Leo Kay

A performance and spoken-word theatre practitioner who writes, performs, teaches, directs and choreographs, for theatre companies, colleges and community groups.

Leo creates and produces experimental theatre for his company madrugada.

Independent Production
Scripted, choreographed and performed by Leo Kay

It’s Like He’s Knocking
Sharings, May 2009
A biographical, text-based, physical performance set in the intimacy of a Balham bedsit. Leo weaves the stories of 3 generations of men exploring heritage and ancestral healing, mental health and the serendipity of co-incidence.
Percussion by Pedro Lima, Script Mentored by Polar Bear, Dramaturgy by Phillip McKenzie, Produced by Sarah Sanson ( Time Wont Wait ), Written, Devised & Performed by Leo Kay, Supported by A.C.E, The Albany, Redbridge Drama Centre, South Street Arts Centre.
Mr Sole Abode
March & May 2008
Fusing text and physical performance this show tells the story of self proclaimed architect Mr Sole Abode. Unable to function under strain of contemporary material society he seeks refuge… in a fridge.
Conceived & Performed by Leo Kay, Set Design by Gavin Glover ( Faulty Optic ), Sound Design by Dan Steele, Written by Leo Kay and Benji Reid, Directed by Benji Reid ( Breaking Cycles ), Supported by The Weekend Arts College, Contact Theatre, Arts Council England.
A Geographic
Oval House Theatre & Battersea Arts Centre, 2004
A Geographic is a study of passion and compulsion. A journey into the realm of the myth maker, this piece explores the motives that drive us forward and away from stability.
Conceived, Devised, Choreographed & Performed by Leo Kay, Music Composed by Marc Brown (Smoke City, KV5), Co Directed by Ron Bunzl (Cloud Chamber, Voices of the City).
UK Tour, 2001–2003
A dance theatre solo.
Music composed by Marc Brown & Sam Thomas, Directed by R. Bunzl. Performed at Resolutions at The Place, The Almeida Dance Festival, The Big Party.

Productions performed, acted or narrated by Leo

In Blood: The Bacchae
The Arcola Theatre, Jan 2009
Euripides’ Greek tragedy set in 1920’s Salvador, Brazil telling the tale of Bisouro Preto the feared and revered outlaw Capoeirista. See the video trailer.
Gordilho played by Greg Hicks, Percussion by Pedro Lima, Capoeira Coach Mestre Carlão, Written by Frances Viner, Directed by Noah Birksted-Breen.
Hungry Ghosts
UK & International Tour, Jan 2009
Inspired by the events of the Moscow theatre siege, this piece explores the lives of those unlucky ones who decided to go to the theatre the night it was hijacked.
Produced by Lost Dog Dance, Choreographed by Ben Duke & Raquel Meseguer.
Mr Sole Abode
March & May 2008
Fusing text and physical performance this show tells the story of self proclaimed architect Mr Sole Abode. Unable to function under strain of contemporary material society he seeks refuge… in a fridge.
Conceived & Performed by Leo Kay, Set Design by Gavin Glover ( Faulty Optic ), Sound Design by Dan Steele, Written by Leo Kay and Benji Reid, Directed by Benji Reid ( Breaking Cycles ), Supported by The Weekend Arts College, Contact Theatre, Arts Council England.
The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
The Barbican & The Queen Elizabeth Hall, May 20–21, 2007
The Royal Festival Hall, 2003–2004
A radical reshaping of this classic Benjamin Briton composition performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Narrated by Leo Kay, Co-devised by Eugene Skeef and Leo Kay, Directed by Eugene Skeef.
Voices of The City
The Sugar Factory, Amsterdam 2005 & 2006
An international research and performance project.
Devised & Performed by Leo Kay, Directed by Ron Bunzl.
The Ballad
Aye Productions, 2005
An aerial two-hander performance.
Performed by Leo Kay, Directed by Johnathan Campbell.
His Dark Materials
The Royal National Theatre, 2004–2005
A theatre adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy.
The Golden Monkey played by Leo Kay, Directed by Nick Hytner.
The Royal National Theatre & Piccadilly Theatre, 2003–2004
Tom Stoppard’s satirical take on philosophy set in an alternate reality where British astronauts have landed on the moon.
Professor McFee played by Leo Kay.
The Royal Festival Hall, 2003
A homage to Charlie Chaplin.
Charlie Chaplin played by Leo Kay, Music by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Directed by Jonathan Campbell.
Go Behind
Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Zurich, 2000–2003
Actor and dancer in an contemporary dance theatre production toured in Nov/Dec 2002 and performed at the 2003 Berne festival.
Produced by Giselle Rocha Company.
Stop & A Geographic
The Oval House, Hampstead Town Hall
Almada Festival, Portugal
October Fest BAC, London 2004
Two dance theatre solos.
Created & Performed by Leo kay, Music Composed by Marc Brown & Sam Thomas, Directed by Ron Bunzl.
Come Midnight I’m Gone
UK & Belgium, 2001
A two-hander inspired by the film Midnight Cowboy.
Performed by Jake Aldershaw & Leo Kay, Live Music by COEM, Mentored by Wendy Houston ( DV8 ).
Dubai, 2001
Actor and dancer in a dance circus theatre production directed by Philip Mackenzie of Man Act Theatre and Cardiff Laboratory Theatre.
Kaos Theatre
Core company member and teacher. Performing in all major productions over this period including Mephistopheles in Faustus, Behemouth in The Master and Margarita, Ferdinand and Trinculo in The Tempest and Caligula in Caligula.
Watermans Arts Centre, 1998
Stage of Blood with Theatre Laboratory of Manipur.
Rules of Engagement
ITV Drama, 1989
Sean Guilespi in a 4-part ITV TV Drama with Karl Johnston, Kenneth Kranam and Kathy Tyson.
Radio 4, 1988
Young Tutenkhamun in a 2-part radio drama for BBC Radio 4.
Terry on the Fence
Radio 4, 1987
Terry in a 4-part BBC Radio 4 drama adaptation of Bernard Ashley’s childrens’ novel.

Direction, Choreography & Movement Direction
Productions directed and/or choreographed by Leo.

The Decibel Showcase, Sept 2009
Birmingham Rep, 2008
A missing phone, a pirate radio station and some special digits that unlock the key to a fierce lyrical battle. The Decypher Collective recontextualise grime in a hip hop theatre production first performed at the Birmingham Base Festival.
Emcees: Daps, Deci4life, Evoke, GT, LCB, RT, Mentored by Polar Bear, Coordinated by Charlie Dark, Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay, Commissioned by Punch Records and The Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Hackney Empire, July–Aug 2008,
April–July 2007
A tale about a down-and-out boxer forced to take a dive. Set in a boxing ring, a song cycle by a 9 piece junk band and 4 aerial performers ensues.
Written by Glyn Cannon, Music Directed by James Fortune, Movement Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay
Voices of Dissent
Contact Theatre, April 2008
An anarchic, dynamic, bicycle-powered solo show mixing hip hop influenced spoken word poetry, drama and renewable energy.
Written & Performed by Ben Mellor, Produced by Ric Watts, Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay.
I Hear Voices
Contact Theatre, Feb 20–23, 2008
Kendal Live Literary Festival, 2006
A bold move into that exciting area where performance, poetry, spoken word and street music fuse to create something wholly new.
Performed by Samira Arhin-Acquaah, Ben Mellor, Martin Stannage, Sounds by Jason Singh, Sound Design by Dan Steel, Directed by Shabina Aslam, Co Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay, Commissioned by Contact Theatre.
Liaison (Come With Me)
Bernie Grant Centre
Jan 25–26, 2008
A reinvention of site-responsive performance, Liaison is an electrifying mix of touching humanity, intimate storytelling and charged lyricism. The performance takes the visitor on a journey into unseen space.
Devised by NEW ZOO, Dramaturgy by Polar Bear, Directed by Leo Kay.
Speakers’ Corner
UK Tour Autumn 2007
Speakers’ Corner seeks a response to the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. A collage exploring the black British relationship to enslavement and emancipation asking whether we have moved on so far from the days of slavery and the middle passage.
Presented by Don Letts, Produced by Amanda Roberts, Directed by Leo Kay, Commissioned by CNM, The Albany, Birmingham Rep.
Savage / Love
Sherman Cymru, Cardiff, Aug 15–25, 2006
An experimental theatre piece working with Cardiff’s Sherman Youth Theatre.
Written by Sam Shepard & Joseph Chaikin, Assistant Director Leo Kay, Directed by Phillip Mackenzie.
Contact Theatre, Manchester, 2005
Richard Gregory: I deliberately put together a collection of people who apparently had little in common, and tried to explore what connects us and what divides us.
Produced by Quarantine Theatre, Movement Direction by Leo Kay, Directed by Richard Gregory.
Weeding Cane
The Green Rooms, Manchester, 2003
The story of a young girl’s experience of isolation and reunion. This play is inspired by the experiences of a generation of children and parents who were separated – by geography and life experience – by migration from the Caribbean to England.
Directed by Leo Kay (first manifestation), Written by Sonia Hughes.
Contacting The World Festival, Manchester, 2002
A Commonwealth collaboration with Kattaikkuttu Sangam Kancheepuram of India as part of a wide cultural programme for the XVII Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Performed by Kattaikkuttu Sangam, Written by Sonia Hughes, Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay.
Vila Danca Company, Salvador, Brazil, 2002
A contemporary dance production.
Choreographed by Leo Kay, Directed by Cristina Castro.
Extraordinary Ways to Love
Salvador, Brazil, 2001
Meran Vargens won best actress award at Bahia Applaud for her performance in this one-woman show.
Performed by Meran Vargens, Co Directed by Leo Kay.
London, 2001
A one-man aerial show.
Devised & Performed by Jamie Quarell ( Archaos ), Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay.
Beyond Words
Espaco X Theatre, Salvador, Brazil , 2000
A dance theatre production based on ‘Two Words’ by Isabel Allende and ‘Birds of Heaven’ by Ben Okri.
Directed & Choreographed by Leo Kay.

Educational Practice
Teaching & Mentorship

Leo has experience in working with special needs groups, youths on the verge of exclusion, students of performance, professional dancers, actors and physical theatre performers. He has taught in Brazil, India, France, Taiwan, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and England.

Pressure Drop
Junction Theatre Cambridge, 2008–2009
The modern experience of ‘being young’ is, to the onlooker, defined by a barrage of clichés, stereotypes and assumptions… Impossible aspirations of wealth and stardom are represented as normality within our own culture. But, as they aspire towards these dreams, young people balance on a precarious tightrope between success or failure!
Mentored by Leo Kay, Produced by Dance Offensive, Directed by Paul Sadot.
London, Birmingham & Manchester, 2006–2009
Masterclasses and workshops with emcees, spoken-word artists and writers. Identifying key areas in the creative process such as direction, choreography, staging, physical and vocal articulation.
Capoeira Workshops
Capoeira Norte & Urban Expansions, 2004–2006
Assistant role on various capoeira workshops including a residency with Vim Vanderkeybus’s Ultima Vez in Brussles.
Kaos Theatre
Physical performance workshops as a core member of Kaos theatre in England, Ireland, Taiwan and Australia.
Experimental Theatre Workshops
Physical and experimental theatre workshops for companies and organizations in England and further afield including extensive educational contact with the artistic community in Salvador, Brazil.

Skills & Training

Taught by Mestre Joao Piquenho and Contra Mestre Boca do Rio of with Capoeira Norte Salvador Brazil, 1999–2007. Leo has Fluent Brazilian Portuguese.
Mime & Clowning
Taught by Zina Dilke (1986–89), David Glass (1994), John Wright (1997–1998), Commotion T.C. (1995–96), Theatre De Complicite (1996), Philippe Gaulier (1997), Andre Casaca (1999), Angela De Castro (2001). Leo also has accomplished tumbling and acrobatic skills.
Performance Skills Training
Weekend Arts College, London 1984 to 1989. Classes with Eugene Skeef, Nigel Charnock, Michelle Stott, Nelson Fernandez, Zeena Dilke, Celia Greenwood.