Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 08 April 2019

Interview: Elijah W Harris Talks Rotterdam & Positives Of Seeing Trans & Non-Binary People On Stage @ Theatre Royal Brighton

'Trans stories told by trans people are vital to the progression of theatre', says actor Elijah W Harris, who stars in Rotterdam, at Theatre Royal Brighton, this week.

Written by acclaimed playwright Jon Brittain, co-creator of Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, writer of A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) and staff writer on The Crown, Rotterdam is a bittersweet comedy about gender, sexuality and being a long way from home.

Elijah W Harris is a London based actor and writer working in film and theatre, and has has contributed to Dazed Beauty and Ladybeard Magazine, writing about his experiences as a trans man.

Q/ Tell us about Rotterdam.

Elijah W Harris: Rotterdam is a play about a couple navigating their relationship when one of them, Adrian, comes out as a trans man. It is a lot to do with identity and how one's identity can grow and shift, and the impact that has on those around us.

Q/ What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?

Elijah W Harris: Well I hope they enjoy it! Jon Brittain's writing is very nuanced but has an everyday feel to it, which makes it so easy to see yourself in the characters and their words, whatever the subject matter.

It has definitely made me think about my relationships and how I communicate so I hope it does that for the audience also.

And of course, I hope that the content plus seeing trans and non-binary people on stage will encourage people to embrace the trans people around them. And allow the LGBTIA+ audience members to feel seen, because it doesn't happen often enough!

Q/ Rotterdam has had a very successful life in London. How do you think the show will be perceived by audiences around the country?

Elijah W Harris: I am so excited to be touring this show; it often feels like everything happens in London and it is easy for creatives to become London-centric. I am from Leicester and seeing this show growing up would have changed my life, and I am not just saying that. Of course, the internet connects anyone at any time but seeing someone like you, telling a story like yours, in the flesh, in your space? Well there is truly nothing like it.

Q/ Tell us about you and your story.

Elijah W Harris: I grew up in Leicester and moved to London when I was 18 for university. I never really knew where I fit within society and struggled with my mental health for a long time. I started to understand that I needed to transition at some point along the way, between acting and seemingly endless bar jobs. I began medically transitioning about 3 years ago - transitioning doesn't solve all of life's problems but now I walk down the street with a straight back and my eyes up.

Q/ Did you always want to act?

Elijah W Harris: Yes, though I was also really into sports growing up and played pretty much anything I could. I remember playing one of Fat Sam's gang in Bugsy Malone at High School and just feeling like that made a lot of sense.

When I moved to London, I got a degree because I thought that was the most sensible option - I would be able to get a "proper job". I didn't know anything about drama schools and I certainly didn"t think that I was welcome in a place like that. 

They can't teach that confidence or entitlement in state schools that private education seems to create. You are automatically on the back foot, feeling like an intruder somehow.

Q/ Any advice for budding actors?

Elijah W Harris: Be kind to yourself, the industry can be hard and sometimes not very nice, so make up for that by giving yourself time and be patient. Learn to lift yourself up, make your own contacts and create opportunities for yourself.

If you or your experiences are not represented on stage or TV then create something, be the change, be the person that you needed to see growing up.

Q: What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

Elijah W Harris: This show has so so so much heart and is a lot of fun. It won't be like anything else you've seen or will see for a while so don't miss it!

Rotterdam is played at Theatre Royal Brighton earlier this week. 

by: Mike Cobley




Share    


Creature Creature can, via the imminent release of their first collection of self-penned tracks, Two Finger Tantrum, be labelled the new flag bearers of rock. The Brighton-based five piece have furrowed a new burrow at the summit of an age old genre. With this debut album they will be looking over their shoulders at the also-rans for many years to come.


Migrate Art, the art organisation fundraising to support displaced and homeless people, has partnered with ten major contemporary artists and illustrators to create limited editions of re-usable, reversible face masks.

Romesh Ranganathan is Straight Outta Crawley, in West Sussex, and on his last nationwide tour, Irrational, he was pondering whether he has an irrational viewpoint on the world or whether that can be attributed to absolutely everyone else.

Returning after four years away, Aidan Knight's penchant for astute observations and personal reflections remains a compelling component of his songwriting.


Young people across the UK will have the chance to find out what it's like to be a record label boss, a film director or a theatre producer through a new podcast series from Lookout that brings together industry professionals from stage, screen and music to share their invaluable insights and experience on how to get into the creative industries.
Credit J. Taylor

Extinction Rebellion Brighton held a socially distanced protest on Hove seafront calling for a bigger public say in how society rebuilds following the coronavirus crisis.
Credit Andrew Gambling

The South Downs National Park photo competition is now open, with a first prize of £250 on offer to the amateur or professional photographer who best captures this year's theme of 'My tranquil haven'.

"In rock music, it's really easy to talk about partying and shagging girls and all that kind of stuff," says Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin. "But for us, what we were singing about had to be deeper, it had to mean something. We had to talk about our experiences and what we were going through."

Throughout COVID-19 isolation, everyone has become aware of the supportive and stimulating power of music. Although many people want to learn, they have no access to musical instruments or tuition - especially with schools and shops currently closed. 
Credit: Andy Sturmey

Barely a year since their debut album Dogrel, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. are set to return with A Hero's Death.

The Rec Rooms is an independent music and comedy venue in Horsham, West Sussex, which was opened by three locals just over eighteen months ago. 

This Saturday, 30th May, Together Co, the Brighton & Hove based charity that exists to end loneliness, is hosting a virtual music festival that will see more than twenty bands perform for free to raise money to help the most vulnerable and isolated.  

Following Brighton Festival's digital programme during lockdown, poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE has confirmed he will return as guest director in 2021. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd