Raised in Tottenham, North London, Zena Edwards has become known as one the most unique voices of performance poetry to come out of London. She was nominated for the Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry 2007 and won the Hidden Creatives Award 2012.
Zena has been involved in performance for 20 years – as a writer/poet performer, facilitator, creative project developer and vocalist after graduating from Middlesex University. She recently studied at The London International School for Performing Arts. She has written and performed three one woman shows Security – 2009, Travelling Light – 2011 and The Fury Project with a strong self devised education packages, which toured nationally and internationally with quality reviews and critical acclaim.
Zena has commissioned and written for the BBC 3 and BBC4, the Birmingham Rep, and is Associate Artist at the Albany, LondonPublished in the tribute anthology for Ken Saro-Wiwa, Dance the Guns to Silence and No Condition is Permanent (Platform London), and the script of her debut one woman show is published by Flipped Eye.
“A conscientious writer, dynamic performer and ground breaking artist.” Kwame Kwei-Armah – Playwright and Actor
“Edwards is a superb performer, equally at ease as an elderly Caribbean man, as a would-be teenage MC, Ayleen, or as a lonely 47-year-old Palestinian photographer, Mahmoud.” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
“Edwards’ one woman show ‘Security’ is an absolute tour de force about humanity that bonds us all” – Annemarie Kropf
“As a performer and writer, Zena Edwards takes storytelling into the twenty-first century.” – Pure Poetry
As a poet, Zena has travelled extensively round the UK, the US, Africa and Europe supported by the British Council, UK Arts International, Apples and Snakes Poetry Organisation, The Round House and 57 Productions. She has shared the stage and anthologies with some of her most admired predecessors Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, Lemn Sissay, Jean Binta Breeze and Roger McGough.
Zena is also Creative Director of ©V:iD - Verse In Dialog - a social enterprise produces creative projects with poetry and spoken word at its core.
Zena is a performance poet/musician and workshop leader. She works in schools and arts colleges across Europe, facilitating self-devised workshops in creative writing, performance poetry and singing.
Her workshops provide a platform for creative self-expression, encourage the development of style and originality, explore issues from contemporary and cultural polemics to personal and intimate experiences and provide performance skills for the developing performance poet who wishes to explore and improve their own creative flair.
Zena finds inspiration through personal experience and/or using external resources such as music and instruments, images, debate, the use of literary and multimedia materials (paintings, sculptures, photographs etc.) She also encourages children and adults to be confident about their performance, teaching them about rhythm, tone tension, release projection, dynamics and mic technique.
Engendered for all age groups, her workshops are devised to encourage the growth of inner creativity, thus empowering the student as they discover their own voice and how to use it creatively.