigger than we both expected. We decided to create a full show out of it and the rest is history!
"Relax, enjoy and tell the truth."
What was the inspiration behind your show?
Finding out who we are, accepting who we are, finding your shine!
As the writer/performer has it been hard to keep these two roles separate?
It’s been a challenge writing the play as it’s the first play I’ve written but I enjoy the process of both.
What inspires your creativity?
Everyday life, my experience, other people’s experience. My brain never switches off.
How much has your approach to theatre changed since you started out?
A lot! I’ve been a sponge since starting. I’ve learnt so much in a short space of time.
How important is the collaborative process for you when you're creating a show like this?
I could not do this by myself. No one man in an island. So many people have contributed to making this show what it is.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Relax, enjoy and tell the truth.
If there was one word to best describe this show what would it be?
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Shine?
I hope people come away inspired to go find their shine. It’s never too late.