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Joey Hateley's diRTy: the performance that rips apart identity boxes

As part of DaDaFest International 2016, Joey Hateley (aka The Gender Joker) will showcase a challenging and darkly comic multi-media performance that rips apart sexuality and gender identity boxes, to open up discussion around mental health. Here, Joey gives us an insight into how this staging of diRTy is the culmination of several years of research and development and in many ways the end and the beginning of an exciting journey. 

“Take the dream out of your head, put it beneath your feet and don’t look down” 

diRTy is a life-long challenge to share the deepest parts of my psyche, asking “what fears and forces drive and inspire any of us?” “What experiences and choices shape the core of who we are?” diRTy is an explosive, visceral portrayal of my own disintegration and re-birth.

It is the most challenging and exhilarating thing I have ever done. We have worked with a wide range of artists over many years in a brave and passionate attempt to capture how being different impacts on our mental health and sense of self and belonging.

diRTy is a live autobiographical performance, told through multi-media, comedy and conversations between conflicting personas inside someone’s head. It provides insights into the role of hero, victim and perpetrator and dissects societal stereotyping and gender norms. I delve into my persona to give a raw depiction of the taboos and superfluity of humanity and ask the question “Where would you draw the line?”

Earlier this year, I invited DaDaFest’s Artistic Director, Ruth Gould, to see the show whilst in its development stages. She said: “Joey’s work touches a place that you rarely get to explore: the complexities of life, identity, pain, beauty and release. The viewers are taken into places that are usually hidden; making us aware, connecting our humanity and showing us that we are all important.”

I conceived diRTy as a writer-in-residence at Contact Theatre as part of the BBC’s Northern Exposure project in 2003. An excerpt was performed on BBC Radio 4 in 2004 before the first public reading took place at the Library Theatre, Manchester. Arts Council funding enabled me to develop diRTy with six artists from different disciplines and stage a work in progress in April 2005 at the PANDA Regional Showcase. I went on to produce a private industry sharing at Contact, Manchester in 2013, with Director Julie McNamara of Vital Xposure Theatre in London and long term collaborators Siobhan Rocks, an acclaimed BSL performer and Co-founder of Interp_Play.

diRTy is produced by TransAction Theatre, of which I am the Artistic Director. We create innovative, issue-based experimental projects containing multi art-form performance and collaborate with diverse communities, artists and organisations.

I am very excited to be opening diRTy at DaDaFest International 2016 as I’ve also been given the opportunity to lead discussions on gender politics and identity at the second international Congress on disability culture taking place in December.

diRTy opens as part of DaDaFest International 2016 at Bluecoat on Wednesday 30 November 7:30pm. Visit our events page for a full list of DaDaFest events.

Tickets are available now for £8/£6. Find out more here


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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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October Half Term at Bluecoat

published by Barry

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