As previews begin for Home Truths, a season of new plays exploring the state of housing in the UK from the award-winning theatre company Cardboard Citizens who are celebrating 25 years of making work with and for homeless people, the company has announced a wide-ranging additional programme of free events supported by the National Lottery Fund (HLF).
The company has been awarded a grant of £45,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Festival, which will explore how the state of housing today can be understood in the context of history, and is designed to engage both the general public and people affected by homelessness. The season of plays runs at The Bunker theatre until 13 May and The Home Truths Festival of Heritage Events runs at various locations across London until June.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the Home Truths Festival of Heritage Events includes a series of exhibitions, a social housing walking tour thorough Tower Hamlets, film nights featuring documentary and iconic films from the past 60 years, workshops by the Museum of Homelessness asking how our society responds to homelessness, a creative symposium, and a historical look at how London has treated it’s poor historically at the Charles Dickens Museum.
The programme will also include a series of public talks and debates including an exploration of post-Second World War housing by acclaimed architect and Sterling Prize Winner (2000) Professor Will Alsop (RIBA) and Professor Nicholas Crowson, and a touring exhibition curated with materials from the Museum of Homelessness, housing associations, sector partners, and photographs and articles from the archives of Cardboard Citizens. The exhibition will tour hostels and day centres in London.
As part of the Festival, Cardboard Citizens will train a number of its Members – all who have experience of homelessness – in heritage skills, including archiving, testimony and creating historical records. Through practical workshops, as part of the project Members have worked to create small scenes that are featured in the Home Truths season of plays, performing nightly across the run. The series of plays at The Bunker will look back at the history of UK housing, from the Victorian housing crisis through to squatting in the 1970s, 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 take part in a theatrical sit in and watch all nine plays over the course of a day in one of two special Tri-Cycle performances.
All events with the exception of the creative symposium are free but require advanced booking.
As with all Cardboard Citizens productions, a proportion of tickets for the plays in Home Truths will be made available to people with experience of homelessness at £1.50.
THE HOME TRUTHS FESTIVAL OF HERITAGE EVENTS PROGRAMME
Visit cardboardcitizens.org.uk/HTFestival for more information and to book
Social Housing Walking Tour
22 April 2.30 – 4.30pm
Starting from Cardboard Citizens, 77A Greenfield Rd, E1 1EJ
Led by the social housing historian behind the acclaimed blog Municipal Dreams. Weave through the streets of Whitechapel and Tower Hamlets on this tour that will uncover the hidden stories of social housing, hostels and temporary abodes. Through visiting a variety of places that people have made their home, from council flats to squats, participants will discover the realities of past and present housing movements in one of London’s most unique and diverse areas.
Home Truths Film Nights
4 May / 9 May / 11 May 7pm - 9pm
London College of Communication, London SE1 6SB
A series of three film nights exploring history and current stories around housing and homelessness. Cardboard Citizens have collated submissions from film-makers, suggestions from housing and arts sector professionals, and their own digging in the archives to bring together a mix of fiction and documentary films about social housing and homelessness in London over the last 60 years, all the way up to the present with recent new films and tasters made for the Reel Homes short film competition. With thanks to the BFI Britain on Film, Inside Housing, LCC and all those who submitted.
6 May-10 June
The Museum of Homelessness invites audiences to explore some truths about housing and homelessness. Inspired by the themes in the Home Truths season, this mini-season of events will open up some of the big questions about how our society responds to homelessness. Everyday objects & unexpected stories will explore what we haven’t learned from the past and what we could do differently in the future. Includes:
Raw Truths: Forms of Resistance
12 May, time and location TBC
The Museum of Homelessness will open up a unique community setting to find the ways in which people have taken housing into their own hands historically and today.
Raw Truths: Deserving and Undeserving at the Charles Dickens Museum
10 June, time TBC
Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty St, WC1N 2LX
As part of a series of events in collaboration with The Charles Dickens Museum, Museum of Homelessness will lead a session exploring how the city of London treats its poor historically and today.
Cardboard Citizens Creative Symposium
6 May, 10am – 6pm
Graeae, 138 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DY
How did we get here? What do we do next?,
Cardboard Citizens invites participants to a day-long creative symposium to ask ‘What can theatre do about housing?’ Bringing together theatre makers, activists, historians and academics, this day of intervention combines practical workshops, creative presentations and interactive sessions led by those working on the frontline of the housing crisis.
Public Talk: Professor Will Alsop 7PM
23 May, 7pm
The Doodle Bar, 60 Druid St, London SE1 2EZ
Sterling Prize Winner (RIBA) and leading architect Professor Will Alsop will lead this public talk and debate focusing on the role of Architects and Architectural Departments within Local Council Authorities in post-war Britain. He will consider what freedoms architects were given and how those freedoms have changed. What were the results of architectural experimentation within county Departments and how did their work towards an ideal great than themselves contribute to solving the post-war housing crisis?
Pre and post show Home Truths events at The Bunker
Professor Nicholas Crowson (post-show talk): 'Wot no houses?’ The summer of 1946 and the Peoples' Rising
5 May, 9.45pm – 10.15pm
In 1946 the Second World War concluded but politicians and their electorate were left facing the considerable challenges of reconstruction. Nowhere was this more apparent than with housing. By the summer of 1946 tens of thousands of ordinary people had had enough of waiting for a political response. This is a forgotten story of how the British people took matters into their own hands to resolve the housing crisis for themselves.
Raw Truths: The Market (pre-show talk)
11 May, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Cardboard Citizens invites audiences to The Bunker to take part in a one-off pre-show event. The Museum of Homelessness will investigate how homes became investments and the impact this had on the lives of everyday people.
Cardboard Citizens, in partnership with The Museum of Homelessness, will curate a selection of materials including elements from the Museum of Homelessness’ State of The Nation exhibition, photographs and articles from the archives of Cardboard Citizens, housing associations and sector partners. The exhibition will tour hostels and day centres in London, including the 999 Club, Glass Door Homeless Charity, Chelsea and Kensington Methodist Church.
Visit www.cardboardcitizens.org.uk/HTFestival for full listings and to book.
All events with exception of the Creative Symposium are free but require advanced booking.
PLAYS IN THE HOME TRUTHS SEASON
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.
Back To Back To Back
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.
The House With The 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 E V Crowe
It’s 1946, 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.
E V 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.
HOME TRUTHS FESTIVAL OF HERITAGE EVENTS
Visit www.cardboardcitizens.org.uk/HTFestival for full listings and to book.
All events are free but require advanced booking.
HOME TRUTHS PLAYS
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
TRI-CYCLE DAYS (GREEN)
Saturday 29th April, 12:00
Saturday 13th May, 12:00
THREE Cycles / Tri-Cycle Performances
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