Interview with writer and performer Sabrina Mahfouz

Sabrina Mahfouz

Sabrina Mahfouz

Dry Ice got great reviews in Edinburgh, tell us about the piece.
Dry Ice is my first piece of work which combines a rapid-fire poetry style with my love of theatre. It follows Nina, who is a stripper, through an evening of getting ready at home; telling dinner party stories and finally, going to work.

Is it political?
Yes. I think everything is political. Women choosing to take their clothes off for money; the increasing sexualisation of society and the exponential increase in strip clubs since the first ‘official’ UK one opened in 1995, is no exception.

Where did the inspiration come from?
I worked as a waitress in stripclubs for 5 years and I wrote lots of poems about that time, which eventually formed the beginnings of the show. I wanted to question the statement ‘it’s a free choice’ and explore the roles women are given in our society. As well as just make a fun show that put accessible poetry at the heart of it.

What are the myths about the sex industry?
That stripping isn’t part of it. That stripclubs somehow belong to the genre of ‘nightlife’ rather than ‘sex industry’. Even legally, it is still at a council’s discretion as to whether they are classed as ‘sex entertainment venues’ or just as a regular bar or cafe.

Where are you on the Pussycat Dolls?
I mention then in the play! As a reference to the protaganist, Nina not being able to tell her mum she’s a stripper because of what the neighbours might say – even though the neighbours love the Pussycat Dolls.

I’m not keen on their image at all (and I think it’s hopefully had it’s day now), but the generic, bland music coming out of the US which is given forced airplay  is what offends me more!

Other than performing, what are you most looking forward to at WOW?
Oh everything! I’m looking forward to Shabnam Shabazi telling me a tale in a car; to Equals Live and to all the many discussions that sound amazing, with some of my favourite women of the world.

Sabrina Mahfouz performs Dry Ice on Saturday 10 March


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