Let us introduce you to: Vijay Patel

Picture of Vijay Patel, taken by Holly Revell.

During lockdown we started Inside Out, a weekly digital drama club for older LGBTQ+ people. We share stories, play improv games, identify lessons from work by queer dramatists, write about our experiences and hone our performance skills. This week we interviewed Vijay Patel, one of the younger queer guest artists who’s led sessions at our weekly drama club.

If you’d like to see the work we’ve created in the last few months, don’t miss our digital show, We Were Seized by the Spirit of Love on Thursday 10 December at 8pm. Click here to book your tickets.

Could you tell us about yourself and how you’ve been working with drama club participants?

I worked with the drama club in the summer by leading a workshop on toolkits to devising work and how to take care of yourself through that process – thinking about access requirements specifically.

Can you tell us a bit about your performance next week?
Next week I’m reforming a piece of work I was doing in LGTBQ+ queer club scenes called ‘Walking the Line’. This will be an online version of that piece without the props of the rice but mainly featuring me lip syncing at home. I’ve been very patient with putting out work online, as the time has always needed to feel right, but now it does. I was touched by the support from this group in the summer that I want to make this act online for them to see an intersectional queer, working class, brown person’s perspective of living in this pandemic.

What tips do you have for people who want to be more creative during this time?
I would emphasise the importance of care for your own wellbeing during this period. There is no rush to make work if that doesn’t feel like it works for you right now. If you can, spend time and space thinking about how performance contexts work for you in Covid times and beyond. How might these precarious shifts inform a sustainable practice for you?

What are other ways you’ve stayed creative during lockdown?
My creativity has been put into ‘non-performance’ contexts, I have lectured a BA Theatre module at the University of Chichester for this semester, I have been part of the Freelance Task Force to advocate better ways of supporting neurodivergent creatives and delivering online workshops. I have been involved in various online performance events but nothing ‘live’ until the time has felt right.

What can people expect at the digital performance in December? Why should people see it?
I think it’s extremely important that we continue to support events from marginalised groups especially, they have been severely affected in the sector even before Covid and have continued to be through this pandemic. People should see work from queer, trans, non-binary, black, people of colour whenever those events arise.