Creative Cafe

27 March 2017

5 Minutes with an Artist: Akeim Buck and Omari Swanston-Jeffers

We interviewed Akeim Buck and Omari Swanston-Jeffers about their careers so far and what to expect from their Creative Café on ‘Physical Theatre‘ on Thursday 30th March 2017.

Credit: Robling Photography
Credit: Robling Photography

How did you become an artist?

Akeim: It’s only since last year that I got used to saying ‘I’m an artist’. After graduating from Northern Contemporary Dance school I decided that I wouldn’t pursue other careers. It was trial and error for a while, whilst I was studying I tried to do other weekend jobs but they never seemed to work for me, whereas dancing, leading workshops and working with kids seemed to come naturally.

Omari: I’ve always been an artist, but professionally I suppose once I graduated from university and started working. I had work as a runner in tv for a while but during uni I started getting paid for dance and teaching and other skills, since I graduated I’ve been getting more and more paid work.

Who and what inspires you?

Akeim: Bob Marley is one of my biggest inspirations. My mum is an inspiration and then just people and their stories. The work itself inspires me because I try to stay true to it and create new work always trying to compete with myself to be better.

Omari: My biggest inspiration is my grandad, he came from the Caribbean and was able to build up a great family and provide for them and then, when he was older he moved back to the Caribbean and built his own house. My surroundings inspire my art, I look at different artists and different music. I find a lot of inspiration in black/afro-Caribbean culture, but not to the exclusion of other cultures.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

Akeim: Recently a piece I was successful in a grant application, there was an audience member who was a 1st generation Greek who watched the piece 3 times, first when it was just a rough draft, secondly when I posted something online and then most recently the completed piece. He told me that it ‘made him want to do something’, the man made a mix for the people of Aleppo. It showed that we don’t have to shout and scream to be activists, instead we can use our natural skills to do something for others as well as ourselves. I was really proud that it was my work that helped him to get to that place.

Omari: Graduating from Roehampton University with a first-class degree in Creative Writing.

What do you think are the challenges for young artists?

Akeim: Getting people and organisations, to believe in and trust you. Getting Arts Council funding is touch, when you do you feel like you’re a child who is finally get recognition and becoming an adult.
If you want to be seen as a professional and taken seriously you have to know what you want. If you don’t, what other people think of you and want from you will end up defining who you are as an artist. When you get feedback you have to think about what to take on board and what you should leave aside. Ask yourself if it aligns with your vision, and what you want. You are the artist not the art so try not to get to precious about your work or objectify yourself.

Omari: Financially sustaining themselves. It’s important to be a business person as well an artist.

What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?

Akeim: To build your confidence in devising movement as an actor as well as taking direction and being honest and truthful with the directions you are given.

Omari: Lots of fun, lots of learning and lots of skill and passion.

Where can we find out more?

To find out more about the Creative Café and register for updates CLICK HERE!

To find out more about Akeimcheck out the following links:




To find out more about Omari why not check out his sites?



leeds inspired

13 March 2017

5 Minutes with an Associate Artist: Claudio Kron Do Brazil

We interviewed our Creative Associate Claudio Kron about his career so far and what to expect from his Creative Café on ‘Rhythm and Percussion’ on Thursday 16th March 2017.

How did you become an artist?

C: I become an artist by curiosity and the urge and need to entertain myself and others subsequently.

Who and what inspires you?

C: People, nature, politics, history, geography, sounds, innovation, arts as an educational source

What was the proudest moment of your career?

C: In terms of grand performances and achievements!  When I took part in REFLECTIONS 200 years of abolition of the slavery trade in Ghana, alongside great artists including Geraldine Connor, Mustapha Tettey Addy, Hugh Massekela, London Gospel Choir in the presence of Ghana’s president John Kufuor
Also when I performed to the Brazilian president Lula da Silva in London and Accra.
Other times when I see people who somehow I know I had contributed.
My children engaging in my music passion, Not just for the sake for them been performance artist but to know something about music and arts

What do you think are the challenges for young artists?

C: Many challenges, however the challenges are what make us a better artist! Not suffering

What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?

C: My passion to aspect of the art I see it as a whole!  Wanting to be part of it somehow!
In this one off workshop I want to show many things that affect the arts direct and indirectly! Links between Bahia the place I come from Brasil and Africa.
Demonstration of: Percussion, interactive songs, techniques, stories

Where can we find out more?

To find out more about the Creative Café and register for updates CLICK HERE!

You can discover more about Claudio and his work at his websites:




Or contact him for a chat via
Twitter: @claudiokron


7 March 2017

5 Minutes with an Associate Artist: Khadijah Ibrahiim

We interviewed our Creative Associate Khadijah Ibrahiim about her career so far and what to expect from her Creative Café on ‘Writing for Performance’ on Thursday 9th March 2017.

Khadijah Ibrahiim
Khadijah Ibrahiim

How did you become an artist?

K: I was introduced to the arts from a young age as I was involved in dance and theatre in and outside of school. I attended Intake school of performing arts so it was a natural progression to go into the arts. My mother, attended a writing group at Roseville art centre, and had her short story published. This inspired me, since I enjoyed writing stories, painting and drawing, and convinced my siblings or friends to be in my plays, or productions at school (and then later on in college and university). My grandparents were activists and were part of many campaigns in Chapeltown where artists often featured, and the basement of their home sometimes acted as a rehearsal space for musicians.

Who and what inspires you?

K: One of my early inspirations for poetry was the revolutionary Jamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, his poetry contained the social commentary of the 70s and 80s. Louise Bennett, another Jamaican poet and storyteller and singer-songwriter David Bowie were also key influences at the time. Other artists such as Jonzi D inspire me, and that of the works of Brazilian theatre maker Augusto Boal and his ‘theatre of the oppressed’. Everyday life inspires me, it is theatre in itself, especially the communities in which people live. I like the fact that an audience can be more than just ‘spectators’ they can be and should be spect-actors.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

K: When I finished my first full poetry collection ‘Another Crossing’ and launched as a one-woman show at the West Yorkshire playhouse. Writing the collection was extremely personal and it was a lesson in trusting myself and the quality of my work. One of my writing mentors Jacob Ross once said ‘these stories are not yours to keep, they belongs to the people’ in others words I needed to let go, so other people could enjoy the collection of poems.

What do you think are the challenges for young artists?

K: Being confident enough to engage in activities available to them, there are far more things now than there was at the beginning of my career. Having said that, opportunities can be geographically based and sporadic or inconsistent so more than often, young people may lack the courage and drive to go further afield and step out of their comfort zone to track them down. Many young people may feel, they don’t belong in certain art spaces or buildings, It’s up to, those arts organisations to find ways to make those changes.

What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?

K: You should expect the excitement of writing and performing and the chance to explore your imagination through the use of visuals and text. You’ll have the freedom to experiment because there is no right or wrong in this workshop, here one can put any fear aside and put your creative mind and heart out there.

Where can we find out more?


To find out more about the Creative Café and register for updates CLICK HERE!

You can read more about Khadijah’s work ‘Another Crossing’ here:


British Council South Africa exchange http://badilishapoetry.com/khadijah-ibrahim/

Tedx Woman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUbiul6hduM


Don’t forget to check out Leeds Young Authors, established by Khadijah, which has received international acclaim and are the subject of the Multi award-winning documentary ‘We Are Poets’ which recently featured on the BBC



27 February 2017

5 Minutes with an Associate Artist: Zodwa Nyoni

We interviewed our Creative Associate Zodwa Nyoni about her career so far and what to expect from her Creative Café on Creating Narrative on Thursday 2nd March 2017.

Zodwa Nyoni
Zodwa Nyoni

How did you become an artist?

Z: By accident, when I was younger I enjoyed English and storytelling and had a brilliant English teacher. I started reading poetry, watching plays and going to spoken word events. I was writing but at first I didn’t perform. Eventually I found out about Leeds Young Authors (established by fellow Associate Artist Khadijah Ibrahiim) and joined in 2005. Within a year, the Leeds Young Authors went to America to compete in a Slam poetry competition. I carried on writing and two years later realised that this is what I wanted to do. I completed my BTEC in Performing Arts at Leeds City College in 2008. I then completed a BA in Arts, Events and Performance at Leeds Beckett (previously Leeds Metropolitan) before doing my Masters in Writing for Performance and Publication at Leeds University. At first I was interested in doing Clinical Psychology, I guess I have a general interest in human behaviour and it was just the field that changed.

Who and what inspires you?

Z: I have a genuine fascination with people and how we live together (or don’t) and I’m interested in how people respond differently to the same events.
I look up to powerful women such Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Author of ‘We should all be feminists’) and Shonda Rhimes and their ability to influence how the audience feels.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

Z: The opening of my play Boi Boi is Dead at the West Yorkshire Playhouse was a big moment for me. It was the culmination of 4 years’ hard work, during which I had no recognition or security that it would be commissioned. It was my first full length play. I learnt a lot about character development and creating a story over 90 minutes. I had been quietly developing the idea in my mind for years and I’m glad that I didn’t quit. It led me to the epiphany that as a writer you must persevere and have patience if you believe in your story.

What do you think are the challenges for young artists?

Z: Finding the right platform  which can help you develop in the long term and with individuals who are committed to seeing you through your development as an artist.
It’s also difficult to find paid work as a writer and transition from doing free work to asking for payment for your services, particularly as there are few people willing to invest in new writers/artists.
It’s easy to stay caught in development schemes as an ‘emerging artist’ and trying to move forward professionally can be frustrating and disheartening. With the uncertainty of being a professional artist it’s all about learning how to work as a freelancer, being open utilising your skills in many areas,  being brave in your ability and knowing that there will be sacrifices (and rewards).

What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?

Z: My workshop won’t just be for writers. Whether you’re developing and idea or writing is new to you, you should come along. If you want to develop a character, or just like stories you should come along. I’ll be discussing some of the things every writer should have in their ‘writers toolbox’ and we’ll discuss some of your favourite characters (so come prepared with some thoughts). Finally’, we’ll discuss how to create or develop your own characters and their individual narratives.

Where can we find out more?

To find out more about the Creative Cafe and register for updates CLICK HERE!

You can find out more about Zodwa and her work on the following links

Twitter: @ZodwaNy 
Instragram: @ntombizodwanyoni

OR! Check out Zodwa’s latest play ‘Ode to Leeds’ inspired by her time with Leeds Young Authors and taking place at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 10th June 2017-1st July 2017



24 November 2016

Creative Cafe Sharing-Magic Memories

On the 17th of November the Creative Cafe of Autmn 2016 came together to celebrate though a wonderful night of music with workshop leaders Caution Collective.

We’ve compiled a gallery of the best shots from that evening. We’d like to congratulate:

Sienna, Millie and Kyann for their beautiful version of A Thousand Years

Sky for shining bright as any star with her emotional original song Lone Soldier

Claydon for his lyrical prowess and skilled song structure

Alexandria for getting us in the mood for Christmas with her cover of O’Holy Night

Robin for breaking our hearts with his dramatic rendition of Close Everydoor

Lem for wearing his heart on his sleeve in Do the Right thing

Carmen for being a total superstar singing Let it Go with her Uncle Simon

Melissa for her emotional, catchy and masterful song Floating

Adeline for her dedication and for saying it simply but brilliantly with Path Ways

Martelle for her synchronicity and natural bluesy tones in her orignal song Home

Taysia for blowing our socks off and giving her all with Funny

Lady K for picking up the beat and her clever original rhymes in How Crazy must I be?

Jervai, for his mellow tones with So Sick

And last but not least Christella, Simon, Tila, Tavelah, Cherie and Kyrann from Caution Collective for all their hard work making the Creative Cafe happen.

We hope this is experience is one you will always treasure, we certainly will.