Amaarah Rose Needham has been performing with south London-based theatre company Sounds Like Chaos since she was 14. She tells Giverny Masso about how her third professional show with the company, Wow, Everything Is Amazing, imagines a world where technology is the new religion…
Tell me about the shows you have done with Sounds Like Chaos?
The first one was called Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love and Physics. It was very interesting, it was about a group of young people trying to figure what love is through physics. There was a lot of physical theatre involved and random facts about how people don’t actually kiss because the electrons in their mouths repel each other. It was really weird but cool. After that, we did a show called Fire in the Machine, which was about capitalism in a very abstract way and how we overwork ourselves to try to feel valid and valuable, but in the end we destroy ourselves because we chase money and things that don’t matter.
What is Wow, Everything Is Amazing about?
It is set in the church of the future. We initially started talking about technology – how it works, what we think of it and how far there is to go. This escalated into the question: what if people were going to worship it, what if it became our God and how would that work? It broadened out very quickly from a small idea.
How did you get into theatre?
I was in some school plays and I really loved it and other people noticed I was decent and told my parents, and they said: “Let’s do something with it then.” I got involved with Sounds Like Chaos because my drama teacher at secondary school knew I wanted to continue drama, but my school didn’t offer that GCSE and she had heard about the company. I started going with one of my best friends. I also went to the Brit School where I did a BTec in Community Arts Practice. It was about making theatre inclusive, and that’s something that Sounds Like Chaos does. We work with a lot of inclusive theatre companies.
Tell me about Sounds Like Chaos?
It does a lot of really great work with youth companies. We make theatre about things that we are passionate about and things that matter to us. I think companies that work with young people are important. If this wasn’t about I wouldn’t have found my passion, I would have been stuck in an academic system that isn’t for me.
Does theatre need to be more accessible?
Yes. Theatre is seen as something old people do, or, if you do it, you’re stuck up. That’s not the case, I’m one of the least stuck-up people you’ll ever meet.
Training: BTec in Community Arts Practice at the Brit School in Croydon (2016-18)
First professional role: Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love and Physics with Sounds Like Chaos (2016)
Sounds Like Chaos will run at New Diorama Theatre in London on June 24, at Home in Manchester on June 29 and at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory on June 30. More information is available at: soundslikechaos.com