We chatted to the spoken-word artist, theatre maker and producer about her new podcast Black in Power.

(c)Susan Dale.

Hi Koko, thanks so much for talking to me. Could you explain a bit more about what we can expect from Black in Power? Black in Power is a podcast that blends what I know and what I want to know. I know that we have some amazing industry leaders in theatre right now and I want to know what they did to get there. Every episode is a conversation where I get to chat with them but, because I’m a multidisciplinary artist, I had to blend music into the standard podcast form. So I’m working with an artist called Latekid who, with his company Forward Motion, has created a theme song and a gentle, unique soundscape for each episode.

How did the idea for the podcast come about? As a person who never went to Uni and has never really understood the progression from being an ‘Emerging Artist’ to a ‘Leader’ – whatever those words mean! – I really wanted to demystify that journey for myself. Then I thought “We if I can get this information, I have to share it”, so I did. A podcast was the most accessible, informal and COVID-safe way to do this within a small budget and timeframe – it just worked!

What changes would you like to happen in the theatre industry? To be honest, I’d like to burn it to the ground and start again … But I know that that’s unlikely to happen so I’ll just say ‘change’. I want to see a change in the faces that lead companies, buildings and projects. I want to see change in the way we value freelancers, value skills, value our mental health. Mostly, I want to see change in the way we allow Black, POC, Queer, DIsabled, Working-class to create art that is not solely based around our trauma.

Who have you managed to talk to for Black in Power? We have some really exciting artists from all over the UK, with a range of specialisms, backgrounds and artistic journeys but that’s all I can say right now, sorry! But what I can say is the first episode is being released on 23rd February so keep a lookout.

How can people tune in and listen? Black in Power will be available online, as a limited series, wherever you listen to good podcasts. New episodes drop each week and, for our Deaf friends & anyone who can’t access them that way, we will be posting transcripts along with each episode.

It’s been such a difficult twelve months – how have you managed to keep going with everything that has been going on? I haven’t to be honest. I have stopped and paused and fell off the radar so many times over the past year. It’s been difficult for all of us in so many unique and unexpected ways that I don’t really know how anyone has managed to keep going! I think I’ve kept going because I have to. I love what I do, I love what I’m building and I love being able to share that with people. So I guess that’s it, I have kept going because I have to keep going.

What would you say the last year has taught you? It’s taught me more about what I want, what I need and how I want to go on. I don’t want the world to open up and we all go back to doing the same old sh*t that never worked anyway. It’s definitely taught me more about what type of Leader I aim to be. I want my work to be representative of the world I live in, to be honest and to be accessible as standard.

By Emma Clarendon

Black In Power’ will be available weekly on all streaming platforms from February 23rd.