When it comes to creating work, I am particularly interested in looking for ways of speaking out, of telling the world things that bug me, that affect me personally or that affect those close to me. I tend to be specially inclined to want to draw attention to the ‘elephant in the room’ and find ways to invite us all to talk about it, which is the case with STARDUST.

Stardust by Alex B

Stardust by Alex B

Colombia and Colombians are always associated with Cocaine. When I came to the UK 11 years ago, I spent my first few hours in an enclosed room at the airport where I was interrogated whilst my bags were thoroughly checked, as came out of the room I was upset and shocked but equally just happy to be here, I was 19, I didn’t speak the language and I was just starting a new venture. From then on life here has been an amazing learning experience and I am ever so grateful. But over the years whenever I I told people what my nationality is, I have been bombarded by judgements that challenge my assumed association with cocaine or “narcotraffic”. These have varied from ‘harmless’, ‘funny’ comments by friends at gatherings, to firm interrogations by authorities. Naturally this doesn’t just happen to me, it happens to all my Colombian compatriots and we all struggle with it.  

Whilst it’s true that Colombia is the biggest producer of cocaine in the world and  has a history of violence fuelled by the illegal trade; the general assumption that every  Colombian is by default “narcotraficante”, and that the whole thing is somehow exciting and fun, just like how TV programs and films make it look. That hurts and it does so because it’s such simplistic view and only helps to fuel that narrative that Colombians and Latin Americans are criminals and therefore have to be penalized, and this opens doors for a failed war on drugs and allows oppression to continue destroying the lives of millions of people in Latin America, whilst simultaneously distracting attention from the fact that no one is actually dealing with the problem and hardly anyone questioning the role that the rest of the world plays in the perpetuation of this senseless loss of lives.

My realisation that what I and my fellow Colombians are living is not just a general cultural stereotype but part of bigger and more complex issue for which Colombia and Latin America pay a high human price,  made the elephant in the room clear to my eyes and made the creation of STARDUST an urgent piece that I just had to bring to life.

The creative team behind STARDUST, of which I am part of, have created a multi discipline solo performance that is irreverent, impassionate and entertaining,  and brings a range of Colombian voices to create strong emotional connections with our audiences and invite them all to join the conversation.

“STARDUST  written by Daniel Dingsdale, originated and performed by Miguel H Torres Umba, is brought to life through a strong creative collaboration with a team or artist including Diana Garcia, Luis Bonilla, Angelica quintero (colombia) Allison Ozeray (France) Daniel Dingsdale, Luke Harcourt, Alex marshall, Sofi Lee H and Cottia Thorowgood(UK)”

Stardust plays at the Edinburgh Festival from August 1st – 27th

Tickets: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stardust