Hot Orange nominated for two Off West End Theatre Awards
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After two years in development, our new production for teenagers, young adults and their families opens tonight, 9 November, for seven performances at Half Moon Theatre ahead of a national tour (it returns to Half Moon on Saturday 2 December).
Hot Orange is an immersive, coming of age story about love, identity and forgiveness and follows Amina and Tandeki as they confront the complexities of their friendship, shaped by religion and society, and untangle themselves from what they’ve learnt, to affirm who they are, and express what they need.
It is the first piece of theatre for young audiences by Amal Khalidi and Tatenda Naomi Matsvai. It started life as a spoken word drama in Half Moon’s 2021 artist development programme Narratives of Empathy and Resilience, to create stories that reflect our diverse community, as well as support under-represented artists in developing their practice.
The story came about because the co-writers both wanted to represent queer characters you rarely got to see. People who were joyful and not tragic, yet also real and messy.
“The characters are reflections of our younger selves, brought up in very culturally specific contexts in religious households, navigating who we are outside of those spaces in relation to our queerness,” Tatenda told us. “We had to learn to take space, to love ourselves, to forgive each other and to understand that we have nothing to prove. I think our characters got there in the end.”
The inspiration was the memories that Amal and Tatenda shared about their early interactions with relationships. They imagined a Disney princess and prince on a basketball court watching older people navigate relationships. They thought about what it looked like for queer young people, when they wanted to be the prince, but could also be the princess. How do you look back at that first crush without shame?
Hot Orange is an immersive experience, with the audience sitting and standing in the acting area, with the actors all around. Chris Elwell, the director of Hot Orange, explained: “The immersive style of the production allows audiences to become an integral part of the action and witness this compelling and exhilarating piece of new writing up close and explore the prejudice and pain of navigating what love means in 2023.”
Stephen Beeny is the Communication Manager at Half MoonRead our interview with Tatenda Naomi Matsvai Explore the Hot Orange tour dates
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