Q&A With Tobi Kyeremateng

Read the first in a series of Q&A’s with participants for Producer Farm 2018, a residency which provides time and space for contemporary performance producers to refresh their current practice, and consider their future potential.

Tobi Kyeremateng is a theatre, poetry and festival producer based in South West London invested in creating provocative and significant live performance exploring socio-politics, community engagement and artistic collaboration.

She has worked with organisations such as Apples and Snakes, Bush Theatre, Old Vic, Battersea Arts Centre, Ovalhouse, Roundhouse, Wac Arts, Bestival, Block9 @ Glastonbury, Brainchild Festival and The Big House Theatre Company

1. What challenges do you encounter within your area of producing?

Might sound simple, but I’ve never really been good with numbers or anything like that, and so the numerical side of producing has always been a challenge for me. Learning to love and live with ExCel has definitely helped me find ways around navigating numbers with ease, but what’s probably been most effective is understanding my personal systems and the way I need to present things in order for them to make sense to me. I think it’ll be an ongoing challenge I’ll keep discovering new remedies for.

2. Why did you apply for Producer Farm and what do you hope to get out of it? 

 I feel like I am currently at a stage in my career where I am too experienced for some of the development programmes for people my age, but not experienced enough to necessarily elevate into senior positions or positions of leadership. I’m doing a lot of focus on my trajectory this year, and Producer Farm felt like the perfect space to spend some concentrated time specifically on my development. I’m looking forward to learning from all the other producers and thinking more about what kind of producer I want to be.

3. Can you tell us about an event you have been to which has made you think differently?

I’ve been working at the Bush Theatre for almost a year now, and a show that’s been in development since I started (and before that) is Misty by Arinze Kene. I had seen Arinze’s work before as a writer, performed by other people, and this was the first time I was seeing him perform his own work. Misty includes all the things I love; poetry, music, lyricism, storytelling and balloons. The familiarity of the stories Arinze told through his poetry and music made me feel at home. I never thought I’d really get to see something I am so familiar with presented on stage like that.

The battle of being a Black artist and wanting to make work about whatever you want without external input on what you should and shouldn’t be doing is another kind a familiarity. Arinze’s unapologetic performance made me truly believe that I can wholly be myself in this industry, and in fact, what is needed is for me (and people like me) to be ourselves. 

Find out more about Tobi Kyeremateng.

Producer Farm is a partnership with Dance Umbrella, Bristol Old Vic FERMENT, FuelCoombe Farm Studios & In Between Time

Tobi Kyeremateng © Ben Carpenter