Following her success as part of Plymouth Fringe Festival, Croydonites and Talawa Firsts, Vanessa Macaulay returns with her autobiographical performance Made not Born.
“I’m going to start this story from the beginning… not of time… it’s not that kind of story, but from when I can remember” – Made Not Born is a solo performance that deals with Vanessa’s personal story of growing up in Hertfordshire, trying to fit in, trying to figure out who she is, or who she can be. In a country saturated by US influence, can there be such a thing as a Black British female identity?
“I have serious problems trying to categorise this show. Talkshow, performance, dance… what shall I call it? That explosion of energy on an intimate stage only a few feet in front of me bowled me over, seduced me in, made me spend a night thinking about it” – Anand Nair
“Macaulay’s childhood world was conflicted: what is strength? What is beauty? How do I succeed? How can I belong?.. and of course, that most vital dilemma for any little girl in the late 1990s – which Spice Girl should I be?” – Elizabeth Sheppard
Vanessa said, “I was interested in making a performance that spoke to my experiences, how I navigate the world in my body and how this might expand narratives of Black Brit(ish)ness. I never felt like the stories being portrayed within Black communities really reflected my own experiences in Hertfordshire; so close to London but so far from that diversity.
In the creation of this piece, it became clear that my relationship with my mum is a significant part of my search for belonging. The performance uses influences such as the female body and exercise, my mother’s body and our relationship. I’m always interested in the power of storytelling, what stories have value?”
Made Not Born is at Camden People’s Theatre 31st March to 2nd April 2020