To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, we’ve put together a mini-festival of performance and events by women. We meet Cecilia Knapp whose show Finding Home is a part of this celebration of women.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a writer, poet and performer from Brighton living in London. Finding Home is my first one-woman show, but I’m working on something exciting with an experimental theatre company as well and I’m about half way through my first novel! I’ve got two cats and I love a gin and tonic…
We love a gin & tonic too! So, how did the idea of your show come about?
I started writing a poem about cycling down the canal near where I live on my mum’s bike. I inherited it a couple of years ago, she died when I was young. Writing about the bike journey was getting longer and longer and I realised I was writing the story of my life through a series of flashbacks. I decided to make it into a full length piece, and spent about 6 months writing and developing it with the aid of a fantastic director.
I wanted to write something that talked candidly about things that are difficult to talk about. The show features sex, suicide, a single Dad, a motherless teenage girl (me) and a dance number set to Missy Eliot. I wanted to show that its ok to be vulnerable and share stories, they can help us feel less alone.
What would you like the audience to take away from your show?
The sense that it's ok to talk openly about how you feel. So often in life we bottle things up and don’t talk about the complicated messy stuff. This show is full of the complicated messy stuff, I hope people will see themselves within it.
This year International Women's Day challenges us to #BeBoldForChange. Who has inspired you to be bold for change?
I’m inspired daily by incredible, brave female writers who challenge the world with their writing. I’ve just finished Zadie Smith’s new book - she’s always been an inspiration of mine. The way she comments on society through her depiction of character can often take my breath away.
Writer and performer Vanessa Kisuule always fills me with joy, fire and energy. She’s making a show about what it is to be “sexy” as a woman, I think its so important for women to decide what’s sexy, rather than it being defined through the eyes of men, and she’s doing that. She’s making work with women, for women, by women and I respect that hugely. She also did a rap battle with Don’t Flop recently - a notoriously male dominated (and often misogynistic) world - and she smashed it in the most saucy and powerful way.
Also, the musician Bellatrix who wrote some of the music for Finding Home is mind blowingly talented and a wonderful human. Not only does she play double bass, she sings, she produces she uses a loop station and she beat boxes.
I could go on to name more, most of the creative team on this show are incredible women who believed in my story and helped me make it happen.
Finally, do you have any advice for young girls looking to produce their own work?
Yes! Don’t be afraid about getting it out there and being tenacious. I know I’ve felt in the past like it's arrogant or self indulgent to really push your work out there and get your voice heard, whereas men seem to struggle less with this. Maybe we see it as a masculine trait or as aggressive? Which is obviously ridiculous. We have to work hard to ensure that the voices of women are being given a spotlight, so don’t be afraid to shout!
Along cycle paths, alleyways and canals of London comes a story that maps a journey from a seaside town, to the tenements of city life as a 20-something.
Writer and performer Cecilia Knapp’s debut piece is about growing up, about a childhood in make-shift dens, about drinking wine, love and one night stands. But it’s mainly about losing her brother Leo to suicide and how that affects a person.
Wed 8 Mar
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Celebrating International Women's Day
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, and to celebrate some of the inspiring, creative women working across the arts, we’ve put together a mini-festival of performance and events by women.
Crossing music, theatre, spoken word, talks and comedy, we’ll be presenting some rising talents, free events in the foyer and workshops to take part in.