Rebel Boob: a play exploring life after cancer – 13th March 2020

Rebel Boob
Rebel Boob: a play exploring life after cancer

This week the Sussex Cancer Fund team met up with Angela El-Zeind, Director of Speak Up! Act Out! We wanted to find out more about her theatre group and her exciting new production ‘Rebel Boob’.

Rebel Boob is a really exciting sensory experience using spoken word, dance and some really really cool tech, about real-life experiences of women after breast cancer. It is going to be first performed on 13th March at the Old Market, Brighton, before going on to the Brighton Fringe.

This is what Angela had to say about the production and some of the amazing team involved.

Speak up! Act Out! is a Brighton based theatre company committed to creating performances using true stories and testimonials with contemporary theatre-making techniques.

For five years the company has been creating socio-political performances; running workshops and collaborating with a variety of organisations, including University of Sussex Student Union, Brighton Womens Centre, The Detention Forum, Keele University, Mankind, A Band of Brothers, Miss Represented, Brighton Youth Centre and First Base.

Rebel Boob is a project about breast cancer. But it’s not really about breast cancer. 

Last year I was diagnosed and treated for, early-stage breast cancer. During active treatment, all systems are a go! and you roll with it. However, once you are discharged with the good news of having been labelled NED (no evidence of disease), you start picking up the pieces and dealing with your grief. 

It is a fact that there is a large proportion of women who are diagnosed with anxiety and depression following active treatment, and there is not enough support or information for them. This project was born out of a need for the recovery period, to be acknowledged and recognised. Despite the advance in medicine and awareness raised by charities, cancer is still a taboo subject which evokes fear; and we are not talking enough about the numbers of women and men who survive and go on to live rich, fulfilling lives. 

This play is not about chemotherapy and it’s not about death (although they may be mentioned!) …this play is about life, and it is about re-evaluating who you are, and what is important.

Using interviews with women affected by breast cancer, as a starting point, we will be using choreography and video mapping technology to create an immersive performance, which will include themes of Identity, Priorities, Grief, Relationships (with our bodies, with loved ones and not so loved ones). 

Who’s involved:

Katie Dale-Everett is the Artistic Director of Katie Dale-Everett Dance, a choreographic company investigating how body and technology can work together to bridge gaps in communication and connection, humanise technology, relook at and question ideas and to better understand how we relate to ourselves and others. 

Victoria Mapplebeck is a BAFTA award-winning writer, artist and director. She makes experimental documentary work. Her projects include Smart Hearts (1999) for Channel 4, Text Me (2014) and The Waiting Room (2019). VM uses multi-platform interactive and immersive technologies to explore the digital age and her own experience with Cancer. 

Boyd Branch is a digital arts and performance specialist. As well as working freelance as an Interactive Media Designer & Projectionist he is Executive Director of The Improvisational Media and Performance Lab, bringing science and art together to create new experiences. He also worked as an Animation Professor at Arizona State University.   

To make the production the best it can be Speak Up! Act Out! have turned to crowdfunding to help with the costs of the production. If you would like to contribute you can do so here.

Tickets for 13th March at The Old Market are available now and can be bought here.

We wish Angela and her team the best of luck with the show and we are sure it will prove to be a groundbreaking and poignant performance. We will be there!