Chanje Kunda is a poet, playwright and performance artist. Her work explores 21st century life, and aims to use art as a tool to transform lives, shift consciousness and also bring joy to an otherwise serious and stressful modern existence. She predominantly works as a solo artist in performance, across the literary, theatrical and live art sectors.
She tours nationally and internationally. Poetry performance highlights include features at The Royal Albert Hall, London and the Calabash Literature Festival, Jamaica. During a 12 month artist residency in the Netherlands, she performed at festivals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen. Her poetry has also been published in literary magazine anthologies. She had a solo collection entitled ‘Amsterdam’ published by Crocus books.
As a performance artist she has presented work nationally and internationally, including at the Southbank, London 2016, The National Arts Festival of South Africa 2016, and the Harare International Festival of Arts, Zimbabwe 2017. Solo theatre productions to date are ‘Blue Black Sister’ 2009 (Royal Exchange Theatre), ‘Amsterdam’ 2014 (Contact Theatre Commission), Superposition 2017 (The Lowry commission) and Plant Fetish (Home Mcr commission) 2019. Other international representation includes selection by the British Council for IETM conferences in Romania 2017 and Croatia 2019.
In addition to her live performance work, Chanje has produced films for a variety of commissioners including short film ‘Physics’ for BBC Verb New Voices (2015), ‘I Can’t Breathe’ for Word of Warning (2016). In 2020 Chanje has had creative commissions for short films: ‘Kintsugi Gold’ for the DadaFest International Festival, ‘Toilet Roll Gate Retrospective’ for Manchester International Festival and ‘Victory is Yours’ for the Imperial War Museum.
Her most recents shows arose out of Divergency experiments:
What are the real laws of attraction?
Unlikely bed-fellows quantum mechanics, existentialism and erotic dance combine in this celebration of female sensuality from a feminist perspective.
“People assume that people lap-dance just because they really need the money and have no other options, through circumstance or education. So, as quite a bookish, published poet, why on earth did I decide to do a lap-dancing course? The truth is I absolutely fell in love with it as a performance style and means of self-expression. This led me to think about my body as a black woman and how I can find ways of exploring the ownership of it, and I came up with the central question of ‘how is a black woman’s sex like quantum mechanics and existentialism?’ This is my attempt to answer it…”
Writer + performer: Chanje Kunda | Performance Development: Benji Reid | Dramaturge: Malika Booker | Movement Consultant: Fay Warne
Developed as a Divergency micro-commission with support from hÅb + STUN (Sustained Theatre Up North). Commissioned by Contact, hÅb + STUN. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Chanje was suffering with stress and anxiety when she first discovered that plants soothe the soul. She then learnt that some women in Mexico, fed up with men, were getting married to trees. Trees aren’t very talkative, but they are tall, do great things for the planet, and are renowned for their wood. Chanje was inspired and surrendered to this notion. She fell in love with plants. The pressures of life drifted away.
We are forever comparing our lives to those of others on social media and the superficial numbers game that is dating via onlineapps. Plant Fetish will inspire you to embrace foliage over FOMO!
This show maps her journey, and features a harem of stunning tropical plants that dress the stage. There will be music and movement, dramatic narrative and metaphors of growth and renewal. The show ends on a climax….
Commissioned by Slate, in collaboration with Eclipse Theatre, HOME, Arc Stockton. Funded by Arts Council of England. Written and performed by Chanje Kunda, Directed by Darren Pritchard, Set Design by Kat Hale, Lighting Design by Nigel Edwards, Costume Design by Sidnie Couture, Produced by SwitchFlicker Productions.