The highly acclaimed debut production Shine by actor, rapper and rising star Kema Sikazwe (I,  Daniel Blake) has been updated with new songs and content for 2021 and is returning to Live  Theatre as part of their reopening autumn season, Back to Live. Written by Sikazwe, with a  collection of songs composed especially for the show, Shine is a bittersweet exploration of growing  up in a world that doesn’t always accept you.  

At three years old, Kema, whose name means ‘one who shines’ in one of the Zambian languages,  moved with his family from Zambia to Newcastle’s West End. This multi-disciplinary production is a  unique and personal coming of age story that follows a family who find themselves in new  surroundings, and what happens when that new life begins to fall apart. With an electrifying  soundtrack and moving dialogue, Shine asks what makes us who we are and whether the choices in  our lives determine who we become – are we in control of our own story, or is it in our DNA? 

Drawing on his experiences growing up in Newcastle, dealing with bullying and mental health  problems, Kema explores his story and struggles through music, spoken word and acting. Inspired  by his mother’s singing while growing up, Kema’s songs delve into his own journey and aim to  inspire others to believe in themselves in the face of hardship.

Directed by Live Theatre’s own Interim Executive Producer Graeme Thompson (Gutter WeedsSkeletons in Cullercoats; The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes), Shine is brought to life with design by  Emma Bailey and an energetic and heartfelt performance by Live Theatre Associate Artist Kema  Sikawze, also known as Kema Kay. The production, which had its world premiere at Live Theatre in  2019, returns to reopen this beloved Newcastle theatre, which has been closed since March 2020.  

Kema Sikawze says, Bringing Shine back is important as I don’t think we finished telling the story  back in 2019, and it feels so much more relevant now. It’s about celebrating difference and keeping  your head when your world is exploding around you – something everyone can relate to right now. 

Director Graeme Thompson comments, This is Kema’s story and experience, but it’s also a story for  our times and for us all. It’s a story of extraordinary challenge but with a positive message. We  don’t have enough of those in the world right now. 

The unmitigated joy of seeing Sikawze telling it how things are is something to be savoured (Herald,  Scotland).  

Sharply observed cross-cultural coming-of-age story elevated by a charismatic performance…  Undeniably uplifting (The Stage). 

Live Theatre’s Autumn season Back to Live opens with Kema Sikawze’s Shine, followed by Your  Voice: North East, a double bill of Braids and Cheer Up Slug, Lewis Jobson’s Redcoat, Janice Okoh’s  adaptation of The Offing and Bonnie & Fanny’s Christmas Spectacular. Tickets can be booked and  more information can be found at Live Theatre’s website.  

Box Office Tickets are available priced between £10 and £20, and concessions  from £6 at (0191) 232 1232 or



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