Interview: Emma Frankland on Demolishing Ovalhouse

Interview: Emma Frankland on Demolishing Ovalhouse

Photo credits: Rosie Powell (photography) / Umber Ghauri (make-up) / Susuana (hair) / Mallin Perry and Prinx Lydia (Costume)

In a landmark project Emma Frankland and trans special guests dig into the history of the Ovalhouse before it moves to Brixton – and explore how it relates to their own experiences as trans women or femmes.

We caught up with Emma to talk about the project and to talk London haunts…

We Dig | Ovalhouse, Oval | 4-19 October | £16/10

Tell us about We Dig? What’s the project about and how can people get involved?

We Dig is a unique production that’s part of the final season of performances happening at Ovalhouse before the building is demolished and they move to Brixton. Our show will be responsible for the demolition of the main theatre space and we’re going to use the opportunity to do things that are usually impossible! 

Travis Alabanza

I’ve invited together an incredible group of trans artists who are creating the performance, from the performers to the designers, production team and support. And the show will be performed by a core group of 5 trans women and femmes from around the world. These include Morgan m Page, Travis Alabanza (who isn’t performing on the 9-12), Gein Wong and Tamarra – an incredible performance artist from Indonesia.

You can get involved by booking a ticket! (There are several discount codes for early bird booking and for trans community) also look out for other events taking place, we’ll be announcing some workshops taking place during the run too!

What does demolishing Ovalhouse mean to you and what do you hope the legacy of We Dig will be?

Ovalhouse has an incredible history over the past 55 years and has always been a home for radical and marginalised artists.

It’s a huge honour to be the final production happening in the space and to help demolish the building with love and respect.

Who or what inspires you to make performance?

I’m constantly inspired by other artists working in the contemporary performance scene.. I think that theatre and performance, particularly queer Theatre is actually in a particularly rich and exciting place at the moment.

It’s also hard to sit back and not make a response when there are so many issues in the world today. I really believe that the job of an artist is to reflect the world as we experience it and to help dream a future and we need to respond – to the rise of fascism in the UK and globally, to the climate crisis and to the huge inequalities in our society – the racism, transphobia and the many ways in which marginalised people are silenced.

What advice would you give a person thinking about getting into the creative industries?

Follow your heart and make the work that you want/need to make. Don’t try and second guess what will be popular or sell, if you make something that speaks to you – chances are it’ll speak to others too.

And find people to collaborate with – particularly people who inspire and terrify you.. you’ll be challenged to bring your best game every day! 

What are your favourite London haunts?

Open Barbers

I jumped ship and moved to Brighton a few years back and Sadly a lot of my old haunts have disappeared but I always like an evening at the RVT – especially the incredible Bar Wotever.

I’ll always check out the theatre programme at Camden People’s Theatre and recently the Omnibus in Clapham has been programming really interesting work.

For hanging out and fully inclusive space I’d recommend dropping by Open Barbers – and I’m always a sucker for the South Bank at sunset.

Rupert Dannreuther

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.