Currently Based: London
WHO AM I?
Kayla Martell Feldman. I am American, British, Jewish, bookish, atheist, feminist, cubist (not really), sober, Queer, neurodivergent (still figuring it out), and the youngest child of anywhere between three and nine children depending on who you ask. It is my life goal to hike every trail in Rocky Mountain National Park before I'm 60.
What am i?
I am a freelance writer and director for stage and screen, represented by Jennifer Thomas at United Agents, and an acting tutor at Identity School of Acting and Mountview. I am a founding member of Sovereign Writers Group, and in 2021 I published my debut poetry collection, TIKVA. I like telling ordinary stories in extraordinary ways, and extraordinary stories in ordinary ways.
In the past I was a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director for Snapper Theatre, an Associate Producer for Maiden Speech Festival, a literary associate for Abingdon Theatre Company in New York, a theatre scout for Theatre503, and a script reader for Hampstead Theatre. I have taught acting and collaborative theatre making at Stagecoach Stoke Newington and Savi Arts. I was a Genesis Poetry Slam winner in 2017, and have had work commissioned by JW3, Canada Water Theatre, Holbeck Underground Ballroom, and Vashti Media. I have featured regularly at Spoken Word London, Extra Second London, Pussy Liquor, and Homos and Houmous, and was invited to take part in the 2020 Roundhouse Poetry Weekender led by Bridget Minamore and Cecilia Knapp. I have taught spoken word poetry workshops at the Leeds chapter of JLGB and at Limmud Conference, and had work published in Derailleur Press's The Rail and Popshot Quarterly.
WHERE AM I?
Currently, I'm in London, UK, but thanks to modern technology I teach all over the world, with students everywhere from Spain and Germany to Ghana and Nigeria.
In the past, I have lived in Maryland, Leeds, Montreal, and New York, and I would love, love, love, to return to all of these places to live/work.
I would really love to live and work in Manchester, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Chicago, Austin TX, and Los Angeles CA.
WHY am i?
Why am I a director? Because in 2011 I saw a production of King Lear at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Michael Grandage, and I thought: that. I want to do that. I didn't know what that was, but I went to the University of Leeds and studied BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance (International) to figure it out, and decided I wanted to direct for stage. Then I went to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and did an MA in Theatre Directing. While I was there, I also did the Shakespeare's Globe Directing Studio, and after I left, I took part in Directors Lab North, an international exchange for directors at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.
Why am I a writer? I write because I know of no other way to exist in the world other than as a writer. For decades, I wrote only for myself, reluctant to put forward my work for publication or paid performance because I wanted to keep my career and my art separate. As a director, I can channel my creativity into serving the beautiful words of others, but up until 2017, had never put my own before a paying audience. I write because I struggle to vocalize my experiences and investigations in any other way than letting words flow uninhibited onto a page. I write better than I speak because there are adjectives and metaphors that I don't know how to express until I write them down. It is the only way I know how to communicate effectively, to vomit language onto a page before crafting it into something coherent, cohesive, and comprehendible. Because people pay attention to an alliterative rule of three. I started writing for myself, when I was five. I continue to write because what I say matters to others. When I wrote HEAR ME OUT, about my struggles with weight, womanhood, and sexual assault prior to the #MeToo movement, I wrote for myself but to other women whose words have been swallowed or suppressed or sliced out of them. When I wrote CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP, about my experiences with OCD, I framed it in a way that made me feel less insane, but made others feel understood. When I wrote about forgiveness in WATCHDOG, I found kinship in the characters who were grieving as I have grieved my entire life, and when that play finds a home on stage, I will be speaking to those who have lost as I have. In my latest play, ANTHEM, written in the lonely and devastating throes of a global disaster, I have been careful not to write a "pandemic play", because loneliness is interminable. People were lonely before, people will be lonely after, and this play speaks to them. To connection. To contact. To the crevasses that keep us apart, of which this pandemic is only one. I write to understand. To ask questions without answering them, but coming away from the story or poem or essay understanding more about questions to which perhaps I will never know the answer. To find more questions, to investigate, interrogate, analyze, assassinate, explore, build, and above all, to feel and to learn.
Why am I here? Evolution. Science. The Big Bang. In other words: no idea.
Why am I still here? Because of the NHS, Industry Minds, fluoxetine, quetiapine, vitamin D, and an incredible support network of friends, colleagues, and family, both born and chosen.
WHEN AM I?