With fringe theatre Ovalhouse celebrating its 50th year in existence, Charlotte Rowland talks to director Deborah Bestwick and perfomers Mars.Tarrab about their experiences at the venue
Over the past month, Ovalhouse has been marking its 50th year of fringe theatre with an array of productions. It has long displayed performances that are radical and important, whether they have been exploring LGBT issues or fighting the feminist fight. CounterCulture 50 is a festival that has been showcasing the diverse, progressive theatre that has made Ovalhouse such an important venue.
Charlotte Rowland talked to Rachel Mars and Nat Tarrab, two performers whose This Lady’s Not For Walking Like An Egyptian represented Ovalhouse’s feminist history during CounterCulture 50. She also interviewed Deborah Bestwick, the director of Ovalhouse, who reminisced about her involvement with the venue, highlighting a recent production of Romeo and Juliet to demonstrate how unique Ovalhouse’s work is:
The messenger rushing to the tomb…was intercepted by police doing a stop and search, and because it all happened around and about the theatre, we had real passers-by stopping to intervene at the sight of a young black boy being apprehended by the police. It stopped the traffic. And then we had to have ushers standing around with signs saying “This is a play”! And I love that, because I love the impact you’re then making on everybody around you.