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Poet opens up about brother's suicide for Stratford show

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 February 2017

Cecilia Knapp, Finding Home

Cecilia Knapp, Finding Home

Stratford Circus

Listening to Cecilia Knapp perform lines from her debut one-woman performance is both a melancholy and beautiful experience.

The poet, writer and spoken word artist creates melody in her prose, evocatively recounting her life experiences – but it’s not without tinges of sadness.

In Finding Home, the 24-year-old’s theatre piece about growing up in London, Cecilia opens up about her brother’s suicide when she was 19 and he just 21.

The Mile End resident has described his loss as a “heartbreaking situation” and her recollections are poignant in the lines that she delivers.

“I think of my brother Leo and some of his words to me. His stories of stolen nights in salty air, hating being different” – this extract in the “autobiographical piece” is one of several recollections by the young performer in the show.

Starting with her roots in a seaside town, Cecilia weaves the elements of her life in and out of a bicycle ride along a canal path, using personal home footage.

How hard must it have been to return to what happened?

“You do have to relive it in order to give a really authentic performance,” she said. However, while the writing was “cathartic”, transitioning the words from page to stage was harder.

“It is a challenging process but you really have to access those emotions,” she said. “I really believe in the story. It is just a process of becoming stronger as a performer.”

Cecilia is fast becoming a rising star. She has been performing since the age of 18 and is an alumni of the Camden Roundhouse poetry mentoring scheme.

Her poetry has been played by several BBC radio stations and she has already taken three spoken word shows to the Edinburgh Fringe.

She is now writing her first novel but was approached by Stratford Circus to perform Finding Home for a mini-festival on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

She says she was thrilled to be asked and is pleased to be bringing awareness to the subject of mental health, hoping audiences will see and enjoy the healing power of storytelling.

Tickets for Finding Home are £13-£15. The show is at 7pm on Wednesday, March 8 at Stratford Circus. Visit stratford-circus.com

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