Photo: Yael Shavit
Femi Keeling is a British Caribbean playwright and theatre maker born in London, and based in Surrey.
Femi started her career performing flash fiction on London's spoken word scene before becoming the Dickens 2012 Young Writer in Residence in February 2012.
The Achalasia Diaries, a documentary about the development of Femi’s chronic illness and her decision to pursue her writing career, aired on BBC Radio 4 in June 2015 and was a selected BBC Radio 4 Highlight of the Week. Femi went on to host the BBC Radio 4 podcast, Seriously, from February to October 2016.
Femi’s solo theatre show, How to Die of a Broken Heart, was developed with support from Battersea Arts Centre and Talawa Theatre Company. Written and performed by Femi, and directed by Jerwood Directors Award recipient Yael Shavit, How to Die of a Broken Heart toured various theatres across the UK, including Brighton Dome, Oxford Playhouse, and Soho Theatre.
Her first full length play, I Am Not There, was developed with support from Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre, and The Carne Trust. A rehearsed reading of the play was featured at the Talawa Firsts Festival in June 2017. She is currently writing her second play, Ol' People Place (working title). Her short plays have been staged at Soho Theatre, Theatre 503, Orange Tree Theatre, and Redgates Theatre (Gateways). Commissioned by Cardboard Citizens, her forum theatre piece Rising toured prisons and hostels in 2018, and enjoyed a special performance at City Hall.
In addition to her writing, Femi also works as a voice over artist and is signed to agency Another Tongue. Femi believes in the transformative power of the arts in criminal justice settings and sits on the Board of Koestler Arts.
*Femi married and became Keeling in September 2017; all work before this time was created as Femi Martin.
Photo: Naomi Woddis
the achalasia diaries
Femi describes how she found fulfilment as a writer and performer as a result of a chronic illness, and how her despair has turned to happiness.
A BBC Radio 4 documentary.
i am not there
Femi's short play, I Am Not There, featured at NitroBEAT Bites at Soho Theatre in June 2016. The play tells the story of Nia, a young woman who discovers she has terminal cancer.
Femi's full length play of the same name, inspired by the short, was developed with support from Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre, and The Carne Trust.