Children's Theatre supported by the Lionel Bart Foundation - Shortlisted 2016
When Steven Camden (aka Polarbear) was a boy, he was told that ‘a lie is selfish, a story is a gift’. This premise has provided the basis for his work over the past ten years as a writer, artistic collaborator and performer, all driven by a passion for telling stories. He began as a Spoken Word artist, and has worked alongside Akram Khan (Desh, 2011) and had sell-out runs at the Roundhouse (Old Me, 2011).
Steven is currently one of Battersea Art Centre’s resident artists where he is leading projects with the Young People’s Theatre group. He cites the lack of façade and ingrained perceptions and behaviour in children and young adults that makes performance with them ‘feel at once grounded and real, yet completely charged with the potential for a sense of genuine magic’.
His work has been informed by extensive research in schools and he ‘is not interested in teaching lessons or imparting morals in the way that a lot of ‘children’s theatre’ seeks to do’. In 2013 he developed the interactive theatre piece for 8-12 year olds, ‘Mouth Open Story Jump Out’, which he intended as ‘a big messy inspiring sixty minutes that sparks ideas and enjoyment in the craft of creating characters and pouring ourselves into them’. The show sold out runs at BAC, Unicorn Theatre and The Ark in Dublin, going on to tour nationally and overseas in Australia.
Steven’s resume includes ‘Turfed’ (2014 Lift Festival) which he co-wrote as part of the artistic team, writing two young adult novels ‘Tape’ (2014) and ‘It’s about Love’ (2015) and writing his first stage play, the coming-of-age story ‘Back Down ‘ at Birmingham REP, which toured nationally before a run at the Round House in May 2015.
If he won the award Steven would use the opportunity to further develop his research into theatre for teenagers, exploring inclusive and entertaining education for all.