Kheira Bey is about to star in Voices from the Deep at the King’s Head Theatre. She spoke to Love London Love Culture’s editor Emma Clarendon about what to expect from the show… 

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Could you tell me a bit more about Voices from the Deep? Voices from the Deep is a night (7th May) of four short plays melded together by Shakespearean verse, from Paperclip Theatre at the King’s Head Theatre. The night is all female, down to the playwrights, directors, actors (me!) and stage managers. Our protagonists allow us to embrace female stories and highlight inequality around the world.

What can audiences expect from the show? Paperclip founder Adriana Sanford is an exciting, young female director who has finished an acclaimed run at Vault Festival. Now, she’s bringing together ‘Voices from the Deep’. Audiences can therefore expect real women brilliantly brought to life from a talented all-female company.

They should also expect something experimental, which challenges what they have seen before. London theatre programming does not permit experimentalism of this nature. There seems to be a bias against women’s stories on London stages, with only two pieces of sixteen pieces programmed at the Young Vic were written by female playwrights. Likewise, the Almeida programmed only one female playwright of six plays, whilst the Old Vic actually programmed zero pieces by women. Here’s a thought – maybe women actually want to see themselves and their stories represented on stage. Especially in a way which isn’t ridiculed with menstruation, childbirth or domestic goddess representations.

What sort of topics does Voices from the Deep cover? A plethora including: Identity, violence, sexual intrigue, plain boredom and adventure. Intertextual references to popular historical events and figures are also involved.

What makes Voices from the Deep special? I think the beautiful Shakespearean prose, which continues throughout four totally different stories, time periods and countries. It really is a joy to indulge in these words when I am performing them. Samia Djilli, who has written ‘Middle Ground’ of which I play Suad within, is a very talented upcoming playwright. Last month she had a showcase at the Royal Court Theatre. When watching I think it’s quite easy to get swept away by the flow of the meter, but when we take a pause, the reality hits very brutally. Perhaps the romantic poetry of the text conceals the hidden darkness, inequality and oppression underneath.

Why should people come along and see the show? Queen Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of France and Scotland face off. Not for an ordinary battle – a lip sync battle.

Voices from the Deep plays at the King’s Head Theatre on the 7th May. For more information visit: http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/

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