Take me to the moon: Keisha Thompson

Keisha Thompson is a Mancunian writer, performance artist and producer. Last year she premiered Man on the Moon. A solo show directed by Benji Reid, commissioned by Contact and STUN and supported by Arts Council England, Apples & Snakes and Slate. After a sell-out week in Contact, it went on to do a successful mini tour around the UK and received a Manchester Theatre Award for Best Studio Production. Keisha talks below about her support from Slate. 

 

I remember hearing about Slate and it sounded like a great project. I met up with former Enabler, Afreena Islam, who told me about all the support that Slate could offer. It was great to receive such an intimate approach. At the time, all of the strands (playpots to training) sounded really exciting but I didn’t feel like I had an immediate need to make use of any of them - it was just great to know that the support was there. 

A few days later, I had a meeting with set designer, Jim Bond and director, Benji Reid. It was a pivotal time in the show making process. I’d done a script-reading and given my team space to think about how they would bring the show to life using their various specialisms. Today was set day. We sat over hot chocolates and teas throwing heady ideas around for the set. We sketched. We gasped. We laughed. Basically we got super excited. Eventually we honed in one particularly moment in the show and how the set could amplify it. It was perfect. 

Then we stepped down from the imagination ladder and had a look at the budget. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be possible within the current margins. And this is always the problem. And it always will be. I had written a budget with all the knowledge that I had at the time. You can’t budget for epiphanies though. 

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Immediately I started to consider which things I might have to sacrifice or change or remove and then I remembered that Slate had a small pot of money purely dedicated to production costs. It was perfect. That same evening, I emailed Afreena with my idea and need of support. Obviously, I had to make it very clear that this money would help us to take the production quality of the show to another level which would accentuate the story and the experience for the audience. After going through the normal processes, the money was granted. It was such a relief to have that support there. 

It was serendipitous and I’m forever grateful. From the responses that I’ve had from audience members and from the reviews of the show so far, I know that set has been just as well received as the writing or the performance - and that’s what I had always wanted. All the elements should be cohesive and on par. The support I received from Slate allowed me to create a piece that I am holistically proud of. Thanks Slate! 

 

Are you a Black artist based in the north of England? Click here to find out about Slate, including our next Slate Social in Manchester on Monday!

Take me to the moon: Keisha Thompson