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In London’s (Off) West End 2019: Little Miss Burden at The Bunker (Preview)

Ali Wright

Ali Wright

LONDON – Little Miss Burden, coming to The Bunker this December, is a vital tale of growing up with a wheelchair in the ‘90s – a poignant new coming-of-age story from award-winning playwright and screenwriter Matilda Ibini.

Mashing together some serious ‘90s nostalgia, a Nigerian family in East London and Sailor Moon, Ibini’s new play draws on her own experiences as a teenager to tell the tricky, but often funny, truth about growing up with a physical impairment.

De-mystifying the stereotypes and tropes of disabilities, Little Miss Burden provides a crucial platform for disabled people’s voices, lives and stories to be heard. This is not a triumphant tale about overcoming a disability, but rather a meaningful and refreshing story of acceptance and understanding, of love and survival.

When thirteen-year-old Little Miss receives a gift, she must learn not just to live with it, but use and get on with it: they can’t both be Player One, and Little Miss needs to keep up with Big Sis and Little Sis. A story of self-love and sisterly love, Little Miss Burden follows the trio of sisters as Little Miss learns to understand her disability and how to live with it as part of her.

Michelle Tiwo (Ackee and Saltfish, BBC 3; Parakeet, Boundless/Boom Shakalaka Productions; And The Rest of Me Floats, Bush Theatre) joins the cast as Big Sis, Saida Ahmed (My Favourite, AppleCart Theatre; The Glass MenagerieArcola Theatre; Medusa, Fusion Theatre) is Little Miss, and Ani Nelson (The Trick, Bush Theatre; Abigail’s Party, Hull Truck Theatre; Roadkill, Channel 4) rounds off the cast as Little Sis.

Matilda Ibini comments: “The story of Little Miss Burden has been a long time coming. It felt apt to tell the story of a black disabled woman growing up in the UK at a time when a) the government is actively decimating disabled lives via stringent cuts to benefits and welfare and b) at a time when the country is calling into question its identity and in its crisis is scapegoating immigrants. I think the story of someone rejecting the labels and assumptions put on them is needed. If I was ever going to write about the disabled experience it was always going to be on my own terms i.e. magical realist as fuck, brutally honest and funny, because there is always light to be found in the darkest of worlds. And how existing at all these intersections isn’t a life sentence or a tragedy but a key to freedom.”

Little Miss Burden plays from 3rd to 21st December 2019 at The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU. For tickets, visit their website here

 

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