"We invade their countries and justify it by saying that our way of life is better, then boggle at the idea they might think living here is great. We pay no attention to how our actions in other countries have precipitated the situation. There has to be something wrong with a world where the best employment option for a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa isn't being a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa, but crossing the Mediterranean on a punctured lilo, only to spend days dangling under a lorry so that he can end up selling lollipops in a nightclub toilet. Our indifference is staggering. For a lot of these people, their best chance of survival is to dress up as a Leopard and hope to get Twitter onside.
Of course, the true existential threat to us might come from ourselves. If we can look at another human being and categorise them as "illegal" or that chilling American word "alien", then what has become of our own humanity? To support policies that dehumanise others is to dehumanise yourself. I think most people resist that, but are pressed toward it by an increasingly sadistic elite. If you're worried about threats to your way of life, look at the people that are selling the public services from under you. The people who will destroy this society are already here: printing their own money, printing their own newspapers and responding to undesirables at the gates by releasing the hounds." - Frankie Boyle
Still Breathing - Euton Daley
“I am a singer, not a politician. But.. every song I sing becomes a statement that echoes the hopes and inspirations of my people” Miriam Makeba
"This is precisely the time when artists go to work – there is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilisations heal" Toni Morrison
Still Breathing wasn’t the next show I was going to write! However, during the summer of 2020, like many, I got caught up in the globalisation of #Black Lives Matter, partly fuelled by the public murder of George Floyd, the growing calls for decolonising education and institutions alongside the local Rhodes Must Fall campaign. Married with the pandemic, lockdown and the growing numbers of colleagues and friends losing their lives led me to put
pen to paper and wrote a 20min performance poetry piece entitled Fatigued. This captured two contrasting thoughts, feelings and emotions – that of an older generation like myself who had seen it all before/been here before and fundamentally nothing has changed whilst a younger generation/young people were saying now is the time for action not words. Both were united in the stance that something must be done, this can’t go on but how best do we bring about real, meaningful change?
Fatigued was performed/read at several on-line events and at rallies in Oxford, to much acclaim. This overwhelming positive response led me to pen Still Breathing as a theatre show. To me, it seems that we have been in a state of community grieving for the past few years with the advent of Covid-19, mourning the loss of loved one. And as the news broke regarding the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Black communities continue their
collective grief and trauma with the latest killing of an unarmed young Black man, Chris Kaba – shot dead by a Metropolitan police officer through his windscreen whilst he sat in his car. The family, like many before him, as still waiting for answers.
Still Breathing is both historical and present. We are still breathing, but for how much longer?
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
Angie Amra Anderson - Performer/African Music Composition
Angie Amra Anderson has contributed to the research and development of African Performance arts since 1974. Through workshops, performances, lectures, residencies, seminars as well as festivals, Amra has maintained a high standard of activity and is known as a thought leader in her chosen art form. Amra has many accolades to her name and in September 2022, she received the Rise Award for 'Outstanding Contribution to the
Fimber Bravo - Musician/Music composition
Hailing from Trinidad, internationally renowned Fimber Bravo is one of the most influential exponents of steel pan in contemporary music. Bravo has been a leading figure in the movement to change the global image of steel pan since the 1970’s and has loaned his unique talents to an astonishing array of artists, from Winifred Atwell and Blur right through to Sun Ra Arkestra, Mikey Moonlight and Hot Chip.
Daniel Browne - Performer
In 2012, Daniel went to Buckinghamshire University where he studied Dance & Fitness for three years. By the end of his first year, he had achieved more than he had anticipated; one being his first major performance at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony as a featured dancer.
Developing his knowledge in biomechanics, physiology and anatomy, Daniel created a new venture that fuses his love of dance with his knowledge of fitness, creating an enjoyable journey to becoming fitter and healthier. This venture is what we now know as nationally successful dance fitness company; Groove Aerobics.
He has gone on to work simultaneously within the performance industry and the fitness industry, working with companies such as Nike and Gymshark, but also working with artists like Dizzee Rascal and choreographing for Dubai Expo 2020, amongst many other companies and artists.
Jali Fily Cissokho - Musician
Jali Fily hails from Ziguinchor in the beautiful lush region of Casamance, Southern Senegal. Internationally renowned master musician, composer and inspirational praise singer he plays the 21-string West African kora and comes from a family of musicians whose skills and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation.
He first arrived in the UK 2002 with his family group Jalikunda and nephew Seckou Keita for a tour in the UK and Europe. Since then he has established himself as one of the UK’s foremost kora players. Working solo and with his band Coute Diomboulou or in collaboration with an eclectic range of musicians, his virtuosity has led him to perform with many esteemed artists including Toumani Diabate, Baba Maal, Bollywood film composer AR Rahman, Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and he has also featured in the Netflix film Warrior King.
His latest album BIMO received excellent reviews from Songlines and is available on major digital download sites.
Cobourn Daley - Construction
Euton Daley - Writer/Director/Producer
Producer, performer, writer, director and tutor, Euton has been working in the arts for over 40 years. He has been a key figure in Oxford's cultural landscape since the 1990s. After working with Greenwich Young People's Theatre and the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre he joined Pegasus Theatre and became Artistic Director (1990-2013). As an independent artist he has been involved in a variety of festivals, projects and productions,
including the recent award-winning SOLD that toured nationally and internationally earlier this year. He is a North Wall Propeller supported artist. Euton was awarded an MBE in 2008 for services to the arts and young people.
Amantha Edmead - Performer
Amantha is an actress/ drama practitioner and storyteller . She trained at Guildford School of Acting, and studied Dramatherapy at University of Surrey Roehampton. She has over 25 years of theatre and television credits including working with: Little Angel, The OrangeTree, Talawa, London Bubble theatre companies and appearing in Song Catcher
BBC Eastenders, Doctors and The Bill.
She founded Kuumba Nia Arts (KNA) in 2009 creating theatre through an African Caribbean lens, offering theatrical and storytelling interventions for diverse audiences. Their current play SOLD has won 5 awards including Best Ensemble at Edinburgh Fringe 2019, and 2 OFFies 2022 for best lead and supporting performers in a play.
Ayo-Dele Edwards - Performer/Song composition
Ayo-Dele trained at Mountview Theatre School.
She is an actress, singer/songwriter, and more recently a podcast Host, she is interested in theatre that: empowers, inspires and furthers the conversation about our narratives, using multi-disciplinary forms; poetry, music, storytelling, dance, and movement.
Becoming (solo show) A musical drama combining storytelling and original songs to bring to life a story of growing up across two continents, exploring identity, love, family relationships and migration, is her first written play which debuted at Stratford Circus Arts Centre during women's international week, to sold out audiences. She recently launched a brand new
podcast called Becoming You (available on all major digital platforms) where she speaks with men and women about how their creativity helps them deal with life’s ups and downs.
Emmanuel Edwards - Composer/Performer
Emmanuel is a London based musician, composer, singer songwriter who has worked on diverse musical projects over the years. Emmanuel has worked with record companies such as Sony Music and EMI and many more and artists such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hillsong, Graham Kendrick. Emmanuel has been away from music production exploring the world of
events/operations management and made his return in 2019 as the musical director with the debut production of Becoming which sold out at Stratford Circus Arts centre and he also recently produced the film soundtrack album, Hopeful Noise Vol 1. Emmanuel is currently working on a few theatre productions including a tour in 2023.
David Fisher - Production photography
Gill Jaggers - Marketing
Gill Has worked for leading cultural organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Rep and Oxford Playhouse. She is currently based in Oxford working for local organisations including, Justice in Motion, Museum of Oxford, Kuumba Nia Arts, Oxford's Christmas Light Festival and Unlock the Chains Collective.
Derek James - Video/Film
Nicola Moses - Performer/Assistant Choreography
Trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
Nicola started her career with Phoenix Dance Company in 1996. She went on to perform with Gelede Dance in Oxford in 2002, as it became a professional dance company, focusing on dance fused with martial arts. Nicola has taught in varies Schools, dance Schools and Pegasus theatre and is a co-founder of The Miss P Foundation - an Oxford based charity committed to nurturing young people in the Arts. Over the course of the last 5 years, Nicola has enjoyed working and performing locally with Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective.
Roy Naraine - Technical & Production
After discovering Stage Lighting at school Roy pursued professional a career working backstage and all things technical. This started with lighting in London’s Covent Garden at The Donmar Warehouse and Donmar Hire, whilst studying at the ABTT. This lead on to being involved with many west end theatres and their productions. This then lead to touring with London City Ballet and working on many TV programs including, The Last Resort for Channel 4 and the BBC Children’s Royal Variety Show.
After departing London, Roy founded Startech Productions in 1998 to service every aspect of technical production. Roy provide all the technical equipment and know-how for the St Pancras Station Completion as well as numerous pre-Olympic meetings and ceremonies. He has worked with many global companies and supported various acts that these companies
have including roadshows for BP, Barclaycard, Honda, Fibreweb and still managed to squeeze in semi pro as well as amateur theatre and dance shows. Chiltern Shakes was one of his favourites, lighting and sound outdoors, always a challenge but succeeded for 22 years. Over the years Roy has run lighting courses for drama societies and often gets involved offering his skills to schools in the home counties.
Ben Owora - Performer
Originally from Kenya and Tanzania, the last few years have seen Ben Owora working extensively with heritage organisations including English Heritage, London Transport Museum and Historic Royal Palaces improving the visibility of the African people in British history. He also recently played The Observer in Ten Pound Poms at Tilbury Dockyard, held the title role in children's comedy Teddy Bear's Picnic at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley and has been in ITV dramas Innocent and Emmerdale and played Grant in The Croft for VHS pictures. Next year he will be playing the Apprentice Toreador in Carmen at the London Coliseum.
Lati Saka - Performer/Choreography
Lati is a performer and choreographer who was born In Nigeria and raised in Britain. She has a passion for collaboratively creating work that draws from her diverse cultural background to illuminate our individual and collective voices. She thrives on creating work that challenges the perception of British culture and what that means. After working on the award winning production SOLD Lati returns to develop work with Unlock the Chains
Amanda Selomey - Graphic Design
Donette Victor - Costume Design/maker
Donette Victor is a recent graduate with honours from Oxford Brookes University. A freelance artist based in Oxfordshire. She has hosted arts and crafts workshops for young people in the Ashmolean Museum, Brookes University, Ark-T, and a few primary schools. Donette comes from a mixed heritage background so the base of her practice lives and dies
for embracing one's true self.
Unlock The Chains Collective
The company was founded by Euton Daley in 1986 and has been making work collaboratively since. It uses performance poetry to present key social issues of the day as theatre with dance, music and other disciplines. Based in Oxford, the company draws on Black History and lived experiences to create and produce artistic performances, activities and events. We aim to develop a Black Arts aesthetic through the fusion of dance, music, song and spoken word/performance poetry.
Unlock the Chains Collective