Over the last year I’ve been thinking a lot about how we relate to and get to know the communities near to us in south London better and place our work at the centre of their lives. Last year our production of The Death of Ivan Ilyich toured local libraries and engaged new, diverse audiences who might not otherwise have engaged with our work. Our older people’s tour of Ma Kelly went to about 9 community and day centres in November to brilliant and responsive crowd in Merton, Sutton and Tooting.
Both these projects forced us to think about how people engage with our work. Some people are very happy to book a ticket and come along. For others, that financial or social barrier is too much but when they come along to a free pop up or a production hosted in a place familiar to them, they have a great time and want to see more. It seems to me that as a company without a theatre, the advantage – and challenge – we have is that every production requires us to think not only about the show but the context in which it’s going to be received and this is a wonderful opportunity to try different approaches to keep our work and our approach fresh and lively.
So, this October we have commissioned a new play from a wonderful writer to the specific brief that it should be able to pop up anywhere large enough to get a circle to chairs around it. It’s a local story about an inspiring suffragette – Rose Yates – that will be performed by 3 actress and we want to take it as far and wide as possible.
Therefore, we are seeking community hosts.
What does this mean?
The main mission for us is to reach and engage with as many audience members as possible, particularly in Merton, Sutton and Croydon. We’ve already had a fantastic response from local schools who want to host the show work and we will be popping up in libraries across South London but are looking for more host organisations we can work with. There are no costs involved but we ask that you help publicise the show to you group.
Perhaps you run a lunch club, or a community group or a church and are looking for ways to bring people together? Or perhaps you’ve got a book club or coffee morning? Whatever, if you think you could get a crowd that would like to see an hour long show, we’d love to come and see you, so get in touch.