LSE alumnus play in VAULT Festival 2020

LSE alumnus Esohe Uwadiae announced on Tuesday November 19th that her play ‘She Is A Place Called Home’ will be featured in one of the largest curated arts festivals in the world. Uwadiae studied law as an undergraduate at LSE from 2013 to 2017. 

The play follows two sisters in the run-up to their father’s wedding as they navigate the fall out of his decision to take another wife and what this means for their family, faith, and future. The play follows Uwadiae’s acceptance onto the VAULT New Writer’s Programme 2019, where she received mentoring from January to March 2019 to write a full-length play. 

When applying to the program, Uwadiae submitted a monologue called ‘The Performance of a Lifetime’ which she wrote in her third year at LSE for Adam Crowther’s Non-binary Gender Extravaganza Bonanza, a project funded by LSE Annual Fund. “It was after writing that monologue that I realised my interest in playwriting, prior to that I’d written mostly poetry and prose – which has been featured in Lacuna Lit,” she told The Beaver. 

Uwadiae’s favourite modules during her law degree were Family Law and Legal Pluralism. She told The Beaver that she wanted to bring the themes from these modules into the play and explore how culture and religion affect people’s interactions with the law, and to highlight the failure of the law in properly accounting for people’s lived experiences. “I was also really influenced by LSE’s Faith Centre who advocate for a more holistic understanding of how people of faith are affected by their faith and how this shapes their decisions,” she added. 

Uwadiae went on to explain that her objective was to write a story that reflected the experiences of black women and talked about Nigerian culture, especially from southern Nigeria,  a majority Christian country where polygamy still takes place. She was interested in exploring, “What it means to exist in spaces where your culture and faith are in contradiction, and how you make peace with that.” 

The play had been previously showcased at VAULT Festival 2019, in a sold out show. Queen Mary’s Theatre Company then put on a condensed version of the play in their May Spring Fling. Working with Uwadiae are director Layla Madanat, who recently finished her MSc at LSE and directed Sweeney Todd for LSE SU Drama Society and producer Tia Alice Ray, a University of Birmingham graduate. 

Uwadiae is currently working on her next play about marriage, religious conversion and the challenge of navigating Blackness in Britain. She has been writing it at the Royal Court Theatre in exclusive writing groups led by Stef Smith (Olivier Winner, Roadkill, A Doll’s House).

‘She Is A Place Called Home’ will be running from 3 to 8 March 2020. You can follow it on Twitter: @sheisaplaceand Instagram: @sheisaplaceplay.

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