entertainment theatre

An interview with Rose McGowan

Ahead of performing her show Planet 9 tonight at Shoreditch Town Hall, Rose McGowan talks to BEAST magazine about the inspiration behind her imaginary world, and the healing power of music, memoir and story-telling for us all. By Laura Evans

Italian-born American activist, actress, author, model, and singer Rose McGowan

American actress, best-selling author and activist Rose McGowan will represent different things for different people. For those of us who watched cult TV series Charmed in the noughties, Rose was everyone’s favourite witch sister Paige. For others, perhaps a younger generation, she is the whistleblower who set the wheels spinning on the unprecedented, long needed #MeToo movement. Most recently though, Rose is the creator and performer of Planet 9 – a one-woman, multi-disciplinary show combining story-telling, singing and spoken word poetry, which she debuted at Edinburgh Fringe earlier this year. In it, Rose transports the audience far away from earth and all its brokenness, to her new planet, Planet 9, where everything is fair and everyone is safe. For Rose, it’s long been a refuge. Born in Italy, she grew up in the Children of God cult and lived with her parents at the sect’s large commune, before fleeing to America when the controversial group began advocating child-adult sex. And so her imaginary planet was born – a space to escape to in the midst of chaos. Over the years Rose has retreated there when necessary, to gain peace and re-energise, and today at 7pm she’s bringing that deep sense of creativity, strength and power to the stage to share it with us all.

What inspired Planet 9?
Some trauma can only be healed with art, and that was true for me. I created the fantasy of my own planet when I was a small child. Five years ago, astronomers found Planet 9. Motivated by that, I decided to start making music. I wrote lyrics, and used my voice to express all of the emotion I couldn’t speak.

How did it come to be the show it is now?
It’s an artwork in progress. I’m still tinkering!

In your own words, how would you describe Planet 9 for someone who has no context or background?
It’s really the concept of the idealised place we all want to live, where we can be free from judgement and all the bad things that happen to us down here. Through my visuals and music, I want people to feel what could be possible.

What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance?
I’d like them to go home and think about what their own planet 9 would be like, and inspire them to create their own art.

How has your relationship with the show changed since its inception?
After performing live in Edinburgh, I decided to do things differently. I’m going to speak for the first 15 minutes, and then have the music and visuals, with me in it intermittently. I really want people to be immersed in the experience.

How is it linked to your memoir, Brave?
I produced and recorded the album for Planet 9 when I was writing my book – they are very interconnected. For those who have read it, their reward for going through the tough stuff is the music that comes next.

What made you decide to sing parts of the production?
I love singing, so it seemed logical to use my voice in different ways to express myself.

What’s next for you?
Continuing to create visual art. I’m passionate about shooting videos and directing.

Where do you hangout when you’re in East London? Any recommendations?

I like Hackney City Farm, and Columbia Flower Market. At night, it’s more random spots that call to me.

Rose McGowan’s Planet 9 is on tonight, Tuesday 1st October, 7-9pm
Shoreditch Town Hall, Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
Tickets £20, available to buy here.

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