A very warm welcome to our newest trustee, writer, performance artist and producer, Keisha Thompson FRSA, who joins OMF’s Board from Contact Theatre.
Keisha Thompson is the first Black woman, first Mancunian and the youngest CEO to run Contact Theatre in Manchester. Keisha first performed as an artist at Contact aged 15. She was supported through Contact’s engagement programme as a young poet, writer and performance artist and in 2015 became part of the core staff team after being nudged by a fellow staff member to see herself as a producer.
Since then, Keisha's work has been presented at venues including the Tate Modern, Blue Dot Festival and the British Council Showcase in Edinburgh, and she has supported artists such as Kae Tempest, Hollie McNish, The Last Poets, Saul Williams and Amiri Baraka.
A seasoned musician, Keisha brings passion and a wealth of expertise as both a multi-disciplinary artist and leader of a thriving youth-led theatre – as well as lived experience of the power (and responsibility) of arts organisations to support young people to take their place as the artists and leaders of the future.
Keisha said: “I am ecstatic to join the board. OMF does wonderful work so it is an honour to be part of supporting it at this level. I cannot wait to meet the rest of the trustees.”
Jo Yee Cheung, Chief Executive at Olympias Music Foundation said: “Less than a mile away from Longsight, our neighbours at Contact Theatre are a shining example of what happens when arts organisations embed their work within the community and commit for the long haul. I am absolutely delighted that Keisha has joined OMF’s Board and look forward to working with her as part of OMF’s Board to shape OMF’s vision for music education in Manchester”.
Keisha is Artistic Director and CEO of Contact theatre, Manchester, Chair of radical arts funding body, Future’s Venture Foundation, an ITC board member and recipient of The Arts Foundation Theatre Makers Award 2021.
Recent works include children’s show, Issy, BOSSS & Fractal, commissioned by Fuel Theatre and directed by Alan Lane (Slung Low); The Bell Curves supported by Eclipse, York Theatre Royal and Pilot, an all-female show that clashes science and culture by looking at the medical ethics linked to CRISPR-Cas9 technology; and 14% supported by Talawa Firsts, an immersive theatre piece looking DNA tests and structural racism particularly within the context British football culture.
Keisha's first musical memory “Strangely, my earliest memory seems to be age 5, singing Whitney Houston in the living room with my family. They used to encourage me to sing and dance a lot.”
For more information about Keisha Thompson and Contact Theatre, visit https://contactmcr.com/.