Vault Festival preview: The Night Woman

Update 20.40 16 March – the Vault final week has been cancelled due to the COVID-9 pandemic. However please read on as this sounds a fab show which will return!

Welcome to another preview from this year’s Vault Festival. Today it’s the turn of The Night Woman to step into the spotlight.

Running from 17-18 March, this show is “the story of a strong passionate woman’s journey into the dark … unleash your bravery and join in the adventure … receiving a delicious serving of exquisite performance, Caribbean flavours of sound and movement, history and folktale…”

I asked writer and performer Julene Robinson to tell me more about the creation of her show.

Julene Robinson in The Night Woman
Julene Robinson in The Night Woman

How has planning been going for the show?

Planning is planning. It’s my least favourite part but it is necessary and important.

As a solo show which takes on quite a lot (storytelling, physicality, sound, movement, folk tales), what has been your biggest challenge in putting The Night Woman together, and what have you enjoyed the most?

Planning and executing and the back of house administrative stuff has been the greatest challenge. It’s hard to do that and the creative stuff. Usually I am doing one or the other.

Developing work during a climate that is erratic and unstable made it super challenging because I lost my several members of my team – so taking on more that usual have been challenging.

However, cracking open a story and letting it make its way through the body in a studio is really exciting, especially since this is one of the first works on this scale that is my work. 

If you were going to describe The Night Woman‘s character in just three words, what would they be?

The Night Woman is powerful. The Night Woman is vulnerable. The Night Woman is love.

Julene, you’re worked as both a scientist and an artist. Does this give a perspective on your work that comes from a very different space?

I think I approach my work too technically sometimes.  It needs to be solvable and clear but sometimes it’s important to fly free, make mistakes, stumble and go out of the lines. 

As it relates to the work itself, I love to delve deep into a question to confront the unseeable parts that affect and change us. I think those are some of the ways being a scientist infiltrates my artistic work.

My writing was recently accused of being mathematical. Haha, I say math is poetry! 

What’s the best thing about performing in the Cavern space?

The arched bricks. I love the brick dungeon feeling the bricks offer. It makes it lovely for a story about a black women who lives in the dark.

What’s your next project?

My next project is a live art installation piece, a collaboration with Love of Culture for October. It shall be a Feast. 

Julene Robinson in The Black That I Am. Image by Lindsay Sneddon.
Julene Robinson in The Black That I Am. Image by Lindsay Sneddon.

My thanks to Julene for her time and answers.

The Night Woman is on from 17-18 March at 6.20pm in the Cavern space. Book at the Vault Festival website.