Performer Alex Jarrett is taking on a tough role this winter. The young actor tells the story of a teenager sold into marriage in Ailia’s one-woman drama AISHA. In our new interview she tells us about coping with the emotions of the story and the invaluable support she’s received. Have a read then book your tickets for the show’s final dates, 4 to 5 January at Tristan Bates Theatre.
AISHA tells the story of a 14-year-old girl whose parents force her to marry a 51-year-old man. Aisha is sold for an expensive bride-price that her parents use to better themselves while they abandon their daughter. It is an act they justify using cultural and religious traditions. Aisha’s husband is sadistic and abusive. She cannot leave the house, communicate with the outside world, or even wash herself on a regular basis. She is denied every human right. How will she cope?
The play was first seen at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in 2017, but the piece, which is written in modern verse, has been altered since. At the Hen & Chickens Theatre it was staged with an ensemble cast. This year it is staged as a one-woman play.
Former Young Major of Newham, Alex Jarrett, takes the title role. Her previous stage roles include Boyz and Gyals at Theatre Royal Stratford East and Hacktivists at the National Theatre. She also appeared in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony and will feature in the upcoming BBC miniseries, Les Misérables.
The Home Office estimates that between 5,000 and 8,000 young people a year are at risk of forced marriage. In 2017, almost 1,200 cases of forced marriage were reported to the government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), and of these, more than 25% involved victims under the age of 18. In the 2017 report published by the Home Office and Foreign Office, which runs the FMU, the departments stress: “Forced marriage is a hidden crime, and these figures may not reflect the full scale of the abuse.”
AISHA runs from 3 to 8 December 2018 at Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4NJ, from 9 to 10 December at King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper St, London N1 1QN and from 4 to 5 January 2019 at Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower St, London WC2H 9NP. Performance times and ticket prices vary by venue. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Alex Jarrett interview
What grabbed you about AISHA that made you want to be part of the production?
How would you describe Aisha, the person?
How much did you know about child marriage before taking on the role, and what research have you done?
Jimmy Akingbola came to see you at the Old Red Lion. What’s it like to have the support of someone like him?
How are you feeling about ending this London tour at Tristan Bates Theatre?
Why should audiences come and see the show?