Racheal Ofori headlines this year’s Calm Down Dear festival with her new show So Many Reasons, an exploration of motherhood and generational divides told through the eyes of a British Ghanaian woman.
#TBB10 caught up with Racheal to find out what exactly are all her reasons …
1# Please introduce yourself …
My name is Racheal Ofori a born and bred Londoner! I am an actor and writer, who is available to model, dance and any other forms of exhibiting myself!
2# You have a new show, So Many Reasons – tell us a bit about it and how you got involved with the Calm Down Dear festival …
So Many Reasons is about Mel. Mel is having a quarter life crisis and there are so many reasons why – god, sex, and the relationship with her mum. Told from the perspective of a British Ghanaian woman, So Many Reasons explores the dynamics of cultural and generational shifts, the foundations of Christian faith and pop culture and how we as modern Black women navigate that world.
So Many Reasons is headlining the Calm Down Dear Festival at Camden People’s Theatre and following this, it is doing a UK tour including Bath, Wolverhampton, Ormskirk, and Newcastle, before returning back to Ovalhouse, London.
I first got involved with Camden People’s Theatre when I performed my debut solo show Portrait at their first ever CDD Festival in 2013. Since then Portrait went to the Edinburgh fringe, toured the UK and then I was given the fantastic opportunity to create a new show to headline the festival this year. So it’s a brilliant full circle.
3# You’re a proud south Londoner, what’s so special about south London, and how did it shape you into the adult you are today?
I love South London. I don’t know what it is, I can’t ever imagine living north of the river. Growing up in south London really keeps me grounded. No matter where my career takes me, there’s something about the earthy quality of south London that I will always hold on to.
4# Being British born Ghanaian is a focal point in So Many Reasons, did you face challenges growing up being Ghanaian, being African?
I didn’t really find there to be difficulties… other than when we might lose to Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations. I suppose the biggest difficulty would be trying to embrace my Ghanaian heritage whilst trying to embody what it means to be British. Sometimes giving the British more precedence, which in some respects is a shame.
5# … and what is it about being a British Ghanaian that gives you pride?
Well, Africans are just cool. We dance like there’s no tomorrow, we laugh loud, we’re colourful and I love all of that. I’m glad to see how much the African diaspora in the UK is embracing that in all forms of pop culture.
6# How did/do your parents take you choosing a career in the arts – stereotypically upset or were they supportive?
My mum kind of left me to my own devices when I decided to be an actor for a living. I was very smart in school and good at art and sport; so I think she thought she could trust me. Plus she’s got five other children so if she really wants one of us to be a doctor, her odds are pretty good.
7# In your show you speak about motherhood, are you a parent? If not why do you incorporate this into the narrative?
I’m not a mother just yet. I talk about motherhood in relation to the cultural gaps first generation migrant parents can have with their first generation citizen children. It’s important to understand the struggle of our parents.
8# What do you think about the new generation and their interest in getting in touch with their African routes with Caribbean and African children in the UK merging cultures, slang, and traditions?
I love that there is a reclaim of African roots in the UK. It’s about time. This reclaim means we create a new space. For ages I felt like I wasn’t quite Ghanaian enough and not quite British. So this boom in Afrobeats and African prints in attire like Kente, is just so beautiful to see.
9# Do you go back to Ghana regularly, have you performed there?
I wish I was more connected. I haven’t been to Ghana is ages. I need to go soon and reconnect.
10# What do you want audiences to take from the show?
I’d love audiences to leave my show feeling like they can really take ownership. The show is specifically about a woman owning her body rather than letting religion or a pressure to be sexually liberal do that. But it is also universal in that we all grow up with ideals thrust on us that sometimes just don’t work. It’s ok to push them all aside, start again and take ownership!
Catch Racheal Ofori’s So Many Reasons as part of the Calm Down Dear festival at Camden People’s Festival from now until 3rd Feb find out more and book tickets here – cptheatre.co.uk
Further dates include:
- 7 Feb, Albany Theatre, Deptford
- 6-10 March, Ovalhouse, Kennington