Arts Derbyshire


ISLAND OF LOVE: Stories of beauty, desire and conflict in Cyprus

ISLAND OF LOVE: Stories of beauty, desire and conflict in Cyprus

Cyprus. Birthplace of Aphrodite. An island of beauty, divided by war. Buxton Fringe stalwarts The Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company return with an intimate new show by New Writing Award-winner Polis Loizou. ‘Island of Love’ weaves biographical storytelling with mythology and folklore to explore Loizou’s identity, his family and his complex motherland.
Springing from the birth of the country’s infamous goddess, the show takes the audience on a journey of love, desire, sexuality… and war. From tales of outlaws and bridal kidnappings to fatness and French nutritionists, holy houses and conversion therapy to nationalism and division, the various faces of Cyprus are revealed.
The show began life as a commission by Inn Crowd, and toured small rural venues in 2022. This new, reworked iteration is a Buxton Fringe premiere. Following an Arts Council development grant, which resulted in last year’s ‘I Was A Teenage Bisexual’ (a one-man horror B-movie for the stage that satirised biphobia and was nominated for the Best New Writing award), Loizou wished to revisit this previous piece.

‘Having done something that looked at a topic that was serious to me in a lighthearted way, I wanted to look more seriously at something I’d previously treated lightheartedly,’ he says. ‘What with the anti-migrant, anti-queer rhetoric that’s been building in the run-up to the coming election, it’s an uncomfortable time to be a non-hetero migrant. I want to connect with people through stories of my family and my country, to celebrate cultural differences while highlighting universal truths and experiences. It feels more important now than ever to regard other humans as human.’

Loizou comes from a family of migrants and refugees, and an island still reeling from the effects of colonialism, partition and war. While there is humour in the personal anecdotes, there is also the pain of displacement and loss. And moments of joy within those. This is a show that acknowledges the fact that, like Aphrodite herself, the pleasant aspects of life – love, beauty, desire – can also bring conflict with them. But the reverse is also true.


Fri 5th July, 4pm
Mon 15th July, 4pm
Wed 17th July, 5.30pm
Underground at Spring Gardens
Tickets: £7-9

Polis Loizou

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