First Drafts: Ava Davies, Gweilo

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Describe your First Drafts idea in 3 words
Intimate, contemplative, live

Tell us a bit more about your idea and what led you to make it
I was tired of seeing stories, (particularly coming of age narratives) onstage that didn’t reflect my experience of growing up between two oppositional cultures. “Gweilo” is a Cantonese slang term for Westerner that I grew up hearing, and the word itself throws up ideas of duality and dislocation which I thought could be interesting to explore onstage. The play explores identity, performance and autobiography, using mixed race heritage as a channel into these ideas.

Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist
Fundamentally, I’m interested in putting work onstage that uplifts and explores minority voices with the complexity and heart that they deserve and don’t often get; whether that work is my own or other people’s. Theatre as a medium needs to constantly be interrogated and I’m interested in breaking down the traditional barriers between audience and performer and demystifying the performance space.

Why do you think it’s important to put your idea in front of an audience & how do you think it will affect its development?
I want to be able to see what balance I need to tread between deliberately alienating an (assumedly) majority white audience but also drawing them into a story that isn’t written directly for them, and I think I’ll only know that once the piece is performed! The piece currently stands to be performed by me – I don’t consider myself a performer but wanted to explore the blurring boundaries between autobiography and fiction. This is a risk that may not work, and the piece will change drastically depending on how the audience react to me being onstage…

What about First Drafts are you most excited about & what other shows are you most looking forward to?
Obviously, everyone’s shows look incredible, but I am so stupidly excited for Barrel Organ’s take on Tess of the D’Urbervilles – I love everything they do and I can’t wait to see one of their shows at an embryonic stage. I’m also really really looking forward to Rachael Young’s performance – I’m still kicking myself for missing Out this year.

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