In October 2021, I had the absolute pleasure of sharing the stage with acclaimed Actor, David Harewood, MBE for an exclusive, intimate and honest conversation at the National Theatre and it was rather special.
The last time I was on stage at the National Theatre was in 2006. I was auditioning for a musical called Caroline or Change. I was down to the last two for a part called Emmie – I didn’t get it & it was not long after that I left the acting industry, for good. That clearly wasn’t my path.
Back on this stage (with less than a week to prepare a-hem) in a different role, with incredible actor – & now fellow author David Harewood (who I fondly like to call Mr Hollywood). Nova Reid in Conversation with David Harewood was stripped back, no costumes, no lines or script to hide behind. Just us.
David & I made a conscious choice to move off – piece and decided to keep it real & honest. Writing books that centre racial trauma & mental health is no easy feat. It becomes conflicting & exposing when your trauma is almost commodified & at every interview you are asked, or expected to talk about it. We spoke about the toll that takes and how many publishers have no idea of the cost it takes to hold this work and to simply get up on stage and talk about racism and some of the darkest places you’ve been in.
We spoke about the real human cost. We spoke about straddling the reality & understanding the importance of sharing our stories and how healing it is for others going down a similar path to hear and be seen and validated by them. We covered transgenerational trauma,gaslighting and assholes (lol). We also spoke about Blackness and Britishness. British vs U.S racism, mental health, healthcare, boundaries, rest & recovery, acting and a whole lot more.
Thank you David for both trusting me with your experience and sensitively holding mine.
David’s beautifully human & compelling book about his own experience of identity, psychosis & the impact of racism on mental health: Maybe I Don’t Belong Here along with The Good Ally, by yours truly, are out now.
Thank you to the National Theatre for welcoming and hosting us. Thank you to the near 800 who came digitally or joined us as part of our intimate live studio audience.
You can watch the playback on demand here for free .
Header image: Becky Bailey Photography