Fuel Presents Podcasts: While You Wait: #1 Waiting… in a hairdressers

Malika Booker

As part of a new series on A Younger Theatre we are proud to present Fuel’s podcast series, While You Wait. Featuring artists creating podcasts around the notion of waiting, you can listen to the series direct from A Younger Theatre. Information on the artist and the provocation for the work can be found below.

Find a point in the day to listen and enjoy While You Wait.

To kick off the series, Malika Booker in collaboration with Emily Butterworth presents Waiting… in a hairdressers 

Malika Booker is a British writer of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. Her poems are widely published in anthologies and journals including: Out of Bounds, Black & Asian Poets (Bloodaxe 2012), Ten New Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010), the India International Journal 2005, and Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry (The Women’s Press, 1998).  Malika has represented British writing internationally, both independently and with the British Council including in Slovenia, Malaysia, India, New Zealand, Russia and Azerbaijan. In 1999, her first solo theatre show Absolution was commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and the Austrian Cultural Institute and enjoyed a three-week run at the Battersea Arts Centre. Her first musical play, Catwalk, commissioned by NITRO ran at the Tricycle Theatre in June 2001. In Spring 2005 she was sponsored by Arts Council England for a three-month writer fellowship at the India International Centre in Delhi. Her one-woman show Unplanned, toured nationwide throughout 2007. She has performed her work at many venues around the world and has written for the stage and radio. Her collection Breadfruit was published by flippedeye in 2008, and recommended by the Poetry Book Society. Malika was the first Poet-in-Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and her collection Pepperseed is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press in 2013.

Follow Malika on Twitter.

 

Statement

African Caribbean hairdressers bring a new meaning to the term ‘wait’ and seemed apt for this While You Wait series.

Grooming black hair is at once an art form, a political statement and a mode of expression, with unique methods of adornment, due to the complex and many faceted nature of our hair. Women (myself included) have been known to sit at the hairdressers for over nine hours getting their hair done.

Here the concept of the wait is transformed. Here time and space become irrelevant. Here the outside world recedes. Here the hairdresser is at once confidant, shrink, guru, gossip, holder of cultural and social modes of behaviour, fairy godmother and a link to news of back home. Clients sit in their chairs and something happens – they begin to talk, confide, grief, share pieces of their personal space with their hairdresser.

I wanted the work to capture the essence of these shops. I wanted to raise the lid slightly to reveal what can happen on a typical Saturday in the African Caribbean Hairdressers. How all types of people from the various Diasporas converge and co-exist. This podcast is the result of several Saturdays spent in the hairdressers observing, recording and being gradually absorbed into a space that obliterates time.

Find out more about Fuel Theatre and its work on its website.