Post by Jade Campbell
We were so exited to bring Outlier to South Devon College on Monday 10th October 2023. Outlier was written by Malaika Kegode and band Jakabol – a writer, performer and producer based in Bristol. Malaika has been performing with folk inspired prog-rock band Jakabol since 2018. Together they have performed at music venues and theatre venues alike – bringing a unique and exciting blend of poetry and music to diverse audiences.
The piece combines powerful poetics of Malaika Kegode and exhilarating music of Bristol band Jakabol combine with dynamic animation in this moving, autobiographical gig-theatre show directed by Jenny Davies. Genre-defying and hopeful, Outlier explores the impact of isolation, addiction and friendship on young people coming of age in the often-forgotten places.
For people who have been through hardship and people who have come out the other side. Those those who are clinging on to hope. For those who’ve felt like a complete outsider (an outlier!) to feeling like they have a life.
You can read more about Malaika here.
Why Outlier in Torbay?
Due to Covid and changes of staff it hasn’t been possible to program anything at the college for a few years now. So it felt particularly exciting to bring this really special piece of gig-theatre to them! We felt it was a no-brainer to accept the offer from the Barbican, Plymouth – Laura Kriefman reached out and asked us if we wanted to be part of the tour to Plymouth – perhaps stop by Torbay for one night en route, we didn’t hesitate! We felt this would resonate for the young people in Torbay – Malaika’s story is a powerful one and certainly can be found in so many of our small market towns and coastal communities in Devon and the SW.
What happened on the day?
Ryan Griffin, lecturer at South Devon College, was a wonderful host and met us to show us how to sign in and access the building/theatre. We were greeted by warm smiles and curiosity as we started to unload the vans and the Outlier team set up the space.
Image description: an old, brown, two seater sofa, with no cushions, in the middle of a stage.
Image description: Mair stands with pen and paper in hand on the raked seating with a big smile on her face.
Image description: 5 members of the company are assembling the equipment and lighting on the stage.
Image description: 7 members of the company are setting up their instruments on the stage which now has rugs hanging at the back for the projection.
Image description: 2 members of the tech team are at the tech desks and another member is walking away from them.
Image description: Emmy is positioning her harp into the correct space whilst 2 other members of the team set ups the drums and the surrounding setting.
Image description: Emmy plays the violin, she is wearing a red hoody and a black gilet and has short brown hair.
Image description: The drum kit on set, surrounded by a cage with a duvet over the top. Rugs hang behind and a lamp on a small wooden table next to it.
Image description: 7 members of the Outlier creative team, sit on the sofa and stand together talking and smiling.
Image description: Jade takes a selfie in the mirror and Mair can be seen in the background reading a document on the piano.
Image description: Mair sits with pen and paper in hand smiling.
Past Film and Media student, Sam, now employed by the college for digital content and tech support, didn’t waste time to document the whole process for a short film he is making to document the event!
Image description: Sam sets up his camera ready to document the day.
The wonderful technician from the Barbican, Jamie Smith, leant us equipment from the theatre and so the sound was epic – as the band sound checked, students walked past in anticipation building a sense of excitement for the day.
Image description: Producers Liz and Mair in a discussion outside the theatre.
Image description: SDC students queue outside the theatre, ready to see the show.
Image description: Mair stands outside the door, ready to let the students in, she has a smile and her arms are extended.
Image description: SDC students queue outside the theatre, ready to see the show. Mair stands outside the door, ready to let the students in, her arm is extended.
Image description: SDC students enter through the doors of the theatre and you can see the band through the crack in the door playing music.
We were really excited to get over 100 students and staff into the audience and I managed to convince the English GCSE teacher to bring 45 of her students to see the show just an hour before.
The set was beautiful and the music and Malaika’s story was stunning! A tender, heartbreaking and relatable story that resonated with us all who saw it in Torbay!
Image description: The audience sat waiting for the piece to start.
There is still a chance to catch this show in Plymouth this week – tickets are genuinely pay what you decide – a fantastic way to make theatre more affordable.
Some of the students at SDC have already planned to travel down and watch it again! You can buy your tickets at The Barbican Theatre in Plymouth here.
They are performing on Friday 14th & Saturday 15th October!