Kim Scopes is a writer and performer, here she tells us all about her new showSomewhere To Belong
Tell us a bit about Somewhere to Belong, what is the show about?
Somewhere to Belong is a fun, silly show about loving more than one gender, finding your community and learning to love who you are.
The story finds our hero CK trapped in an abstract, gameshow world, where she is forced to pick a label that fits her before times runs out. Working her way through a series of ridiculous challenges, CK finds herself more lost than ever about the right way to define her sexuality. It’s a show full of silly games that explore the stereotypes that surround representations of the bi+ community.
We created the show after interviewing over 40 members of the Bi+ community from all over the world, and not only do some of those stories feature in our show, we’re thrilled to be releasing some of those interviews as part of an online archive very soon. So the show and the project are a love letter to that community, and we’re really excited to be sharing with London audiences.
How did the show come to be made? What inspired you?
So, I came out as bisexual just a few years ago, and as I started to talk about it, I was so surprised to encounter some very inaccurate (and strange) misconceptions and stereotypes about my sexuality from the people around me. When I started to talk to other bi+ friends about it, I learned that they all had similar experiences. I looked and looked for accurate (and fair) representations of bisexuality in the media, and they were incredibly hard to find. I got talking to our amazing producer Laura about this weird, isolating experience, and we decided that we needed to make a show about it.
We knew that we wanted the show to be about more than just one person’s experience. So we decided to try and talk to as many people who identify as being attracted to more than one gender as possible. We made a call out on social media, expecting only a handful of people to respond, but we were shocked at how many people got in touch from all over the world! We spent a lot of the many lockdown periods on Zoom, interviewing these amazing participants and collating their incredible stories. These stories became the creative bedrock for Somewhere To Belong and we brought them into the room with us when we started to create the show. Some of them will make an appearance in the final show.
Why is it important to talk about these issues now?
Because, as one of our participants aptly stated, bisexuality is a thing! Even though great leaps have been made towards fairer and better representation for more people under the LGBTQIA+ flag, there is still such a long way to go. And for some reason, people still don’t seem to recognise that bisexuality, and all the other sexualities under that umbrella, are valid sexualities that deserves recognition and better representation. We live in such a binary world, and in both gender and sexuality, those binaries are inaccurate constructs that alienate and isolate a huge proportion of people. Imagine how much better off we’d be without them!
Who have you been working with on this project?
I won’t lie, I’ve got the absolute dream team working on Somewhere To Belong with me! I think it’s easy to forget just how many people it takes to make a show get made, even a one person show, and without these people I wouldn’t have stood a chance.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with the incredible, Laura Furner, our producer, since the inception of this project and she’s an absolute force of nature. We’ve got the fabulous Gwenan Bain directing the show and she’s so talented I know the show is in safe hands.
The wonderous Amelia Stubberfield has been acting as dramaturg for us and we’re so lucky to have their outside eye to guide us. Music and sound design has been hand crafted by the multi-talented Andrea Giordani. Lighting and tech has been designed by the absolute genius Emily Keeble.
We’re also so fortunate to be working with the Bi History Project (@BiHistory) who have been helping us create and organise the online archive for the interviews we conducted.
The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town, has been incredible as our home theatre and has helped us from the very beginning!
Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how you make theatre?
Absolutely! It’s such a strange time to be creating theatre. As a performer and a maker, I love playing with that connection between the performer and the audience. Usually in the work I make, I really get up close with the audience, interact with them and make them as much a part of the show as the actors are. So, it’s been a really interesting experience in Somewhere To Belong to try and find new ways to keep that level of connection without that close proximity, physically, and I think we’ve achieved it!
In one sense, it’s been a great way to push me creatively, but that’s definitely where the benefits of the pandemic end! Theatre has suffered such a gut-punch over the past 18 months, it’s going to need all the help and support it can get. The Lion and Unicorn Theatre has been incredibly supportive towards us through this tough time, for which I’m incredibly grateful, and we hope that we can return that support!
What’s next for you and for Sycorax Collective?
We’d LOVE to get Somewhere To Belong to festivals and regional venues next year – we’re so proud of the show and feel it carries such an important message that we want to get it out into the world!
In terms of other work and new ideas for more shows… I don’t know yet. Some other projects are hopefully on the cards, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the rest of this year brings. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic.
Somewhere To Belong is on at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Kentish Town, from the 27– 31 July 2021. More information here: sycoraxcollective.weebly.com