Jean Binta Breeze

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze is a writer and performer of international standing. She is an artist with a strong sense of place. She grew up in rural Jamaica and then lived and worked in Kingston, where she soon established herself as a key writer, performer and recording artist. Breeze was first known as a ‘Dub Poet’ and, like her brother poets and countrymen, the late Michael Smith and Oku Onuora, she studied at the Jamaican School of Drama. Performing her work in Jamaica, she met Linton Kwesi Johnson, who encouraged her to come to Britain. She has since performed her work worldwide – including tours of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Caribbean, North and South America, Europe, South East Asia and Africa. Her work reveals a generous and uncompromising vision, exploring a wide range of personal, social and political issues with a sublimely tuned lyrical sensibility. As an actress, dancer, choreographer and theatrical director, Jean brings all of her artistic experience to bear on her work as a poet. She has a striking stage presence, generating all the power and excitement of a full-blown theatrical performance.

Since appearing on the Channel 4 New Voices series in 1988, Jean’s work for television and in film has been in the different but sometimes combined capacities of poet, writer, actress & choreographer. Her work includes writing the original script and screenplay of the film Hallelujah Anyhow (screened by the British Film Institute as part of the British Film Festival 1990 & on BBC2) and contributions as writer and performer to the BBC Windrush Gala and Crucial Film’s Still Here series. In 1990 the Bandung File made the film-documentary on Jean’s work and life, Moods and Moments, for Channel 4. Jean is presently working on a newly commissioned filmscript entitled Brixton and is a creative consultant to the television film production of Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners .

Jean’s theatrical credits include the script of In and Out the Window and playing the lead in the Edgar White play Moon Dance Night, both for the Black Theatre Cooperative; plus the script of The Healing Touch for the Royal Court Theatre and the choreography of The Balmyard for the Double Edge Theatre Company. In 1993 Jean played the lead in the West End premier of Ntozake Shange’s play The Love Space Demands. The Irie Dance Company staged Jean’s poetry in a new production entitled Rude Girls. In 2001 Jean appeared in the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of Carnival Messiah. She has also recently appeared in the Talawa Theatre Company’s production of The Prayer at the Young Vic, London and One Love at The Lyric, Hammersmith.

As an educationalist Jean’s experience is extensive. She has led workshops in creative writing, performance and theatre studies. She has worked as a lecturer in Theatre Education for Brixton College and was the National Coordinator of the Literary Arts for the Jamaican Cultural Development Commission. Jean is also a member of the editorial board of Critical Quarterly.

57 Productions

Recordings
Riding on de Riddym
57 Productions, 1994
Hearsay
57 Productions, 1994
Tracks
LKJ Records, 1991
Ravings
Roir Records, 1987
Women Talk
Heatbeat, 1986
Publications
The Arrival of Brighteye
Bloodaxe, 2000
On the Edge of an Island
Bloodaxe Books, 2000 & 1997
Spring Cleaning
Virago, 1992
Ryddim Ravings
Race Today, 1988
Answers
Masani Publications, 1983