Reigning Women

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Life Learning of a Nonsensical Human.

Reigning women is a genre spanning mini-season celebrating kick a*s women everywhere. The Open Market (TOM) has provided this platform for established artists and rising stars to showcase their talents. Incidentally, the programme has raised thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes, including; Brighton Women’s Centre, Rise and Lewes FC. 

We caught up with Jenny Foulds, an award winning, neurodiverse performance poet who presents her one woman show, Life Learning of a Nonsensical Human, on March 14th. The show is an ode to the joy and complexities of friendship, queerness and raving, a collection of work for the old ravers and fun makers and for anyone who has lost someone. This is a love letter to sticky floors we have all danced upon.  

Tell us the premise of the show?

My show is essentially about raving, queerness and finding joy amidst grief. It’s an autobiographical series of vignettes and spoken word theatre on a life so far. I talk about everything from coming out, to discovering the rave scene, meeting new best friends on the dance floor and losing my dad. I explore being in the hidey hole of grief and being able to find joy again. 

What was it that inspired you to put the show together?

I’ve been a performance poet for six years. When I turned 40 I wrote a poem called ‘The Life Lessons of a Nonsensical Human’. I was reflecting on what I had learned and the things that make me, me. I noticed all of my previous written work had a recurring theme of joy in it and that’s where the inspiration for the show came from. I started writing before my dad passed away. When I was creating the show he died in the midst of it, meaning everything took a different trajectory. In the show there’s a piece called ‘The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ – this poem is a marker in time. Everything I wrote before that was prior to his death and everything subsequent I created after he died. 

What can the audience expect when they come to see the show?

It’s performance poetry, 22 pieces woven together as a narrative of my life. I think for me, as a writer and as a performer, my show gives me the platform to be able to talk about grief in a certain way, which isn’t discussed freely enough in our culture. The way I convey this theme is to bring the audience in with a laugh, then I suckerpunch them with some grief and leave them with a cuddle. The setting of the show is a message that says, ‘Welcome to my brain, sorry about the mess, make yourself at home, put your feet up and I’ll show you around’. 

Words: Samantha Harman 

Photo: Paul Winter

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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