BRIXTON heART ROOM
A BRIEF HISTORY
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1986
The living room theatre project was initially founded by Ernst Fischer and a group of six other gay men in 1986 with a series of movement workshops and four performances at 148 Mayall Road, as part of a South London Gay and Lesbian Arts Festival (OUT IN LAMBETH).

1990
In 1990, after a break of several years, BRIXTON heART ROOM was formed as a non-profit making loose association of neighbours, friends and local artists. In the period from Dec. 1990 – Dec. 1991 there have been three productions, all at the above address, covering a large range of styles and content and involving artists from widely differing backgrounds. In 1992 the group is aiming for greater public awareness with increased publicity and outreach work, including performances in other non-conventional performance spaces.
MISSION STATEMENT
BRIXTON heART ROOM Living Room Theatre Project intends to:

make the familiar unfamiliar

remove the dichotomy between (private) living and (public) performance spaces and to challenge received notions of what theatre is

explore, through performance, the cultural diversity of the community

create an informal and intimate atmosphere in which experienced and inexperienced performers as well as artists from other disciplines can meet, share their work and make personal contact with their audiences

encourage new audiences for experimental work and to stimulate the formation of other private/living room theatre projects


Performers are mainly recruited locally and new pieces are devised over several weeks through improvisation and discussion.
BRIXTON heART ROOM serves as an informal meeting place in which new contacts are made and in which several non-associated projects have been initiated. At least one other private performance venue has been created as a direct result of our work.

An aspect of major importance is the provision of support, opportunity and of facilities for vocational and non-vocational performers to explore their creativity and to gain confidence in themselves as artists.

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1992
As intended, 1992 saw the gradual extension of BRIXTON heART ROOM’s activities to include other non-conventional performance spaces.

Claudia Prietzel’s film MY LIVING ROOM IS A THEATRE had its world premier at BRIXTON heART ROOM in September to an overwhelmingly warm reception. It was subsequently shown in Ireland, at the CORK LESBIAN AND GAY FILM FESTIVAL, where it was voted ‘Favourite Film of the Festival’ by the viewers, and at LONDON LESBIAN AND GAY FILM FESTIVAL in March 1993, from where it went on tour to similar festivals in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

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The film had its German premiere in Claudia’s own living room in Berlin and was bought by WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), with a broadcast date scheduled for summer 1993.

Andreas Demetriou’s evening of Cypriot and Greek songs, SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, in April 1992, transferred two months later – bags of soil, candles, pallets and all – to the house of two of our guests, Valerie and Terry Vaughan in Blackheath, London.

Our silent ‘opera’ WATCHING MS MARY was filmed by BBC 2’s LATE SHOW to be included in a program about Private Performance and ‘Domestic Theatre’.

Adapted excerpts of the piece had previously been performed as part of Gay Sweatshop’s ONE NIGHT STANDS series on November 1, 1992 and also formed part of a performance to celebrate the opening of an exhibition on the history of the legislation of Homosexuality, in Munich, May 1993.

NOTE: The above reference to a BBC 2 programme on “Private Performance and ‘Domestic Theatre’” (WATCHING MS MARY) seems to have been something of an invention: the LATE SHOW film in question focused on Beth Shaw, another domestic performance practitioner, but disappointingly was never broadcast.

The event in Munich, at which Andreas Demetriou and Ernst Fischer performed in 1993, was of course concerned with German legislation of Homosexuality.

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The above texts were written in the early-to-mid 1990’s and hopefully provide a useful introduction to the history and concerns of BRIXTON heART ROOM. A third text, covering the year 1994/95 was produced, but is unfortunately no longer available.
For more detailed information about individual BRIXTON heART ROOM performances please see PERFORMANCES page. An exhaustive list of all Archive items can be found in the CATALOGUE. If you would like to study any of these in person, please make an appointment via the CONTACT page.