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 fourteen years as a writer, artistic collaborator and performer, all driven by a passion for telling stories and sparking others to do the same.
He began as a Spoken Word artist, and has worked alongside Akram Khan (Script co-writer on Olivier award winning Desh, 2011), RSC where he directed the Sound & Fury project and had sell-out runs at the Southbank Centre (If I Cover My Nose You Can’t See Me, 2008), BAC (RETURN, 2009) and 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 set up and ran The Roundhouse Poetry Collective between 2009-2013 and has been a writer in residence for First Story since 2014.
He cites the lack of façade and ingrained perceptions, sense of possibility and truth in young people that makes performance with them ‘feel grounded and real, yet completely charged with the potential for 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’. His concern is setting an example of mining our own lives and the stories in them to create new work that represents humans that never saw themselves on stages.
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, touring nationally twice and currently on its fifth year of international touring.
Following on from this, Steven developed ‘DARK CORNERS’ a new interactive storytelling piece for 12+ year olds, developing his unique, messy storytelling style to spin a tale of risk, love and the creative mind.
Steven’s resume includes ‘Turfed’ (2014 Lift Festival) which he co-wrote as part of the artistic team, writing young adult novels for HarperCollins; ‘Tape’ (2014), ‘It’s about Love’ (2015) and Nobody Real (2018) and writing two stage plays, the coming-of-age story ‘Back Down’ (2015) and powerful family drama ‘I Knew You’ (2017) at Birmingham REP, both of which toured nationally before runs at London’s RoundHouse.
Steven’s first collection of spoken word poems ‘Everything All At Once’ (2018) has been nominated for the prestigious CILIP Carnegie medal and he is developing a new theatre piece for teenagers with BAC, Unicorn and Birmingham REP that will tour schools in 2019.