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    


Roy Hudd takes us on an oral journey from his beginnings in music hall to his upcoming starring role in Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, at Theatre Royal Brighton.

South African choreographer Dada Masilo's Giselle - which plays at Brighton Dome, this October - brings the ballet into the 21st century. The Soweto-born choreographer and dancer has taken the classic favourite and thoroughly shaken it up so audiences can anticipate the unexpected.

With a childhood spent foraging and learning to make flapjacks and nettle soup, followed by a life of touring as a musician around the world and delighting in the delicious local delicacies discovered along the way, a love for food and cooking has always been central to Cerys Matthews' life. 

It was two years ago that the then Brighton Festival Guest Director Kate Tempest played a secret gig in the city and performed an exclusive rendition of her unreleased new album, The Book Of Traps & Lessons.
Credit Chris Nash

With this autumn tour called Final Edition the The Richard Alston Dance Company will embark on its farewell tour, giving one final opportunity for a Brighton audience to see a live performance by what is undoubtedly one of the world's best dance ensembles.

A campaign & fund raiser is up-and-running to place a permanent rainbow crossing on St James Street, Kemp Town, Brighton.

Genre-blending artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Gazel has skillfully concocted an original theme that runs through her forthcoming debut album, Book Of Souls.
Credit Onneke Northcote-Green

Art lovers from far and wide will descend on East Sussex in the coming weeks as Artwave, the annual free arts festival, welcomes thousands of people into private homes, studios, galleries and workshops.

Mystery Jets' new single, Screwdriver - taken from their forthcoming sixth studio album, A Billion Heartbeats -  is an uncompromising look at the rise of the rebranded alt-right in the UK, built around a powerfully positive message: "Fight them with love / then the world will be ours".

Femme Fatale, the imagined meeting between activist Valerie Solanas and singer Nico, asks what might have happened if two female visionaries with very different methods had locked horns. 
Credit Miles Davies Photography

Director Claire Lewis brings this lovely adaptation of George Eliot's classic doorstop novel, The Mill on the Floss, to life at the Brighton Little Theatre with gusto. 
Credit Darren Bell

Jason Donovan is about to take his first steps in the role of producer, when the new production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert visits Theatre Royal Brighton, later this year.
Credit Andrew Whitton 2019

"Our last gig of the world tour was September 2018, in Brooklyn - I was done, had written no songs, nothing new, I thought I felt like quitting for a while," says Stereophonics frontman, Kelly Jones.

One Eyed Jacks was Spear of Destiny's second release on the major label Epic Records. For many original fans this is the band's seminal album.

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