In 2017 Marlowe took part in Wax Lyrical, our intensive 6-week project for 16-25 year-olds who are not in employment, education or training.
Wax Lyrical takes the voices of marginalised communities and puts them centre stage. It takes them right from the beginning when they’ve not written anything at all and guides them through the whole process of writing and devising a script until they get to their first big professional performance.
If anyone is thinking about doing the Wax Lyrical project I’d say just do it, because it is life changing. More specifically for me it was a challenge to myself to be in an environment where I was out for the first time as a trans person; my performance even involved me outing myself onstage to strangers. Wax Lyrical was a safe space that allowed me to be more public than I’d ever been before and it was really liberating.
In the project group there were clear themes that each person kept coming back to for their pieces. While I was talking about gender and sexuality, others were talking about race or homelessness. It was obvious that we all wanted to do our own individual pieces but that we needed to find a way to connect them. We ended up with this image of the tower block as a place where all of our individual pieces could live independently but also be connected in this imagined environment. The show ended up being set in a tower block that was about to be torn down, and inside a huge end of the world party was taking place that everyone was invited to.
It was great working with proper professional, published poets. I stayed relatively close to tutor Joelle Taylor because she has a lot of knowledge about the themes I was working on. If you’re doing a piece on your community it helps to speak to someone who has been in that community for a lot longer than you have, which Joelle has.
Outside of the project I am more confident in my identity now, in general I don’t hide it from strangers. At the Roundhouse they are very invested in making sure that once you’ve done whatever project you’re on you continue in the arts; they try to make sure that you can grow as an artist and try new things. I am currently applying for BA at Guildhall in Performance and Creative Enterprise which I heard about through the Roundhouse. I have applied for it under my pronouns and preferred names. I feel like I can be more trusting that people will be accepting of me now, or even if they’re not I feel more empowered to say “I don’t care and well, that’s your problem!”
Guildhall provide free BA places for Roundhouse NEET project alumni each year who are referred by our team. Marlowe got onto the BA this year – NEET to EET