The award-winning theatre company Cardboard Citizens has today announced an ambitious season of new work at The Bunker in London this April.
Celebrating 25 years of making work with and for homeless people, the company will continue its exploration of the state of housing in nine new plays commissioned by Cardboard Citizens from some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights. This timely and playful season, presented in an immersive format, will look back at the history of UK housing, from the Victorian housing crisis through Heathcote Williams’ true story of squatting in the 1970s to the ravages of Rachmanism in the 1950s and white flight in the 21st century. The nine plays will be split into three Cycles, each Cycle can be seen as a stand-alone production, or alternatively audiences can book discounted multi-Cycle tickets or take part in a theatrical sit in and watch all nine plays in one go. The season runs 17 April to 13 May with press performances on 20, 21 and 22 April.
Playwrights who have written new work for the season include: Sonali Bhattacharyya, Lin Coghlan, EV Crowe, Anders Lustgarten, Stef Smith, Nessah Muthy, Chris O’Connell, David Watson and Heathcote Williams with Sarah Woods. The productions will be individually directed by Cardboard Citizen’s Founder and Artistic Director Adrian Jackson and rising star Caitlin McLeod.
Adrian Jackson said: “My hope is that Home Truths will offer, through the kaleidoscope of history, a glimpse of what is happening now. This season of short plays will, by reference to notable historical events and periods, give our audience a fresh perspective on what is happening now, in the phenomenon commonly known as ‘the housing crisis’. And perhaps give us some glimpse of how we might find our way out of this mess.”
The announcement marks the continuation of an exciting period of time for the company, who staged a one-off enactment of Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home at the Barbican last summer, supported by Loach himself. A brand new critically acclaimed Forum Theatre touring production Cathy, based around similar themes, followed which is currently touring to theatres, prisons, hostels and food banks across the UK and has been seen by more than 3,500 people.
On 27 February the company will take Cathy to the House of Lords as part of the Homes for Cathy event. Homes for Cathy comprises a number of housing associations who have come together to mark the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home and highlight the continuing needs of homeless people. The special performance will be used to present Cardboard Citizens’ Cathy Laws – suggestions and recommendations for legislative changes to support homeless people that have been made at the end of every performance of Cathy by its audience members from across the tour demonstrating Cardboard Citizens’ commitment to using theatre for social change.
Adrian Jackson is the Founder, Director and Chief Executive of Cardboard Citizens. Adrian founded Cardboard Citizens in 1991 and since then he has directed over 30 productions for the company, devising and writing many of them including Pericles and Timon (with RSC) The Beggar’s Opera (with ENO),The Lower Depths (with London Bubble), Mincemeat (winner of Evening Standard award). He directed his own play, A Few Man Fridays at Riverside Studios in 2012, and Kate Tempest’s Glasshouse in 2013. In 2013 he wrote and directed an intervention in Elmgreen/Dragset’s installation Tomorrow at the V & A. He recently directed Cardboard Citizens’ touring production Cathy. Adrian also teaches the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology all over the world.
Caitlin McLeod worked as Trainee Director at the Royal Court from 2011-12 assisting Jeremy Herrin (Headlong), Dominic Cooke (former Artistic Director, Royal Court) and James MacDonald. During that period she directed three sell-out shows at the Finborough Theatre, and went on to be Staff Director at the Globe (Hamlet) and the National Theatre (Strange Interlude). She has subsequently directed shows at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Hampstead Theatre and two critically acclaimed shows in New York (And I And Silence and One Flea Spare). Last year she was selected from over 1300 applicants to be one of the inaugural Old Vic 12; a talent group supported by The Old Vic comprised of the most exciting emerging theatre-makers in the UK. This year Caitlin won a Sky Academy Scholarship to found her new company The Coterie.
Design is by James Turner, lighting is by Elliot Griggs, sound and composition by Lewis Gibson and Tom Parkinson, and costume is by Holly Henshaw. Casting is still to be announced.
Artistic Director Joshua McTaggart says: “We are really excited to welcome Cardboard Citizens and its hugely ambitious Home Truths to The Bunker this April. The company's 25 years of theatre making has celebrated and championed values close to the heart of The Bunker: community engagement, social issues and event theatre. We cannot wait to hear the stories being told by these nine playwrights and for The Bunker to become home to a gang of actors bringing these necessary stories to life.”
As with all Cardboard Citizens productions, a proportion of tickets for Home Truths will be made available to homeless audiences at £1.
by Sonali Bhattacharyya
1887. Polly, 16, clashes with her mother, Ada, against the backdrop of the Victorian housing crisis. Polly is desperate to escape the slums at any cost, but Ada believes the compromises they’d have to make are too high. A story about the ‘deserving poor’ and the obstacles they face, whatever choices they make.
Sonali Bhattacharyya’s credits include 2066 (Almeida), Twelve (Kali Theatre), These Four Streets (Birmingham Rep), A Thin Red Line (Kali Theatre, Birmingham Rep & Black Country Touring) and the South Bank Show Award nominated White Open Spaces (Pentabus Theatre). She was a member of the inaugural Old Vic 12. She is developing Deepa The Saint (with Theatre 503), musical Kali’s Toenail (with Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Invisible Boy for Tricycle Theatre's Mapping Brent project.
The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency
by Heathcote Williams with Sarah Woods
Squat Now While Stocks Last. In the early 1970s, Heathcote Williams and friends set up an ‘estate agency’ to provide free accommodation for homeless people:
‘A tiny oasis in the capitalist consumerist shit-hole run by bloviating wank-puddles, and the forces of awe and boredom’.
This is their story.
Heathcote Williams is a poet, playwright, author and actor. His first book, The Speakers, was published in 1964 to critical acclaim and he went on to write a selection of award-winning epic poems. Heathcote’s play The Local Stigmatic, first played at the Royal Court in 1966, was made into a film by Al Pacino and his The Immortalist was produced by the National Theatre and in New York. Heathcote has written and advised on a number of feature films including Looking For Richard, Hotel, and Malatesta. He has also written extensively for radio and television, including Hancock's Last Half Hour and What the Dickens?.
Sarah Woods is Narrative Artist at Cardboard Citizens, where she works both as playwright and dramaturg. She is currently writing commissions for London Bubble, BBC Radio 4 and Birmingham Opera. Recent campaign work includes the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon: Making It Happen project, the Fabian Society’s Commission on Food and Poverty, and the Ashden Trust’s Visioning London project.
by Stef Smith
Nine months. Two couples. One building. Four people are trying to figure out their futures but with their backs against the breadline everyone is struggling to stay afloat. White flight, fertility and inhospitality are explored in this poetic domestic drama that examines the difference between a house and a home.
Stef Smith is an award-winning playwright whose credits include: Girl In The Machine (Traverse Theatre), Human Animals (Royal Court), Swallow (Traverse Theatre), Remote (NT Connections), Tea And Symmetry (BBC Radio Scotland), Falling/Flying (Tron Theatre) and Roadkill (Edinburgh Festival). Awards include a Fringe First for both Swallow and Roadkill, with Roadkill also winning an Olivier in 2010. Stef is an Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre.
by Lin Coghlan
In the backroom of a house in South London, residents from 2017 and 1919 find themselves struggling with similar challenges – what is home and in order to find one what might one be prepared to sacrifice? Wine is consumed, secrets confronted and the longing for a place to call one's own unites the people who shared this space a hundred years apart.
Lin Coghlan is from Dublin. She wrote her first play for Theatre Centre and has since written widely for film, television, radio and theatre, working for companies including Clean Break, where her play Apache Tears won the Peggy Ramsey Award. Her work for the stage includes The Night Garden (National Studio/ Northcott Theatre Exeter), Waking and Mercy (both Soho Theatre), Kingfisher Blue (Bush Theatre) and The Miracle (National Theatre). Her films include First Communion Day (BBC Films), which won the Dennis Potter Play of the Year Award, and Some Dogs Bite (BBC/Kindle Entertainment) which won the Audience Prize at the Nantes British Film Festival.
Put In The Schwarzes And De-Stat It
by Nessah Muthy
London. 1958. Two women, one black, one white, battle against the ravages of Rachmanism and the 'other'. Amidst fear, hate, violence and racism war is unleashed on streets of Notting Hill. Will either woman make it home?
Nessah Muthy is currently writing plays for HighTide, the National Youth Theatre, Kali Theatre and Theatre Centre. For screen, Nessah is currently under commission to BBC Drama, as part of the BBC Writers' Programme 2016/17.
Yellow Front Door
by Anders Lustgarten
Michael is one of the lucky ones. He’s got the Right to Buy. The right to choose the colour of his own front door. The right to leave this dreary, dull little life behind and seek adventure. To spread his wings and become the man he always knew he could be. And he can’t wait…
Anders Lustgarten is a political playwright. His play Lampedusa, about the migrant crisis and austerity, has been staged in a dozen European countries over the past year. His play The Seven Acts Of Mercy, which combines Caravaggio and 17th century Naples with 21st century Bootle, is currently running in the RSC’s Swan Theatre. And his play The Secret Theatre, about Sir Francis Walsingham and the invention of the surveillance state, will play at Shakespeare’s Globe this autumn. He’s also a political activist who’s been arrested in four continents.
by David Watson
June 1936. In a purgatorial reunion with her late husband Samuel, the philanthropist and social reformer Henrietta Barnett is asked what she would consider her greatest achievement. Her answer lies in NW11 between Golders Green and Finchley. But a trip to the 21st century might just trigger a rude awakening…
David Watson’s plays include Pieces Of Vincent (Arcola/Paines Plough), Flight Path (Bush/Out of Joint) and Just A Bloke (Royal Court Young Writers Festival.) He has written extensively for community and prison companies, with work including Knife Edge (Big House), Housed (Old Vic Community Company) and Any Which Way (Only Connect.) His short plays include The Politician’s Handbook (Royal Court) and You Cannot Go Forward From Where You Are Now (Oran Mor/Paines Plough.) His adaptations include Ibsen’s Ghosts (Home, Manchester) and Phillip Pullman’s I Was A Rat (Birmingham Rep.) For television, he wrote for three series of L8R (Actorshop/BBC), for which he won three Children’s BAFTAs. He wrote the screenplay for The Hope Rooms (Rather Good Film/Bill Kenwright Productions).
by EV Crowe
Anna's sick and she knows what she's got. She tries to tell her husband Martin, who is back from the war, and their friend Abel and then the doctor. She had it before the little place, it got a bit better in the communist squat, then worse again in the pigsty. But no one believes her illness is real, or what it means or that you can die from it.
EV Crowe’s credits for the Royal Court Theatre: The Sewing Group, Hero, Kin. Other theatre includes: Brenda (Hightide/Yard); I Can Hear You (RSC); Liar Liar (Unicorn Theatre); Doris Day (Clean Break/Soho); Young Pretender (nabokov) and ROTOR (Siobhan Davies Dance). Television includes: Glue, Big Girl. Radio includes: How To Say Goodbye Properly. Awards include: Imison Award for Radio, and Hero was part of Olivier Award-winning season in the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs.
by Chris O’Connell
A series of unforeseen events change 51 year old Lorna’s life irrevocably. When she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, only days afterwards, in a freak timing of events, her landlord announces that he is evicting her and she is plunged into a world she knows nothing of. Benefits, homelessness testing, bidding for social housing.
Chris O’Connell is an award-winning writer for theatre, TV and radio. Credits include Fringe First Award winners Raw and Car (Time Out Live Award), and plays for the RSC, Frantic Assembly and the Belgrade Theatre. He is Artistic Director and writer for Theatre Absolute, which founded the UKʼs first professional shop front theatre in an empty fish and chip shop in Coventry city centre.
Performance dates & times
CYCLE 1 (RED)
17th April (Preview), 19:30
20th April (Press), 19:00
24th and 27th April, 3rd, 6th, and 10th May, 19:30
CYCLE 2 (BLUE)
18th April (Preview), 19:30
21st April (Press), 19:00
25th and 28th April, 4th, 8th, and 11th May, 19:30
CYCLE 3 (YELLOW)
19th April (Preview), 19:30
22nd April (Press), 19:00
26th April, 2nd, 5th, 9th, and 12th May, 19:30
TRIPLE BILL DAYS (GREEN)
Saturday 29th April, 12:00
Saturday 13th May, 12:00
All running times TBC
THREE Cycles / Triple Bill Performances
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