Camden Fringe preview: Maenad

Maenad is a folk-punk monoframa musical/conedy act/storytelling show …”

Writer/perforner Elena Sirett btings their show Maenad to Camden Fringe next month, and they stopped by to tell us a bit more about it.

Where: Camden People’s Theatre

When: 4-6 Aug, 9pm

Ticket link:

Promotional image for Maenad

What’s special about being part of Camden Fringe?

Since I grew up in the borough of Camden it’s really exciting for me to be a part of a local theatre festival. It’s wonderful to be part of such a diverse programme, and I’m very much looking forward to meeting everyone in person at the launch party.

Maenad is a female/NBled piece about exploitation at the hands of men but it is also a comedy and it has songs. Tell me a bit more about it.

I say Maenad is genre-fluid in that it moves between different moods and types of writing. This was not a conscious choice but rather a close translation of the cacophony and mood swings of my mind.

Maenad is honest because in the face of darkness, I sing and I make jokes, being wholly serious would be dishonest to the truth of living with trauma, addiction, mental illness and neurodivergence.

The maenads were the frenzied female followers of the Greek god Bacchus. Strong women with magical powers. How did this translate into your play’s title?

Whilst the maenads were indeed physically strong (in the sense that they were able to tear bodies apart with their bare hands) what intrigued me about them was their distinct lack of individuality.

The maenads are defined by the god they follow, the substances they consume, and the rites they participate in.

The maenads intoxication, sexual aggression, and rage reminded me of my years as a ‘party girl’, or more accurately my years as a sex/love addict with alcohol and drug use problems.

For me throughout the course of writing I discovered that ‘maenad’ or my party persona was in fact the performance of heterosexual femininity itself with all the toxicity and harm that performance did to me as a queer non-binary person.

You have a lot of other creative projects going on apart from Maenad exploring the queer, neurodivergent and mentally-ill psyche. What’s next for you?

I frequently write theatre blogs/reviews and make content for Evulve Productions. I am putting together a storytelling podcast with the newly established Space for Storytelling.

I am also collaborating with the math-core artist Human Empathy Machine on writing some tracks for their upcoming album.

The Camden People’s Theatre is a great space for this kind of work. Was it your first choice of venue?

CPT was my dream venue and once they expressed interest there was no other choice in my mind. I have attended shows there many times throughout my life, it’s exciting and terrifying that my own work will soon be there!