Socialist Worker

Kate Tempest: mixing high art, hip-hop, mythology and reality

Issue No. 2320

Kate Tempest holds up a mirror to urban life (Pic: Katherine Leedale)

Kate Tempest holds up a mirror to urban life (Pic: Katherine Leedale)

Kate Tempest’s “Brand New Ancients” is a beautifully vivid set of stories about working class life. It’s woven out of all the sorrow, suffering, joy, humiliation and humour that comes with it.

With a distinctive style of spoken word, Kate celebrates of the trials and tumults of her characters. They demolish the stereotypes of the working class.

Simple, effective lighting and resonating crescendos from Kate’s classical musicians help deliver a strong emotional impact, as she explores complex relationships against the political backdrop of urban Britain. Themes of alienation and women’s oppression feature strongly.

Kate skillfully juxtaposes her characters’ internal emotions and thoughts with their comparatively short and inelegant—though humorous—dialogue. She shows the inner depths and capability for heroism behind appearances.

It’s a mix of high art and hip hop, mythology and urban reality. Kate holds up a mirror to the lives of ordinary people, with all our imperfections, and tells us we’re capable of great things.

Francesca Manning

Brand New Ancients is on at the Battersea Arts Centre until 22 September. Go to or

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 11 Sep 2012, 15:58 BST
Issue No. 2320
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.