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Alt Africa has a QUICK CHAT with Big Foot Writer Joseph Barnes-Phillips

Alt Africa has a QUICK CHAT with Big Foot Writer Joseph Barnes-Phillips

With #grime music and Guyanese folk stories, Joseph Barnes-Phillip’s semi-autobiographical story is a comic, tragic and honest portrayal of becoming a man. The story follows Rayleigh as he negotiates the tensions of growing up and taking responsibility: to his pregnant girlfriend, to his sick mother, to his church, to the multi-cultural community he grew up in and somewhere in the mix to himself. The show has been created by HighRise Theatre to be the sixth touring production for consortium Black Theatre Live.

Q: Grime music plays a big part in Big Foot. How did you decide which tracks to include in the show?

In the show grime music helps to reflect the world which Rayleigh the main character associates himself with the most. It reflects a sub culture. It’s the sound of London streets created by second and third generation migrants so it the perfect sound to use.

Q: How did you decide on what tracks to include?

The music in the show varies between Lovers Rock, Calypso, Soca, Gossip and Grime. Each genre represents a main character and also shows us the journey that Rayleigh is on throughout the show. Me and the Director Dominic Garfield are huge music lovers so we sift through YouTube and old CD searching for those nostalgic tunes that work for each sense.

Q: Are you musical yourself?

I used to sing in my church choir many moons ago. In our previous show The  Concrete Jungle Book I played a fun-loving reggae singing bear that was hooked on the honey.

Q; What artists are you currently listening to?

I listen to quite a bit of UK soul. Undiscovered gems like MUNDU, Malick lV and quite a few old school Reggae songs.

Q: You’ve said before that when you were younger you wanted to be a cook?

Yes! I was obsessed with Nigella Lawson and Ainsley Harriet. Inspired by my Mum for her love of food.

Q: Do you still enjoy cooking and what is your favourite food to cook?

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Not as much as Mum. Curry Lamb and Roti or Bangers and Mash!

Q: Are there any food-influences in the show?

There are several huge food influences in Big Foot. Mainly because of the character Moon Gazer, she really invites us into this whole world of Guyanese heritage which includes amazing food and Soca.

Q: Where can you get the best roti in London?

Love this question! Bar my house the next best place would be Roti Joupa in Clapham – amazing stuff.

Big Foot directed by Dominic Garfield opens at Stratford Circus Arts Centre on Wednesday 4 October and runs until Saturday 7 October before touring various venues throughout the UK. Book tickets: