We at Silent Faces got to talk to the fabulous Koko Brown about her upcoming show at VAULT Festival, WHITE. She had some great stuff to say about making work about her personal life experience and being 'the other'.
What drove you to make WHITE?
I made this show because I wanted to say 'Here are my experiences as a mixed race person and this is how I feel. Please tell me I'm not alone'. I never saw my experiences reflected on TV, in films or in theatre and that had an effect on me. So I wanted to change that and create a space in which mixed race people could come together and go 'that's happened to me to!'
I should also admit that I made it for me. I wanted to prove that I could do something like this. I wanted to prove that a little, brown girl from Kilburn could make a show like this. I wanted to see if someone who would never call herself a musician, could make a show that's 50% original song. I wanted to prove that I could tell my story and that people would listen.
Who is WHITE for?
I am a multifaceted human being and so, although I focus on the mixed race experience, I made this show for anyone who's felt like an outsider. I made this show for mixed race people. I made this show for black women. I made this show for LGBT+ people. I made this show for the kid that is questioning who they are. I made WHITE for anyone who has ever felt like 'the other'.
I also made it for me. Clearly I had something to get off my chest!
Why are personal stories important to tell on stage?
Personal stories are important to tell on stage for so many reasons. Sometimes it's important to get these stories off of your chest. Sometimes it's just important to get the stories out there so that, when people look back, there's a record of how people felt and what was important to them.
What theatre ‘turn offs’ do you have?
Shows that have nothing to say. I'm not saying that every show has to have some really deep message or speak about big issues. It's okay just to say 'hey life is long so let's have fun' - just say something!
What was the last show that moved you to action?
That's a big question. Chewing Gum Dreams moved me to create WHITE by showing me what can be accomplished in a solo show. Recently Talia Randall's Question Time Cabaret made me want to take action about gentrification - specifically within my local area and made me want to take steps towards understanding the political climate.
What shows at VAULT are you looking forward to?
There are so many good shows at VAULT! This year there's even more women-led companies than before and quiet a few shows created by POC, everything I want to see seems to always clash with some else though!
WHITE is on 4 Feb, matinee performance at 15.15 and evening performance at 18.15.