Camden Close-Up: Jackie Hagan

Love Camden loves its local talent. We aim to celebrate everything cultural in the borough, from Hampstead to Kilburn, from the British Library to that little café around the corner - we are always out to show what Camden has to offer. As part of this we launched our Camden Close-Up series: interviews with artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs and downright interesting figures that live, work or are inspired by the borough.

This month we spoke to Jackie Hagan, whose show 'This Is Not A Safe Space' at Camden People's Theatre will run from 17 to 21 of April, featuring the real voices of proper skint disabled people about the complicated weirdness of being human. Expect puppetry, poetic comedy and more!

What would you would do if you weren’t doing this? What would your parallel life look like?
I’d still have my false leg (it lights up and is glitter ridden) but I would be an awesome dinner lady who’d champion the misfits and give the skint kids crisps.

What do you think is most important: luck, chance, opportunity or hard-graft?
You can graft yourself bone dry but if the opportunity isn’t there you’ve no chance. That’s why we need to make the system work for working class people - at the moment you’ve got to drag up as middle class to get by which is crackers.

What has been your most career defining moment to date and why?
Hitting rock bottom in a Salford psychiatric ward. I was heading towards academia which would have strangled me, instead I spent ten years untangling in a bedsit, it turns out I was really really angry at the world and couldn’t put it into words. Finding a voice (and finding your people) is massive.

What are you most proud of and what are you least proud of……and why?
I’m proud of my hometown, Skem. It gets a lot of shit, it was a utopian new town in the 60s and now it’s studied in the GCSE syllabus as a failed project. The people in Skem are the funniest I’ve met - forthright and honest and always offer you a cup of tea right when you need it. 

I’m least proud of times when I haven’t had the balls to speak up for what’s right.

Tell us a secret
Don't presume someone's middle class because they've got a neutral accent and a Fitbit.


Jackie Hagan is a working-class queer disabled poet, performer and theatre maker and a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow. Her work focuses on celebrating the experiences of people left out of the mainstream. Her solo show Some People Have Too Many Legs won the 2015 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show and toured nationally to venues including Hull Truck and Bristol Old Vic. Her play Cosmic Scallies was commissioned by Graeae and ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in summer 2017.

Check out the full line up of the Common People Festival on our Camden VOX page or visit Camden People's Theatre's website