Vault preview: Heroes

Writer Chakira Alin and director Dixie McDevitt, with producer Thea Melton, are bringing Heroes to the Vault Festival tomorrow!

Where: Cage, The Vaults.

When: 24-27 Jan.

Ticket link:

Read on for more about the show, which is about fathers, sons, friends, heroes and football in East London.

Promotional photo for Heroes

It’s great to see Vault Festival back after 3 years. What’s the best thing about being involved in a big Fringe event like this?

Chakira: This is actually my first VAULT ever as either an artist or audience member so it’s amazing to be bringing a show up!

We’ve just been at the Edinburgh Fringe, and the best thing is definitely always the community: the people you meet, the shows you see, the connections you forge. 

Jonno in Heroes is seeking a father figure, and maybe himself – what makes this show stand out from the crowd?

Dixie: Although Jonno is centre of the play, Heroes is much more than one boy’s story: it displays community, and the ways in which its members can take turns to be the ‘main character’ and be caught and held in their moments of tragedy.

Your show is on in the Cage. Has this informed the piece’s development in any way?

Dixie: The Cage’s thrust configuration has forced our staging to become more inventive, and less adherent to traditional ‘rules’.

It meant that our rehearsal process involved teaching the ensemble how to stage themselves, remaining tuned into each other & sensitively creating interesting angles while remaining in character.

It’s a big ask, but it has produced a live-ness to their performances that is very exciting to watch!

Football in East London plays a part in the show. Where did the inspiration to include that element come from?

Chakira: I grew up in East London ten minutes away from the West Ham United stadium.

My dad, a lifelong Hammer, was a season ticket holder and would take me to matches. When I think of my own father, I think of football. It just felt like a natural starting point for a story about fatherhood. 

Chakira, you’ve said in previous interviews you are influenced as a writer by Miller, Williams and Pinter. What makes them appeal to you?

Chakira: They’re classics for a reason, right? All of those writers are brilliant storytellers. They have such a command over narrative. The characters are full of colour.

As American writers, Miller and Williams always felt pretty out of reach, but Pinter was from the East End himself, and that meant a lot! It all suddenly just felt more possible. 

Heroes is a female-led piece (writer, director, producer) about masculinity. Was this a conscious decision?

Dixie: This is such a great question! I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I think this is a huge gift for our male-identifying actors as none of the production team are imposing ourselves onto their performance.

Instead of telling and envisioning, we have necessarily asked questions, prompted, challenged, and invited our actors to shape the ideas and presentation of masculinity onstage.

Poster for Heroes