Artist and performer Travis Alabanza’s first full-length theatre show, Burgerz explores the harassment of transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Burgerz is at Ovalhouse 19th-20th October and Hackney Showroom 23rd October – 3rd November 2018. Tour details can be found here.
You’re taking your show BURGERZ on a mini tour, what can you tell us about it?
Yes! How exciting. After the two week London run at Hackney Showroom, Burgerz will be going to Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester (14th – 17th November) and then Liverpool on the 18th of November as part of Homotopia festival. It’s really exciting for Burgerz’ first outing into the world to have a chance to exist outside of London, I’ve performed in Liverpool and Manchester before and it’s going to be great to return with a full-length show. I love this chip shop in Liverpool a lot, and in Manchester there is a nails shop that does really cool patterns – so hey – it’s all positives!
What inspired you to write BURGERZ?
Someone threw a burger at me in broad daylight two years ago as they yelled a transphobic slur at me. No one did anything. I was so hurt, confused and angry by the lack of protection for me and my body in that moment that my pen started rushing to paper. Two years on from that attack, and it doesn’t seem like life for trans people has improved? It feels overwhelming watching what members of our community still have to survive against. Burgerz was my way of talking back to this. Getting the moment to talk back as if I was back on the bridge. I want to make art that forces us to wake up, and Burgerz feels like that show.
Why was it important to you that the show reaches a wider audience?
I think so we build misconceptions about a community based off of what we read, television we see, or hearsay. So few times are those from the community allowed to tell their own stories, and furthermore have others get to hear them. I do not want this show to just reach the people who follow me on twitter, or instagram, or have already heard about trans issues etc – I believe art has the ability to be an accessible way to convey new ideas, and for that I need new people. We’ve seen an increase recently in touring trans theatre, like the incredible BULLISH currently on tour, or Adam – but as we have been hidden for so long, it feels vital that our narratives reach as wide of an audience as possible.
What are you looking forward to most about visiting these different locations?
Honestly there is a higher ratio of Greggs per streets in Manchester so that is a plus. But in all seriousness, I think it’s about getting to know different venues, types of audiences and responses. I’m really excited about working with Homotopia, alongside artists like Jinkx Monsoon and Scottee, and the Royal Exchange is a theatre I know and love – so to return there feels exciting.
What do you enjoy most, writing or performing?
Ah… see this show is all about being allowed multiple choices – so I’m going to say… Both! It depends on the day, mood, and if I’ve got my notebook with me.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see BURGERZ?
I would say, try and leave as many of your assumptions at the door, and then be ready and open to the ones you may still bring, to be challenged.