A Chat With: Jade Anouka

Homotopia’s much-anticipated 2021 festival is just around the corner, promising an incredible celebration of queer arts and cultural venues both online and in person. Ahead of the festival’s launch on 28th October, we have a chat with this year’s artist in residence, Jade Anouka.

You were extremely busy during lockdown, particularly with Her & Her which you wrote, directed and starred in. How have you found the last 12-18 months, personally and professionally?

Intense. The highs have been amazing and the lows really difficult. I have been at my most creative and productive at times, and Her & Her is one example of that. I’ve also gone through quite a journey personally, trying to get pregnant – which after many months of upset has worked – I’m due in November! I also moved house during lockdown. It’s overwhelming at times. I’ve written loads, laughed loads and cried an awful lot.

Homotopia Festival’s theme this year is ‘coming out’ – how have you felt about ‘coming out’ after lockdown? 

Apprehensive. As lockdown rules finally lifted this summer I was pregnant and in the only ‘vulnerable’ category that were also being told not to get vaccinated. The rules have since changed and after much research and weighing up the risks/benefits I am double jabbed and feeling much more confident about ‘coming out’.

What impact do you feel the pandemic and lockdown has had on Queer arts and venues?

Queer venues were in a delicate position before lockdown. With many places being shut down, like most arts venues they’ve taken a big hit this last year and a half.

What does your role as Artist In Residence at Homotopia involve? 

I’ve never been an Artist in Residence before so wasn’t sure what to expect when I accepted, but I wanted to be part of creating safe spaces and highlighting the brilliant queer art and artists around at the moment. It involves me sharing some of my work, highlighting some queer artists I know and love, and also listening to and experiencing what queer art in Liverpool has to offer – I can’t wait!

You will be performing your first full theatre play HEART during the festival – can you tell us a bit about that and the inspiration behind it? 

I’m doing a very special one-off reading of my play HEART. It should have opened in London in summer last year, but Covid put a stop to that. It’s a semi-autobiographical story of my journey of the heart, all told in verse.

In Becoming Mummies you and Grace Savage reflect on your journey towards queer parenthood, what can audiences expect from that discussion? What are the challenges and the joys? 

We haven’t recorded it yet, so we’ll see. We are both people who like to chat, our filter is very loose so expect some real talk!

Looking at the whole Homotopia 2021 line-up, aside from your works, what are you most looking forward to/what are your top picks? 

Rosie Jones headlining comedy night Queer, As In Funny will be brilliant. I love Rosie and she was one of my recommendations for this year’s festival. I’m so glad she’s gonna be part of it. Also the Queer Film Shorts part of the online festival. I love short film and am looking forward to watching them. Also, An Evening with David Hoyle and Friends. I don’t know David but I’ve heard they are a legend in them parts, looking forward to that whole evening. I don’t even know all the acts joining but I am sure it will be a fantastic, queer celebration.

What else are you working on at the moment? 

I’m filming season three of His Dark Materials and trying to redraft some of my plays before baby arrives.

LCR Pride Foundation’s theme this year is “From Now On”, which asks organisations and individuals to pledge action to support and celebrate the LGBT+ community, what do you pledge to change, from now on? 

To not leave anyone behind, to celebrate the whole spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community and recognise the intersectionality within it that makes it wonderful.

To find out more and book tickets for Homotopia Festival 2021 visit: https://www.homotopia.net/festival/


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