Lime interview - Theatre
Kwame Kwei- Armah
EDITOR - Vernia Mengot
In this interview Lime caught up with profound actor and playwright Kwame Kwei- Armah
Currently the Artistic Director of CENTERSTAGE, Baltimore; Kwame Kwei-Armah became a familiar face to millions of people on BBC1's Casualty and had since then made his mark as an actor and broadcaster. But it’s his work as a playwright that has made him even more prolific as he is the first black Briton to have written a West End play. More recently this year becoming a patron of the Barry Reckord Bursary pioneering initiatives aimed at enhancing and developing emerging artists and playwrights, Lime took the opportunity to catch up with him about life lessons, new plays and what 2013 has in store.
Tell us about your involvement in the Barry Reckord Bursary?
I was asked to be patron of this bursary and was overjoyed to be able to say yes.
As a patron, what are your responsibilities?
To advocate on behalf of Bursary in the best possible manner.
You’re mostly known as a profound actor/ playwright. What does it take to become an established head in either of these fields?
Thank you for profound. This is so hard to answer in a fresh or original way. In truth or the bad news is, it takes a great deal of external good fortune- things that are not in your control. The good news is every artist is driven by the things/tools that it takes to be a leader in the field. One has to hope that the two collide.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow your career path?
Make sure they have something to say, something burning inside that they NEED to communicate time and time again.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My mother, August Wilson, Marcus Garvey.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Hard but writing and directing the opening ceremony of the world festival of black arts and culture in Senegal 2010.
What do you find the most challenging?
I really am not sure how to answer this question. So many things are challenging while at the same time I'm not coal mining if you get what I mean. Maybe the most challenging thing might be making sure one stays in tune with the things you truly believe in
In life what is the greatest lesson you have learnt?
Damn these are hard! That if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything.
Are you working on any new plays?
Yes, amid new play being produced at my theatre called Beneatha's Place- a conversation with Raisin in the sun and Clyborne Park.
What about acting, what’s next?
Don't know. Don't have anything on my docket
A BRIMFUL OF ASHBELL