Eclipse Commissioned Artist: Keisha Thompson

“From the mundane to the spectacular, I will use my body, my voice, my vernacular.” Keisha Thompson

Keisha Thompson is a Manchester based writer, performance artist and producer.

Keisha is the Young People’s Producer at Contact, chair of radical arts funding body, Future’s Venture Foundation, is a fellow of the MOBO x London Theatre Consortium Fellowship and is a member of Greater Manchester Cultural and Heritage Group.

She is currently touring award-winning solo show, Man on the Moon. Her debut book, Lunar, features her poetry and the show script. Whilst Moonwhile is a poetic mini album featuring music from the show.

In 2020, Keisha will work with Eclipse, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre as co-commissioners to stage her new play, The Bell Curves. The script was made in development with Box of Tricks.

She will also work with Fuel Theatre and Alan Lane (Slung Low) to create new children’s show, Izzy, BOSSS & Fractal.

She will release a new mini album, Ephemera, in collaboration with Tom “Werkha” Leah.

Keisha has supported artists such as Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish, The Last Poets, Saul Williams, Amiri Baraka and has performed in Brave New Voices festivals 2008 & 2009. Her work has been presented at venues high profile venues and platforms such as Tate Modern, Blue Dot Festival and the British Council Showcase in Edinburgh.

The Bell Curves
Commissioned by Eclipse Theatre, Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal

Following a Playbox commission from Box of Tricks to develop an idea for a new piece, Keisha is working on new play, The Bell Curves; a performance piece featuring an all-female cast which will explore the human implications of CRISPR-Cas 9 gene-hacking technology. The protagonist, Nana, is a forensic science student from Manchester who wants to use her research to secure her future with her partner, Henri.

With the support of the Eclipse, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre, the piece is in its next stage of development. Keisha is currently working with academics, researchers and artists such as Brian Lobel, Adura Onashile and Erinma Ochu to take the script to the next level. In light of this, there will be an online reading of the work in the summer with an invited audience.

Lockdown guidelines permitting, Keisha hopes to carry out some R&D sessions with movement directors, sound designers and visual artists to explore the staging and non-verbal aspects of the work. In addition to this, she will be doing lab visits and more research in close connection with CRISPR Cas-9 specialists such as Dr Helen O’Neill.

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Photo credit: Elmi Ali