Kemp's father, a seaman, was lost at sea in 1940. According to Kemp, he danced from early childhood: "I'd dance on the kitchen table to entertain the neighbours. I mean, it was a novelty in South Shields to see a little boy in full make-up dancing on pointe. Finally it got a bit too much for my mother, and she decided to send me to boarding school at the age of eight, hoping that it would knock some sense into me."
Kemp's mother moved away from South Shields, and Kemp attended Bearwood College, near Wokingham, a school for the sons of merchant seaman. He and his mother later moved to Bradford, Yorkshire where Kemp attended Bradford Art College before studying dance with Hilde Holger and mime with Marcel Marceau. He played the Player Queen in the BBC's Shakespeare Quatercentenary production of Hamlet filmed at Elsinore castle in 1963, and starring Christopher Plummer.
His stage performances include Pierrot In Turquoise, Flowers, Salome, Mr Punch's Pantomime, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Duende, Nijinskij, Alice, Cenerentola (Cinderella), Sogno di Nijinscky or Nijinscky il matto (1983) (translation: Nijinscky's dream or Nijinscky the mad) Facade, The Big Parade, Alice, Onnagata, Cinderella, Varieté, Dream Dances, and, for Ballet Rambert, Parades Gone By (1975) and Cruel Garden (1977). He staged and performed in David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust concerts at London's Rainbow Theatre in August 1972, and, with Jack Birkett (see below), appears in the promotional video for Bowie's single "John, I'm Only Dancing" (dir. Mick Rock). Kemp’s film roles include a supporting role in the Kate Bush short film The Line, the Cross & the Curve (1994), a dancer and cabaret performer in Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane (1976) and Jubilee (1977) respectively, a pantomime dame in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (1998) and the pub landlord Alder MacGregor in Anthony Shaffer's The Wicker Man (1973).
During the early 1970s, Kemp was a popular and inspirational teacher of dance/mime.
- The Vampire Lovers (1970), as Jester
- Savage Messiah (1972), as Angus Corky
- The Wicker Man (1973), as Alder MacGregor
- The Stud (1974), as Topstar
- Sebastiane (1976), as Dancer
- Jubilee (1977), as Cabaret performer
- Valentino (1977), as Mortician 
- A Midsummer Night's Dream for TV (1985), as Puck
- Cartoline italiane (Italian Postcards) (1987)
- The Line, the Cross & the Curve (1993), as 'Guide'
- Velvet Goldmine (1998), as Pantomime Dame
- Guest appearances in Spanish TV show La Mandrágora in 2005 and 2006
- British Film Institute entry for Lindsay Kemp, accessed 21 January 2014.
- "Lindsay Kemp - About This Person". New York Times. 2012-04-29. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- ""L’uccello di fuoco"". nonsolocinema.com (in Italian). 2009-03-02. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Smith, Rupert (2002-01-30). "Lindsay Kemp talks to Rupert Smith about his outrageous career". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2012. "'I first danced Salome in school, naked but for some toilet paper' ... influenced David Bowie, and thus influenced every pop musician with the possible exception of ... respect for this 63-year-old dancer-mime-actor-choreographer-director has reached critical mass"
- Dillard, Brian J. (2011-03-25). "Kate Bush: Live at Hammersmith Odeon (1979)". New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2012. "studied with David Bowie mentor Lindsay Kemp"
- Brown, Mick (September 1974). "Lindsay Kemp: The Man Who Taught Bowie His Moves". Crawdaddy!. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- "Lindsay Kemp Company The Big Parade". attraversolospettacolo (in Italian). Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Gallagher, Paul (2011-02-10). "Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance". Retrieved 29 April 2012. "Sebastiane and Jubilee; and in Ken Russell’s The Devils and Savage Messiah, ... original version of The Wicker Man"
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Lindsay Kemp|
- Lindsay Kemp at the Internet Movie Database
- Lindsay Kemp at the Internet Broadway Database
- Review 2007
- Informational site run by Yukihiko Yoshida, with a list of works