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Joy & Dissent: Cultural Activism at the Hackney Showroom

SEEN has learned of a fascinating approach to cultural activism soon to take place at the Hackney Showroom. It asks the question: Should resistance be a painful process or can it be joyful? It promises to be a lively debate as Hackney Showroom celebrates its 2nd birthday in style with a new festival of dance, comedy, drag, poetry, workshops, live art and physical theatre.

JOY II SHORTS Maasai more than man more than colour 1 (2)

The festival is curated by Hackney Showroom’s artistic director Sam Curtis Lindsay with Associate Artist, performer and choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe: “Expect anti-fascist wrestling silence, bear dances, gunshots and lots of moving around in the sharpest stilettos.” It sounds fast, funny, moving and subversive in the best traditions of dissent, and a uniquely London event.



The programme of events runs from 27th March to 9th April. Travis Alabanza, the acclaimed performance artist will ask: what does the trans body do in order to survive?; Femme Feral stages the THERESAMAYSMACKDOWN in answer to the PM’s assertion that ‘in tough times everybody has to take their share of pain.’; A&E Comedy gives us Enter the Dragons, challenging scare-mongering perceptions of ageing women; Xnthony + Co re-invents his own image in The Power of Wow.

Sophie Fenella and Sohrab Sepehri mix poetry with clowning, sound art and movement; S & K Project hosts a panel and networking event for young artists of colour. Comedy comes from Jayde Adams and Gabby Best fresh from Edinburgh, the BBC and C4; Multi-gendered Miss-iah Shesus and the Sisters fuse comedy, cabaret and therapy; Drag artiste Oozing Gloop gives us Rain on My Parade, which promises to be emotional. Daniel P. Cunningham presents Salvation: Shamanic Striptease, complete with liberating incantations. Two Tongue Theatre embodies Boys Club – literally becoming men to get on stage.

Flic Wentzel’s one-woman character comedy channels her Palestinian activism experience; Brexit gets a response from British Intervention in the Age of Consequence; Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest presents ‘Lucy’ about how Lucy Fizz became her true self on the East London queer scene. Also, Rapturous Ruptures with Dr Sharon Husbands, Victoria Sin and Gorgeous Michael who disrupt the gender paradigm in joyous fashion; Oriana Fox brings The O Show: Killer Conversations. She and her guests share strategies for talking to strangers; Carmel and Rene Köster encourage us to explore our identies through vogueing, Butoh and contemporary dance styles; The Craftivist Collective teach us the art of ‘gentle protest’ through political fashion and ‘shopdropping’; and Megan Ford gives her Unbossed Live – a safe space to laugh through the rage.

If that wasn’t enough for you there will also be seven short performances in Joy! Shorts I. Joy! Shorts II hosts five short performances. There are parties and a spectacular closing event from orchestra Ruthless Jabiru with Fuel, a performance with Art Not Oil who exhort London’s cultural organisations to go fossil funds-free. SEEN recommends.

Hackney Showroom
Hackney Downs Studios
Amhurst Terrace
E8 2BT