Portrait of Krishna Istha

Krishna Istha

Krishna Istha is a London based writer, performance artist, comedian and theatre maker. They have performed extensively across the UK, Germany, Australia and USA.

Since 2013, Krishna has performed, written, devised and collaborated with artists and theatre companies on works spanning theatre, opera, comedy and performance art. Select performance credits include Bullish (2016–2018, National Tour UK); Wild Bore (2017-current, Skirball Centre NYC, Malthouse Theatre Melbourne, Sydney Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Soho Theatre London); Sex Worker’s Opera (2015-2018, Pleasance Theatre London, Campagnie Theatre Amsterdam); The Butch Monologues (2014–2018, across the UK and New York City). 

Krishna’s solo show, Beast, directed by Barry Award-winner Zoe Coombs Marr, is a stand-up comedy show, about their trans-gender, trans-national, trans-genre performance life. 

Currently, they are touring Beast and F*ck Fabulous (a variety show by Yana Alana). They are also working on a new commission from Roundhouse London co-writing a new play with Travis Alabanza and Emma Frankland  for a company of young trans actors premiering in 2020 as part of the main season in the Sackler Space at Roundhouse. 

Krishna’s first taste of making avant-garde, form transgressing, trash-but-not-trash work started with their involvement with Duckie in London in 2013. Some big names Krishna has since worked with internationally – the Southbank Centre (London), Soho Theatre (London), Chelsea Theatre (London), National Theatre (London), Arcola Theatre (London), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Pleasance Theatre (London), Brighton Dome (London), Latitude festival (UK), Unity Theatre (Liverpool), Traverse Theatre (Edinburgh), Abron Arts Centre (NYC), La Mama (NYC), New York Theatre Workshop, La Mama Courthouse (Melbourne), Malthouse Theatre (Melbourne), First Draft (Sydney), Sydney Festival, Arts House Melbourne and the International Festival of Feminism and Public Spaces (Germany).

In 2017, Krishna set up, curated and produced the Australian chapter of the Cocoa Butter Club alongside Dani Boi (drag activist and community organiser). The Cocoa Butter Club is a cabaret and performance night that showcases and celebrates indigenous and/or performers of colour. The events run quarterly at the Melba Spiegeltent in Melbourne. In January 2018, the Cocoa Butter Club Australia staged a sold-out show at Arts Centre Melbourne (the largest performing arts venue in Australia) as part of Midsumma Festival. You can find out more about TCBC at www.thecocoabutterclub.com/au 

Krishna also sits on the board of the Raze Collective UK, runs workshops for queer youth and lectures at universities ever so often. 

Photo: Andrew Wuttke