Modern Love: Perspectives on Love and Modern Relationships in the 21st Century
In 2001, Renaissance One produced it's first semi-staged theatrical spoken word event, Modern Love, at the 1000 seater QEH at Southbank Centre, accompanied by a marketing campaign to bring in diverse audiences. The event commissioned eight (then) up and coming writers to write and perform their own personal take on love and relationships in the 21st century – Charlie Dark, Francesca Beard, Malika Booker, Roger Robinson, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Skorpio (The Nemesis), Jamika Ajalon and Anthony Joseph.
The show was hosted by Ty and singer Imani Uzuri, DJ: Tony Nwachukwu, and a house band including Jason Yarde and other remarkable musicians. The sell-out show and accompanying tour series which featured a broader range of writers including Michael Horovitz, Ruth Foreman and Linton Kwesi Johnson, was curated by Melanie Abrahams and directed by Arlette George and was nominated for an EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Award) for Best Theatre/Play and voted 'Event of the Week' by The Voice. As part of the archive, Renaissance One produced a book of the new writing featuring prose and poetry by fifteen writers and artists.
"Is love dead? Eight of London’s most innovative poets didn’t think so. And after two hours of creatively demonstrating this through spoken-word aided by hip-hop beats and a jazz-influenced band, the modern love tour brought something to London that’s been long overdue… love..."
– The Voice, 7/1/02
Off or On? In or Out?
Renaissance One veers off the path to consider Off Centre, a UK tour of spoken word, talks and workshops. Whether you consider 'off centre' to be 'alternative' or 'left-field', revolutionary or downright dirty, or an alternative to celebrity, the mainstream and election fever – the project presented provocative and funky poetry, twisted short fiction and laugh out loud stories by fourteen stunning writers representing some of the best in contemporary spoken word and literature.
Off Centre launched on 3 May 2005 at Borders Oxford Street followed by an event at the Barbican Centre on 19 July featuring Rob Gallagher, Nick Barlay, Choman Hardi, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Karen McCarthy and host: Francesca Beard. DJ: Gavin Alexander, Music by Tigran Aleksanyan (duduk, Armenian flute), artistic direction by Melanie Abrahams and design by Jason Larkin.
Kin explores the idea of what kin – or family – means today, moving beyond definitions of the biological and reflecting on the realities of our complex bonds and ties. It was originally conceived by Karen McCarthy as an anthology of new fiction by Black and Asian women which was published by Serpents Tail in 2003. In partnership with McCarthy, Renaissance One responded to the book to bring in artists who reflected the kinships in London’s emerging literature, spoken word, music and visual arts scenes to feature a total of thirty-five offering an international reputation or a solid track record in educational work.
Events were presented as prose readings, poetry performances, Q&As, education workshops, and spoken word nights with DJ and VJ formats. The project toured to forty venues in the UK culminating in a three-night spoken word and music show at the Barbican as part of Only Connect festival. The three nights presented brand new material in a high-quality theatrical context, with an MC (Ty), full house band led by Zak Akhimien, and visuals.
Tongue Fu Flicks: Co-production with Chris Redmond
A series of poetry videos for BBC’s The Space with the poet and impresario Chris Redmond (Tongue Fu Flicks, 2012).