Creatives Jade Anouka and Grace Savage talk ‘Heart’, Brixton House 23 Jan – 3 Feb.

Jade Anouka and Grace Savage perform HEART, photo credit Jaime Prada (image supplied).

Jade Anouka’s debut play Heart is at Brixton House from 23 January to 3 January. It is a story told by a proud black LGBTQ+ woman that goes beyond their identity to present a universal tale exploring the human experience. Navigating love, loss and self-discovery through mesmerising storytelling and music told through a blend of poetry and electronic music, HEART is a fresh and inspiring piece of gig theatre that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. The story is set with live music and sound by musician and four-time UK Beatbox Champion Grace Savage. Creative Reviews described the work as “A lyrical, punchy and powerful storytelling masterpiece”, awarding it 5 stars! QX asked Jade and Grace to talk about how the show came about and what it means to them.

Jade Anouka performs in HEART at Brixton House
Jade Anouka in HEART, photo credit Jaime Prada (image supplied)

Jade Anouka: HEART truly began as a pouring of the heart. Through a certain freedom I find in poetry, the piece naturally manifested as one long poem documenting the highs and lows of the previous 5 or so years. 

After refining it and working with Grace, it’s surreal to think this one-sitting avalanche of thoughts and emotions has grown to become the show it is now. 

As well as for myself, HEART was also born out of something missing on stage and in the industry – I felt I wasn’t seeing stories that connected with me and that reflected my experience, despite the themes within actually being really universal. We have all had times of struggle, joy and pain navigating who we are and who to love and be loved by. It’s real life! So, I feel HEART can really connect with people. 

In that sense, although an autobiographical piece, it’s actually not about me anymore – it’s about all the people who see, hear and read the play that connect to it in some way.

Having the words elevated by music is so powerful. Music can help carry you to the next feeling or try and stop you, and Grace’s ability to converse so naturally with the story and me gives the heaviness of the words a helping hand.

London is also my home and where I began as a performer, so it feels really special having the opportunity to bring this personal story home – and this time, it’s extra special as I’m self-producing! 

Heart is a queer play at Brixton House in London.
Jade Anouka and Grace Savage perform HEART, photo credit Jaime Prada (image supplied).

Grace Savage: I’m really excited to be bringing HEART to Brixton. It’s been a long journey from the moment Jade splurged HEART out onto the page in one sitting to finally getting a London run. Covid changed the original London plans, and she took the show to New York and Edinburgh, but I feel this show will really thrive in London. 

I worked with Jade, making the music for our short film Her & Her, where we first started building the foundations of our collaborative language. By the time HEART came around, we had established a strong creative connection, and I found an efficient way of supporting her words and intentions with music. Translating the emotion and responding to the feeling of the piece with sound can be challenging – subtle enough not to distract and be a near constant underscore, but also strong enough to be punchy and effective. The majority of rehearsals were done in a small room in Budapest while we were living out there, and the transition from that tiny room with a tiny amp to Edinburgh Fringe was a scary leap…but it worked! Can’t wait to get that thrill and feeling of performing for an audience again in London. 

Tickets to Heart: https://brixtonhouse.co.uk/shows/heart/

Heart is at Brixton House from 23 January to 3 February 2024. 385 Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8GL, United Kingdom.

 

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