Writer and Performer Corey Bovell talks about his show ‘Chicken Burger N Chips’ to show at Brixton House (Formely Known as Ovalhouse) as part of their inaugural Housemates Festival
The Chicken and Chip shop has become a marker of our early 21st century high street landscape, establishments serving their local communities, they serve not only as a go to spot for an affordable meal, but also as a sanctuary – a staple for the younger generation, shaping experiences of many growing up in London. Presenting a raw and nostalgic coming of age story about growing up in South London and exploring gentrification and its impact on the lives of its youths, writer and performer Corey Bovell will debut his show Chicken Burger N Chips from the 3rd until 6th May at Brixton House as part of their Housemates Festival. Ahead of the show, Corey tells us more about exploring the show’s themes, collaborating with businesses Morley’s Chicken and Afterhours Restaurant to create the show and what it means to form part of Brixton House’s (formally known as Ovalhouse) new chapter!
Hi Corey, your show Chicken Burger N Chips will show from 3rd to 6th May at Brixton House as part of their Housemates Festival. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling excited about the show coming to Brixton and I can’t wait for the audience to see it.
Chicken Burger N Chips is a raw and nostalgic coming of age story about growing up in South London. It tells the story of gentrification and the impact this has on the lives of its youths. How have you found exploring these themes within your work?
Through research, I don’t believe London’s streets – especially in Lewisham – feel any safer, despite the strategic plans that have been put in place to tackle the robust wave of crime. Chicken Burger N Chips was written in hope that my younger target audience can see the consequences of violence within the local community and find a new way to challenge their energy into something positive.
The show is directed by Almeida Theatre Resident Director T.D. Moyo and is supported by Oisel Productions, Morley’s Chicken and Afterhours Restaurant. How have you collaborated with these creatives and businesses to realise the show?
TD and I met in 2017 through a mutual friend and she directed my debut play 32 Peak Street, performed at Camden Fringe in 2018. She’s a fantastic director with great charisma, and when I got the call about participating in the Housemates Festival she was the first person I called.
Growing up in south-east London you’re very familiar with Morley’s Chicken as they’re synonymous with each other. While at a music pop-up event, I started talking to Morley’s managing director Shan about my show’s themes of gentrification and knife crime, and how I wanted to get more young people in the audience through a Ticket Scheme. Afterhours Restaurant has quickly gained a reputation for quality food within south-east London, and when speaking to the founder Lukeman Adesegun, he also was interested in my Ticket Scheme. Both these businesses have allowed me to get more young people into the theatres to see this compelling story.
Oisel Productions is actually my own company, it is an acronym for Originated in South East London, a name I came up with during my final year in university. Having ownership of my work was something I was very keen on from the beginning.
The Housemates Festival marks Brixton House’s inaugural festival since its rebrand from Ovalhouse. What does it mean to form a part of this new chapter?
It’s very exciting to be a part of this new chapter for Brixton House and to feature in their inaugural Housemates Festival alongside 7 other incredible talented artists. Having been a part of Ovalhouse drama company in 2014-15 and youth producer during the same year, I’m thankful to Ovalhouse for those opportunities in the past and now I’m excited for Brixton House’s future.
What have you learned/taken away from creating the show?
Stay true to yourself, and tell the story you want to tell.
What can audiences expect from the show?
A raw and nostalgic play which deals with relationships, gentrification and knife crime, but it’s not all doom and gloom! Ultimately, it’s a story about a young person at a crossroads in his life, seeing his world transform around him.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the show?
I would like the audiences to spark a conversation about the social commentary seen in the show and continue to help encourage our young people.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Chicken Burger N Chips will show from Tuesday 3rd until Friday 6th May 2022 at Brixton House as part of The Housemates Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…