VIBE Speaks to Pepa Duarte, Migration Matters Festival 2022Posted by: Louisa Hinks
“We are all pretty much the same, we all value home and family and we all miss it”: Peruvian writer and actress, Pepa Duarte, showcases her physical theatre piece, Migran-te, at this year’s Migration Matters Festival
Pepa Duarte is a Peruvian writer, actress and physical performer from Lima, currently based in London. Her play, Migran-te, explores themes of migration and identity through movement alone. Migran-te will be showcased for free as part of the Migration Matters Festival on Saturday 25 June in Fitzalan Square.
Migran-te is a piece of physical theatre that tells the stories of seven different Latin American households in the UK. Pepa intends to break down the barriers of accessibility so the performance can be appreciated by people of all languages and cultures, as well as those not familiar with the theatre.
Pepa expressed the importance of physical theatre in portraying emotions in an unconventional way; “I’ve always felt a really strong connection with my body and how emotions emerge from your body, who you are and how you relate to the environment, so for me it never made sense to just be an actor from your head.”
From the early development stages, Pepa knew that she wanted to do something different by making the show an outdoor piece, a context that reflects the past few years of Covid-19 and future uncertainty.
Much of Pepa’s work explores topics that are socially and politically important to her. All of the themes of her work come from a starting point of experiences that are true to her own life but expressed through a story that is not particularly hers.
The actress commented: “My work tends to be very vulnerable in the sense of it’s always a crossover with my own identity. That means being a woman, a migrant, a person of colour. I tend to do quite a lot about migration, not that I want to be classified, but my interests are political. I always end up coming back to certain themes.”
However, Pepa emphasised that despite telling the stories of Latin American communities, her work is a way of understanding and empowering all communities through the relatability of honest meaningful expression.
Tradition, family and culture have always been a focal point of Pepa’s work but since coming to the UK five years ago, all of the obstacles and microaggressions that she faced have informed her current and recent work significantly.
She said: “As a migrant, you are always trying not to take much space because in a way you have been pressured to believe that you are not worth it or that you are asking for a favour and then that’s why we wanted to get the voices of people very loudly in the public space.”
This year will be Pepa’s first time attending the Migration Matters Festival. One event she is excited to see is Film Locos: British Latin American Films Take Over – a showcase of diversity through a series of Latin American short films.
Pepa exclaimed: “I’m so absolutely excited and I think the line-up is incredible. I am super proud to be a part of this festival. It’s amazing.”
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