Tell me about you, as a writer and performance poet
I had to come out to my mum as being a poet. I got straight A’s at GCSE and she thought she was going to get a lawyer, a doctor, or an accountant. I had to come out: ‘Mum, I’m a poet’. Her reply: ‘All those brains and you are going to waste them on poetry?’ Erm, yep. She got over it eventually. I have performed poetry at the Royal Albert Hall London, The Calabash Literature Festival Jamaica, and at numerous festivals in the UK and the Netherlands. I have had a solo collection ‘Amsterdam’ published by Crocus that is in the British Library for perpetuity and have been broadcast on BBC radio. I think she gets it now.
Describe what it is like to be a black woman in the theatre scene
In theatre, I perform epic poetic narratives in a live art style. It is exciting, fun, daunting, and challenging. It is a beautiful experience and a frightening one at the same time. It is expanding the boundaries of what is possible in my life. As a solo artist, I have learnt to fly.
The BBC Radio 3 have featured your spoken word film, Physics, on their website. What gave you the idea for the film? How was the film making process?
I think Quantum Mechanics is so sexy. I love that there is a microscopic universe inside us made up of electrons and quarks, and electromagnetism. There is a magical world down there and I thought this was ripe for poetic exploration. I pitched this idea to the BBC and they were excited by the idea and commissioned the poetry film. They also broadcast the audio version on BBC Radio 3 programme, The Verb.
In terms of the film making process, I wrote and performed in the film, but it was the film maker Lwimbo Kunda who really did all the hard work in terms of planning all the shots, the location, and even sourcing footage of real subatomic particles as well as footage from Nasa. She edited the film into a beautiful and poetic online adventure.
The Curve theatre, Leicester has selected your new play for BHM Live. What does your new performance piece hope to explore? What made you want to explore these concepts together?
My new full length Solo Show is called ‘Superposition’ and it combines quantum physics with female sensuality, and existential philosophy. It is an experimental piece that attempts to combine, science, art and philosophy. It will be written in verse and performed in a live art style. I am about to embark on a period of research and development of this piece with my new director, Benji Reid.
Your performance art show, Amsterdam was a huge success. Are you hoping for similar successes with your new piece?
I am always aspiring to grow as an artist. I want to be like a tree, perpetually aiming higher, stretching to ever greater heights, reaching for the sky. In concrete terms, I am developing this new show for the ultimate purpose of enthralling audiences nationally and internationally.
What has been your highlight of working on these new performance art pieces?
I love using my body. As a performance poet, usually, your body is used to carry your head onto the stage and you stand behind the microphone and speak. Working with poetry and performance art means you get to move, and dance and make pictures with your body as well as your words. The greatest thing has been to discover new things that my body can do and the immense feeling that gives me.
Do you have any upcoming performances?
I am taking Amsterdam to Scotland in May, and I am taking the show to South Africa in June. I will be performing at the National Arts Festival in Grahams Town on the main programme. I also have an Artist residency in Johannesburg where I will be doing some experimental performances by collaborating with local music producers. Follow me on Twitter or FB @chanjekunda for details
What does the future hold for you in your performance poetry career?
The text from my new show ‘Superposition’ will be in verse and I aim to have that published as a poetry book. I also intend to clear more time to write and make poetry films and gain more audiences for my live poetry performances.
Sum up your experience in one word