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Jade Anouka - Heart Interview

After an acclaimed run at Edinburgh Fringe, Jade Anouka is bringing her debut play HEART to Brixton House in London a run in January and February 2024. This captivating production presents a raw and intimate exploration of the realities of complex relationships, and navigates love, loss and self-discovery through mesmerising storytelling and music. Told through a blend of poetry and electronic music, Heart is a fresh and inspiring piece of gig theatre that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

Jade Anouka and Grace Savage. Photo by Jaime Prada.

With live music and sound design by musician and 4 time UK Beatbox champion
Grace Savage, Anouka’s story is elevated by innovative beatboxing and heavy bass, which become interwoven within the play. Recounting the personal experiences as a woman shaken by the end of her marriage, the beginning of a new chapter, and the battles with her beast, Heart uncovers the beauty of human connection and self-acceptance. With Savage’s near constant backing track supporting and complimenting Anouka’s storytelling, this show presents an unmissable fusion of monologue and modern sounds.

The piece is quite a personable one for you but what first inspired you to write the show?
I wasnt seeing stories on stage that connected with me, that reflected my experience. Id been writing poems and I wanted to challenge myself to write something longer.

How did you approach the development of the show?
It began with a puke draft, just constant writing for a day. I sent that to a producer I knew, I worked with Tinuke Craig on putting the show on at Vault festival. Then The Kiln picked it up and I worked with director Nancy Medina and dramaturg Tom Wright. Then Covid shut that down but Audible picked it up and Ola Ince came on board. Its been through a lot of changes and all the better for it. But I think weve finally landed on the right production for now and the right script. Which is why Im so happy Nick Hern books are publishing the playscript to coincide with the performances at Brixton House.
How therapeutic has the writing and performing of the show been?
Not sure that therapeutic is a word Id use. The writing was somewhat , getting it all out. But I feel you have to be very careful with autobiographical work that you dont perform stuff that you are still healing from. Or rather where the wounds are still raw. Its been incredible, but this is actually not about me anymore. Its about all the people who see, hear and read the play that connect to it in some way. 

Jade Anouka and Grace Savage. Photo by Jaime Prada.

How did you decide to include music and sound by Grace Savage?
It always needed music, when I wrote it I always imagined it performed with music. Grace and I have worked together before and she knows me and my work. Also I love the fact she is a beatboxer as well as an electronic pop artist so the mix of electronic and human sounds looped and stretched and fucked about with appeals to me. Its not genre specific, its vibes.

How was the working relationship as a married couple? 
Spoiler alert! For some this is a wonderful realisation at the end of the play. But its no secret we are together. Its been great. We can work in our living room at home at random times. We could rehearse when one of us is working away from . Its made it logistically much easier. And also we have a short hand. Im not sure what working with another music would be like because I speak in feelings and colours and vibes not really musical vocabulary. Luckily for me Grace always seems to know what I mean.

How fulfilling was it to get such a critically acclaimed reaction to the show?
The response has been wonderful. The critical acclaim is great but also the many many messages Ive received , or people coming up to me after the show to let me know just how much the show affected them, meant to them. People thanking me for telling their story. Thats why I did it. For those people for whom seeing work like this matters.
Do you/will you re-work the show in any way for the run at Brixton House?
Its pretty much the same production as . Two main differences are, this time we have a lighting designer, the lovely Richard Owen and the staging will be thrust rather than the in-the-round seating of pains ploughs roundabout
What keeps you inspired as an artist and creative?
A blessed unrest that keeps us marching’ Basically never being satisfied haha. Always striving for more, for different, for a challenge, to change things for the better.
What do you hope an audience member takes away from seeing HEART?
I say at the beginning feel the rhythms of your own heartbeats as I tell you a story. The story will hit different for different people. Some moments really get some people and others others. Some come out crying, others full of joy! Some have vibes with the poetry of the words and the performance others really with the music. I am not lying when I say theres something for everyone who comes with an open heart.

Heart runs at Brixton House in London from Tuesday 23rd January until Saturday 3rd February 2024. Tickets are available from

Jade Anouka. Photo by Jaime Prada

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