This month, the Housemates Festival returns to Brixton House inviting artists to take over the House for three weeks from 4th – 23rd July.
Themes explore the complexities of youth crime and rehabilitation juxtaposed with the Black joy of growing up in south London and millennial nostalgia, intergenerational conversations on radical activism; as well as delving into the complexities of family love and relationships; and probing the big life questions about how we all survive in a capitalistic world.
We spoke to some of the wonderful cast and creative involved in this year’s festival.
Please introduce yourself …
My name is Ivan Oyik, I’m an actor from London. South East to be precise.
Which came first,Film, TV or theatre?
As an actor my first role was in theatre. I got into it thanks to my careers advisor, I studied drama in secondary school but never took it seriously however he watched one of my performances and told me I should consider taking it seriously. Theatre was accessible, it started with school plays and continued from there. I have only recently started to do to Film & TV.
How did you get involved with REP and what was its appeal?
I’ve known Toby Clarke since 2019, and he asked me to be a part of the short film version of REP (YRO coming out soon as well) which was filmed in April, so I gladly agreed to join for the stage version. Having read the script where there are around 12 different characters and stories to tell is what made me want to tell this story. To be able to weave all of them together in some way is a feat in itself.
Tell us about your team …
From this project, Toby Clarke offering me the role but also trusting me as an actor from when we first met. In general, Alisha Artry, TD Moyo and Daniel Bailey, not just amazing producers/directors but truly special individuals who I can always rely on any place and at any time.
What does the story of REP mean to you personally?
It’s about understanding that we are more than our circumstances and environments. You should be allowed to want to be more than what others have labelled you as and artistic/creative expression is one of the best forms to showcase that.
Tell us about a challenging moment in this project that you had to dig deep to get through?
Unfortunately my character isn’t the most likeable, he’s probably the main antagonist so I’ve had to find ways to sympathise with him in order to ‘justify’ his behaviour and ways of thinking. Which goes back to his environment and upbringing, it’s what has led him to think the way he does.
Tell us a memorable moment from rehearsals …
The first stagger through of the play. For me, seeing all the scenes together for the first time reaffirmed that we really do have a real story to tell our audience. I can’t give a specific scene but I feel the whole of act 2 sums up the potential, promise but also reality of what REP represents.
Considering your career evolution, where does this project sit on your checklist …
I’ve recently started working with young people in workshops as I’ve always believed that we have to give back and be teachers in any kind of capacity to young people. As an older generation we’ve experienced so much and I do believe we owe it to the younger generations that we steer them in a direction that leads to better and prosperous futures. It’s another part of the journey, I can’t say where it is on my checklist but I’m just happy that it has been added.
We’ll have to wait and see. Just hoping for more work to come.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
Insta – @IvanOyik, Twitter – @IvanOyik_
Rep ran at Housemates Festival at Brixton House.