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Xavier de Sousa's Post - Toynbee Studios and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DEVISED and performed by Xavier de Sousa, Post opens at London’s Toynbee Studios (November 11 and 12, 2017) before touring the UK.

Described as a bold theatre show, Post celebrates the freedom of movement: the mixing of cultures and identities, of experiences and world views, by inviting audiences to eat, drink and get merry to challenge what a ‘nation’ is nowadays.

Post considers how notions of national identity and their basis within past colonial adventures reflect on contemporary systems of oppression which in turn continue to reinforce racial and colonial discrim-inations today. The performance asks what a national identity is today and reflects on borders as protective systems, asking us who they protect us from, what they represent and what they are reinforcing.

Deviser and performer Xavier de Sousa said: “Post came as a direct response to the rhetoric employed around migration and refugees in the UK and across mainland Europe. It was essentially my way of re-gaining some sense, some pride and joy in the word and the lived experience that being a migrant provides you with.

“Since moving to England, I have always questioned what ‘national identity’ might mean, and certainly why we have to confine ourselves with a passport mainly due to where we were born? The place where you are born is merely coincidental. What you have around you, what you learn and what you become, those are what defines us. I use British history in the show to illustrate how the concept of ‘national identity’ is an oppressive social control vehicle hence the name Post which proposes to explore what ‘post-nationality’ might be. Or as Theresa May might call it ‘citizenship of nowhere’.

Post looks back through history and at specific traditions and identities that are part of both Portugal and England’s brand, deconstructs them and asks ‘why are we so obsessed with keeping this so-called national identity, what the hell is that in the first place and why are so many of us willing to die for it?”

Performances at Toynbee Studios and the Marlborough Theatre, Brighton will feature post show migrant takeover parties, in partnership with Counterpoint Arts, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and TRAUMFRAU. The parties will give migrant friends a platform and rebalance the power to celebrate everything migrants bring to the UK.

The parties will feature performances, installations and DJ sets by local migrant artists, in a celebration of multi-culturalism, national identity and above all, our migrant communities. Migrants are welcome to come and enjoy the marvels of dancing to songs they barely understand the lyrics to, share experiences of micro aggression, and rant about the impossible bureaucracy of moving. Brits are also welcome at this inclusive event.

The migrant takeover party lineups will feature artist and performers including Rachael Young, Malik Nashad Sharpe, Local Foreigner and Johanna Lindsey. Full line-ups to be confirmed on the venue websites.

Following the London dates, Post will tour to Brighton, Poole, Preston, Derby, Colchester, Leeds, Norwich, Cardiff, Bristol, London’s Rich Mix (April 28) and Blackpool.

Image by Rosie Powell.