On My Radar: Vicky Featherstone’s Cultural Highlights | Vicky Federstein

BBorn in Surrey and raised in Scotland, Vicky Featherstone earned an MA in Theater Directing from Manchester University before working at venues such as the West Yorkshire Playhouse (now Leeds Playhouse), the Northern Stage and the National Theater of Scotland. She was appointed Artistic Director of the Royal Court in 2013, where she was praised for her radical and inclusive programming. Featherstone and Audrey Sheffield co-direct Jonathan Freedland’s first play. Jews. In her own words, which takes place at the Royal Court from 19 September to 22 October.

1st feast


Maimuna Memon: “talking about trauma, but in a joyful way”. Photo: Eleonora Briscoe

I first went to the Edinburgh Festival as a student when I was 18 and have been going back and forth every year since. The thing is, everyone will lose money, no one will sleep, everyone will get sick – it’s a real example of our need for entertainment and performance and storytelling. The fact that so many people will be together this post-Covid year feels extraordinary. There is a show by actor and songwriter Maimuna Memon called Manic street creaturewhich begins with songs and ends by talking about trauma, but in a joyful way.

2. Book

None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond Binary by Travis Alabanza

Travis Alabanza:
Travis Alabanza: “an incredible thinker”. Photo: Harry Borden/The Guardian

I saw Travis’ show burger z a few years ago and I’m taking this book with me on vacation. I was a real fangirl about it – I got an autographed copy from Gay’s the Word Bookshop. It reflects all of the things people have said to Travis about being nonbinary and being trans, and the conversation about what’s different and what’s “normal.” I think we’re obsessed with categorizing and classifying people in order to understand and define them. Travis is an incredible thinker, philosopher and person so I’m really looking forward to it.

3. Politician

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown gestures during a speech
In a nutshell: Gordon Brown. Photo: Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

For the past week he seems to be the only one who’s really speaking out loud about the recession we’re heading into, about living standards, about food poverty. And it seems really important that we have someone we can trust who is thoughtful and has real experience of this country’s economy. I really respect that he is using his voice and knowledge to speak out again on the crisis we are heading towards.

4. Theater

The Trials, Donmar Warehouse

Writer Dawn King and director Natalie Abrahami rehearse for The Trials at the Donmar.
Writer Dawn King and director Natalie Abrahami rehearse for The Trials at the Donmar. Photo: Helen Murray

This is a play by Dawn King directed by Natalie Abrahami about a group of young people who are taking adults to justice over the climate catastrophe. It has an amazing cast and it feels really important that we get a theater that focuses on the voices of young people and asks important questions. It’s such a clever idea. This can be done for two weeks in August at Donmar and I’m really looking forward to it.

5. Bar/Shop

Half Cut Market, Tufnell Park

Half Cut Market in Tufnell Park:
Half Cut Market in Tufnell Park: “I’m really jealous of everyone in there.”

There is a new wine and grocery store just up the road from me run by this couple called Holly and Dan and it has an amazing selection of wines which Holly selected as a young woman and sommelier. She makes amazing food with it. It only has about six tables. Every time I walk by I’m really jealous of everyone in there. And when I’m organized enough, I book a table and me and my husband and my grown children go and sit outside drinking too much wine and arguing about food.

6th Art

Cornelia Parker’s Folkestone Mermaid

Cornelia Parker's mermaid:
Cornelia Parker’s mermaid: “She looks like a real woman.” Photo: Tim Ranson/Guardian Community

Folkestone has tons of free art – it’s practically turned the town into a free art gallery. One of the pieces is this sculpture of a woman sitting on the beach. She’s nude and has big dangling breasts that look pretty hard with her hair slicked back. She looks like a real woman. I just love the idea that Cornelia Parker, who is extraordinary and really broadens our horizons with so much work she does, put this on the beach at Folkestone.

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