Jade Anouka on HEART at Brixton House

Jade Anouka’s hit production HEART is transferring to Brixton House following its critically acclaimed 3 nights at Edinburgh Fringe last year.

Anouka’s moving and intimate monologue is accompanied by musician Grace Savage, interweaving electronic and heavy beats to create a captivating piece of gig-theatre.

The production explores self-love and self-acceptance with Anouka’s autobiographical show fusing music and monologue as it celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. A story told by a black LGBTQ+ women, HEART goes beyond her identity to present – above everything else – a universal story exploring the human experience.

Ahead of opening at Brixton House, we interviewed Anouka about the production

Jade Anouka with Grace Savage in the background. Photo: Jaime Prada

Q&A with Jade Anouka

What can you tell us about HEART and the themes of the play?

HEART is an autobiographical journey told through poetry we begin on a wedding day many moons ago and end the day you see it. Battling your inner monsters or beasts, falling in love, identity, family relationships. Someone wrote this about the play and I love it: Heart is a beating silence; it is being brave yet vulnerable, playful yet profound, your best self and your worst. It’s a blazing journey of words and rhythms that lay bare our shared want to fit in whilst being our authentic self

Given the autobiographical nature of the piece, was it daunting to put your story out there?

When I wrote HEART initially back in 2018 some of the aspects of the piece were still raw. I believe with autobiographical work you should wait until any wounds are healed – or at least a protective scab has formed before you share it with the world. Its still daunting though because you want people to like the work you do, connect with it. Not everyone that’s absurd! But you want your work to affect some people deeply. That’s the aim. Once I truly accepted that some people not liking or connecting with my work is not only ok but necessary in creating art then it all felt less daunting.

What has it been like working with Grace to incorporate live music into the performance?

It’s great. She gets me. I get how she works. We are a good team I think. There’s a shorthand between us. Grace is a sounds and feelings person which works for me. We don’t talk in music speak we talk emotional, vibes and that seems to work well.

What was it like to perform the show at Edinburgh Fringe and to be transferring to Brixton House?

A dream. I was fortunate enough to perform CHEF (by Sabrina Mahfouz) at Ed fest back in 2015 I think and we transferred that to London so doing and Edingburgh to London transfer with my own work and my debut play is just bloody great.

What do you hope audiences take away from HEART?

I hope they vibe with it, bop their heads to the music, connect with at least some of the words and sit back and enjoy the rest. We pack a lot into an hour. Come join us.

HEART is at Brixton House from 23 January to 3 February