Can joy be a radical form of protest? Or should resistance by its very nature be painful?

Those are the questions posed by a festival of “cultural activism” arriving to celebrate the second birthday of Hackney Showroom .

Running from March 27 to April 9 Joy & Dissent brings together performers who will explore issues such as the trans body, scare-mongering perceptions of ageing women, white African identity, Brexit Britain, political fashion, personal desire and a Theresa May Smackdown presented as a wrestling match.

Sam Curtis Lindsay (left) and Nina Lyndon

The festival is co-curated by artistic directors of the venue based in Hackney Downs Studios Sam Curtis Lindsay and Nina Lyndon, along with performer and choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe (AKA Marikiscrycrycry).

Born in New York City, now based in London, Malik is an associate artist at Hackney Showroom and his work aims to complicate the political narratives placed on bodies, particularly the collusion of blackness and queerness and the wear and tear of a body when exposed to repeated stress.

Sad King

He will perform two solo pieces of choreography Sad King, which explores the “material of joyousness”, and $elfie@ which merges blackness, queerness, and post-nationalist desire.

He said of the festival: “Expect anti-fascist wrestling silence, bear dances, gunshots and lots of moving around in the sharpest stilettos.

This festival is about using the material, the body, the stage, the air and the witness, to suggest a new kind of strategy to emerge new worlds.”

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