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Travis Alabanza delivers a powerful trans reclamation story with ‘Burgerz’

Travis Alabanza
Travis Alabanza performs in “Burgerz.” Photo courtesy of Holly Revell.

Hurled words. Thrown objects. Dodged burgers.

After someone threw a burger at them and shouted a transphobic slur, Travis Alabanza became obsessed with burgers. How they’re made. How they feel and smell. How they travel through the air. How the mayonnaise feels on one’s skin.

Burgerz” is the culmination of this obsession. The Moss Arts Center presents three performances of Alabanza’s solo work on Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 9, at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Presented in partnership with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Virginia Tech, the performances will be held in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube, located at 190 Alumni Mall.

Burgerz” explores how trans bodies survive and how, by them reclaiming an act of violence, others can address their own complicity. Carving out a place for themselves as one of the U.K.’s prominent trans voices, Alabanza presents a performance that is funny and timely, yet unsettling and powerful.

Video: https://youtu.be/3MjUr0OHTAs

Alabanza is an award-winning theatre maker, writer, and performer, as well as a previous member of the Royal Court Young Writers group and Barbican young poets. “Burgerz” has toured internationally to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Southbank Centre in London; Bristol Old Vic; Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin; HAU in Berlin; and Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, where it won the Total Theatre award. The Moss Arts Center engagement and a run in Boston will be its first performances in the United States.

Alabanza has performed their solo work in a range of venues, galleries, and mediums. In 2016-17, they were the youngest recipient of the Tate Gallery Workshop residency. They have written for Metro, Vice, Gal-Dem, The Independent, Dazed, Gay Times, and more.

In 2018-19, Alabanza was listed on the “Dazed100” — 100 people defining culture — awarded a Gay Times Honours award for their work in the LGBT+ community, and featured in the “25 influential people under 25” list by the Evening Standard. Recently Bernadine Evaristo with The Sunday Times Style named Alabanza as a “trailblazer of the future” to watch.

In February 2021, Alabanza led a virtual residency with Virginia Tech students and faculty and the wider Blacksburg community, which included online class visits and a conversation with the artist and their collaborator Sam Curtis Lindsay about the development and performance of “Burgerz.”

This performance contains mature themes and language and involves the cooking of real meat.

Related engagement events

Alabanza will participate in a public discussion and question-and-answer session moderated by S. Moon Cassinelli, assistant professor in the Department of English, on Wednesday, April 6, at 6 p.m. in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre. Co-sponsored by the Center for European Union, Transatlantic, and Trans-European Space Studies, the event invites audience members to engage with the artist on topics such as trans expression in public space, allyship, race, and arts-based activism. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Alabanza will also engage with Virginia Tech students in theatre arts and women’s and gender studies courses via online and in-person discussions and workshops on a variety of subjects, including race, gender, and sexuality as cultural constructs; devising for solo theatre performance; and applying the arts to social justice.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performance are $25 for general admission and $10 for Virginia Tech students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

The Moss Arts Center adheres to the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Tech in its operations. More information about these requirements is available on the Moss Arts Center website.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.


augusta free press
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