Shades Of Blue
The revolution cannot be televised. Shades of Blue is a work that beats to the tune of change, lasting change, systematic change through the means of a potent mix of dance, poetry, theatre and music where performance and protest clash, flirt and mould.
Conceived by artistic brothers Kel and Anthony Matsena, Shades of Blue is a work crafted for our times. Performed by a cast of nine performers, the work traverses through thunderous choreography, quivering text and a slick but trembling score that will not only make the audience rethink their position in society but celebrate a stronger future which we all have a part in moulding.
Shades of Blue was Highlighted in the Guardian’s Best Dance of 2021 -
New York Times -
“The chaotic repetitions of protest and imprisonment capture an emotion of 2020 better than anything else” -Brian Seibert
“The standout is Shades of Blue, by Anthony and Kel Matsena” - Sarah Crompton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“It is political, but it is also so incredibly eloquent” - David Mead
“These two young writer/performer/choreographers bring striking imagery, legible ideas, political bite and effective staging. They’re ones to watch” - Lyndsey Winship ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Shades Of Blue - Studio Trailer
This trailer was filmed during a week-long R&D in Swansea where we explored the ideas expressed in the 15 minute excerpt. Supported through our Research in Wakefield by ACE and Welsh partners (RCC, Taliesin).
Are You Numb Yet
“Set in a post-pandemic world where a young man, ‘Dre’ feels he’s been left behind and everyone else in the world around him seems to have moved on. Stuck in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dre undergoes a series of nightmares that send him on a journey to find hope through his trauma”
For this film, we really wanted to explore the balance between poetic language and dance. We wanted the dancing to be part of the characters, not their occupation. We’ve found that characters in dance films are simply dancers which often can limit the possibilities of the storyline.
Matsena Brothers Documentary commissioned by BBC Arts and BBC Wales
Kel is a Co-Artistic Director of award-winning company ‘Matsena Productions’. He is a trained actor and writer who recently graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School after receiving offers from Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and London Contemporary Dance School. His great understanding of movement heavily influences his writing style and he continues to explore the relationship between movement and text through his work. As a writer he has written work for Sadler’s Wells, National Dance Company of Wales and the Bunker Theatre. His most recent work, a short film titled ‘Are You Numb Yet’ which he wrote and co-created won the 'International Infallible Award' for 'Best Show' of 2020’s digital Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ‘Are You Numb Yet’ has also been officially selected as one of the short films for Carmarthen Bay Film Festival.
One of Kel’s most recent creations with Matsena Productions is ‘Shades of Blue’ a theatre piece he wrote and choreographed alongside Anthony Matsena for BBC and Sadler’s Wells Dancing Nation. Shades of Blue received raving reviews from the New York Times and The Guardian for its direction, text and movement.
Kel was most recently selected as one of ten Springboard Bursary recipients by National Theatre Wales. The bursary will be used to help him create his play “The Lake” which will have the life and culture of Wales at its heart.
His latest feature-length film titled ‘Error Code 8:46’ was selected to be on the long-list of the 2021 One Dance UK Awards.
Kel’s work continues to be an outcry for joy and peace by confronting and commenting on society and offering answers to the inequalities and injustices we continue to see in our lives
Anthony is a Zimbabwean born and Welsh Raised choreographer, performer and director working between the mediums of dance, theatre, music and poetry. His work often is politically charged, hoping to make sense of his experience of being brought up in an Afrocentric house and having Eurocentric schooling. He has built a love and curiosity for telling stories that express themes of culture, race, change and belonging.
Anthony co-founded Matsena Productions (formerly Matsena Performance Theatre) with brother Kel in 2017 as a reaction to the lack of representation they were seeing in schools, on stage and screen. They both felt there were very few companies that made work around black stories while using their different skills in African dance, hip-hop, contemporary, rap, theatre and poetry.
Anthony’s break-out moment came as a Sadler’s Wells Young Associate in 2018, creating works for Lilian Baylis and Mainstage. Recent commissions are Sadler’s Wells, BBC, National Dance Company Wales, Jasmin Vardimon 2, Messums Wiltshire, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and CAPA College. He’s an associate artist with National Dance Company Wales and Messums Wiltshire. Anthony also sits on the board as a trustee for National Youth Arts Wales - chairing the Diversity and Inclusion Board for National Youth Dance Wales.
In 2021 Anthony is continuing work on his award-winning short film ‘Are You Numb Yet?’. A work telling the story of a black man dealing with the effects of 2 pandemics - COVID-19 and the global BLM movement. Blending and growing ideas from the short, he has created a work titled ‘Shades of Blue, which had its first public sharing through a commission by BBC and Sadler’s Wells.