20 February 2020

Having your play performed at a major London festival is something the University of East London’s Institutional Equity Officer Esohe Uwadiae once thought she could only dream of.

But for 23-year-old Esohe, it is now a reality as her first-ever play will make its debut at the VAULT festival - an eight-week celebration of arts and entertainment in the infamous tunnels underneath Waterloo station in London.

Having studied law at university, Esohe never imagined that she would one day write a play - or that it would go on to be devised and performed on stage.

Having never really been creative other than being an avid reader, Esohe became involved in putting on the Vagina Monologues and went on to write and perform in other shows in her final year as a student.

I started watching more theatre and then attempted writing fiction. On a whim, I applied for the Vault Festival New Writers programme, which I was accepted into,"

Esohe Uwadiae, UEL Institutional Equity Officer and new playwright, said.

The programme, which included weekly workshops, became a turning point for Esohe, and she was inspired to watch 60 shows in eight weeks.

She said: "The experience was quite intense but being so involved allowed me to maximise the experience. I learnt so much and it opened my mind to what the limits of theatre are - the answer is none.

It also helped me figure out what I liked and during the programme I wrote my first play."

Following the completion of the programme, Esohe submitted her play for inclusion in the festival and was successful in securing one of 250 highly sought-after slots from the 1,300 applications.

The play - She Is A Place Called Home - follows two British-Nigerian sisters as they navigate their dad's decision to get another wife and what that means for their faith, family and future.

Set against the backdrop of a family in crisis, this unique exploration of British-Nigerian sisterhood shines a light on what it means to exist in the space between two worlds - the trade-offs you must make, the lies you must tell and the contradictions you must somehow make peace with. It highlights the power imbalances cultural traditions create within families and what those without power must do to survive.

Esohe added, "Growing up, I heard and saw many cases of Nigerian men, both in Nigeria and the western world, getting second wives without speaking to their families first. I wanted to tell a story that explored what that decision meant for the family and how that could take to breaking point existing problems within the home."

"I also wanted to highlight reasons why women may stay in those situations and how that influences the future decisions of adults who are the product of such environments."

Debuting ahead of International Women's Day, She Is A Place Called Home is ultimately a tale about sisters as they confront what their Dad's decision means for their faith, their family and their future.

The show has partnered with Solace Women's Aid because it touches on non-physical forms of abuse and was recently shortlisted for the Untapped Award.

Performances will run from 3 March to 8 March and booking information can be found on the Vault website

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