Kamari Romeo Announces Visual Poetry Album, Toybox

Kamari Romeo Sirena Reynolds c. John Godwin
Kamari Romeo Sirena Reynolds c. John Godwin

Toybox is about taking experiences, playing with them and putting them back together with a better understanding.  A 22-minute visual poetry album with music & puppetry, looking at experiences of British childhood. Produced and created by Kamari Romeo.

This project, made in April 2018 over a period of 9 months endeavours to bring honest conversations into sharp focus via a series of short, filmed poems, performed to original music in collaboration with 5 care leavers aged between 20-27. These original works highlight how childhood experiences and traumas may affect us, shaping the people we become.

Says Roméo: “After my mother died suddenly in April 2018, I began to take an interest in the idea of deconstructing my childhood through the perspective of a child, piecing together the memories of my care experience. It suddenly felt more important than ever to delve into my history as a second-generation Zambian immigrant, growing up in England, playing with Chinese toys and watching American TV to figure out what parts of my multi-cultural upbringing I would hold on to as an adult out of the system.

Through my mentorship with arts collective Lyrix Organix (Rum Shack, Glastonbury, Roundhouse) I wanted to dissect how I could use poetry as a tool to communicate empathy, forgiveness and worth. Analysing and transposing these lived experiences into poetry seemed like a natural step. Guest poets on the album were discovered through a 3-day workshop supported by Catch 22 and Rich Mix London. An open call was announced across the UK for care-experienced young people to explore their journeys through spoken word. 2 out of 5 contributors to TOYBOX are exploring poetry for the first time. In some cases, poets are using their first names only.

TOYBOX presents a safe space and each toy/experience maps a journey through an alternative hip-hop soundscape. The album offers the possibility of spoken word as a permanent language, pushing through the open mic scene and into people’s everyday lives. TOYBOX tests the power of face-to-face performance Vs digital media to heal and connect”.

About Kamari Romeo

Theatre credits include: Straight White Men (Southwark Playhouse- Coming Soon- Sept 2020), Summer in London (Theatre Royal Stratford East) The Bear/The Proposal (Young Vic) Elemental (Bush Theatre), The Jungle Book (Emporium Brighton) and Alice in Wonderland (The Minack Theatre).

Television Credits Include: The Split 2 (BBC), Silent Witness (BBC). Producing Credits Include: The Ritual (Battersea Arts Centre/Roundhouse), Urinal Residency (Live Art Development Agency).

Poetry Credits Include: Roundhouse Resident Artist (Roundhouse), The Huffington Post UK, King’s College London, Barbican Young Poets 2014/15 (Barbican).

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