John meets Kwame in a rehearsal room of London’s Young Vic Theatre, where he is artistic director. Although he’s worked as an actor, musician, television presenter and theatre director, Kwame regards himself as a playwright first and foremost.
The play I wrote: Bitter Herb, Kwame’s debut play, 1998
The play I wish I had written: Billy Elliot by Lee Hall, 2000
The play I’m writing: Tree, co-written with Idris Elba, 2019
John says: Kwame is a force of artistic nature, a passionate storyteller who wants to fling open the doors of the theatre to everyone, especially young people. He chose his very first play A Bitter Herb because of a profound experience he had when seeing it again for the first time in two decades. A new student production reconnected Kwame to his younger, bolder self and prompted him to make a life-changing decision. We bent the rules with Billy Elliott - it’s a film screenplay rather than a stage play - but the story of the kid who dances his way through a community riven with social and political unrest chimed with his memory of being caught up in the Southall riots of 1978. And the play Kwame is writing with Idris Elba for the Manchester International Festival and the Young Vic promises to be joyous.