‘OUT’ is collaboration between theatre maker and writer; Rachael Young and choreographer and dance artist; Dwayne Antony. We are two artists of colour from Jamaican heritage. We decided to collaborate to create a space to recall and examine our own experiences of the stigmas associated to queerness and gender conformity within the black community.
“Males and females are put into boxes of expectation when we are born. As we grow we start to realize the damages that those expectations cause to our spiritual and emotional understanding of ourselves and life”.
The piece examines and challenges ideas that we have been indoctrinated with throughout our Caribbean upbringings, exploring the sense of shame that has felt ever present. It comments on the tightrope we have to tread and unpacks the multitude of pressures and repressions surrounding the experience of upholding a family’s social standing.
How 'typical' is this work compared to other pieces that you have made? Did the process follow a familiar or new pattern?
‘OUT’ is the first time that Dwayne and myself have worked together. It has provided a real opportunity for us to share our practices with each other, whilst creating a new piece which feels like it comes from both of us. The process has followed a different pattern for me, in that much of the work I’ve been making recently has been text driven and in this piece I don’t speak at all, so the process has been a much more about developing a physical and visual dramaturgy.
It is vital to us both as makers to be constantly conscious of the authenticity of what it is we were striving to say.
Buzzcut is concerned with the idea of 'community'. Does community have a special meaning for you, and what relationship do you feel your work has within wider communities?
The idea community is a double edged sword, it can feel like an affectionate hug and a mighty bitch slap, often at the same time; loving and understanding with a huge sense of camaraderie and kinship. However in order to have that everlasting feeling one must, toe the line, act right and remember not to bring shame to the family door.
Whilst making the piece we discussed a topic very similar, we called it the “Black Mantra”. A mantra of long-lasting words and phrases we both recall hearing growing up. I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, how much of the black mantra was/is good for shaping us into good well-mannered people? And how that mantra we grew up hearing so much, stopped us feeling free enough to know truly who we are and most importantly become the versions of ourselves that we feel most connected to.
What are you hoping that the audience will experience?
I hope the audience come with an open heart and mind and experience the notion of questioning and recalling, which we bring to the space. You will see two stories running simultaneously in the space that exploring how we reappropriate our own culture so that its fits who we are.
Rachael Young is a writer, theatre maker, artist and performer. Her practice includes solo contemporary theatre, interactive installations and socially engaged participatory projects. Her work is playful, experimental and often autobiographical. It seeks to represent voices that are often unheard in the arts and engage with audiences to explore new collective voices and participatory forms of expression. Concerned with the way we navigate the world as women and specifically black women, her work subtly questions societal norms, aiming to empower audiences to embrace and celebrate who they are.
In 2013 Rachael became a ‘Breakthrough Artist’ at Curve, Leicester and then in 2014 she received an annual BBC Performing Arts Fellowship, hosted by mac birmingham. These opportunities, coupled with support from Arts Council England and Ovalhouse have enabled Rachael to create I, Myself & Me.
Dwayne-Antony Simms is a dance artist and
choreographer. His artistic development has taken him through Europe to the United States and Middle East. In 2013 Dwayne travelled to Israel to attend an experimental dance residency to develop a new project called 'Roll on the L.LAW'.