Katherina Radeva on touring 40/40

Photo: Beth Chalmers

40/40 is an inspiring, insightful and moving celebration of Katherina Radeva’s 40 years as a woman, a migrant and an artist. Its content warning (look away Ralph Fiennes) warns of nudity, heavy breathing and a middle aged woman dancing with much joy. It’s set to tour nationally, beginning next week in Dundee.

Claiming space on a dance floor for one, she writes stories of her past, present and future, in speech, in electrical tape and in movement. From the little girl dancing at her parents’ student parties, to the teenage rhythm gymnast who was body-shamed, to the creative who refuses to be categorised we see a choreography of all the joys and sorrows of 40 years. Conceived, created, written, designed and performed by Radeva. The piece has movement support from choreographers Liz Aggiss, Lucy Suggate and Rachel Krische.

Ahead of opening, we caught up with Radeva to find out what it’s like to be heading back on the road for more joyful dancing.

Photo: Beth Chalmers

Q&A with Katherina Radeva

How does it feel to be taking 40/40 back on the road?

It feels like a dream! The dance and theatre sector is under immense pressure – from funders and external factors – so for me to have been able to book this tour, I know that the show is loved. 40/40 is a joy ride and I think that we humans really need a thing like it at the moment. There is so much hardship at the moment, on macro, micro, local and global level and so 40/40 is 50 minutes of a deep breath filled with humour and joy – in a sense it’s a release. So, yeah – it’s dreamy! And of course – I am in full prep – in the rehearsal room and behind the scenes doing the logistics

What can you tell us about the show?

40/40 combines six distinct and dynamic dances and six voice notes meditating on themes such as joy, permission, womanhood, migrancy and time. Through which you get to have some abundant joy not least because there is so much humour in the work but also it’s quite thought provoking. It leaves space for audiences to find and reflect on their story while I am sharing some of mine. There are also some banging tunes! We often see people leave humming a tune and dancing their way out so it’s a good night out babes, do come along!

Have you tweaked it since last year’s tour?

Not much tweaking, well, I mean my body tweeks all the time but structurally – it’s the same show! Although, this is the last time the show will tour in the UK so I have a couple of gorgeous surprises for the last two shows which fall exactly on International Women’s Day, so yeah! Whoop!

Did it surprise you how much people connected with the show?

Yes and no. As an artist you always want others to connect with what you are doing so we always hope that the connection will happen, but you never know. Theatre is not an exact science so there are a lot of unknowns. But in truth, I knew that the show presents a bit of history and experiences which alot of us women share, so in that sense – I am not surprised. It’s gorgeous to see audiences connect to the work so much – it makes it all worthwhile – to see people leave with delight – it’s empowering for them and for me!

Is there anything you hope audiences coming to the new dates take away from the show?

Go out there and do the things you always wanted to do (I mean, the good things!) Because if not now, then when? It took me until I got to 40 to finally allow myself joy and so I hope that the people who come to see the work leave lighter, having shared a collective space of joy.

40/40 tours from 29 February to 9 March, beginning at Dundee Rep Theatre.

Full dates below:

Thursday 29 February – Dundee Rep Theatre
Saturday 2 March – Melrose Corn Exchange, Hawick
Tuesday 5 March – Deda, Derby
Wednesday 6 & Thursday 7 March – Cambridge Junction
Friday 8 & Saturday 9 March – Birmingham Hippodrome, Patrick Studio