Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company is bringing us a history of UK Housing in a series of 9 plays, shown in 3 cycles.
The housing crisis in the UK is a major social issue that affects many people in one way or another.
I live in London and I cannot believe how many homeless people I still see living on the streets or how many families I know living in temporary accommodation, many large families living in 1 room in a hotel or B&B or in a cramped flat with very expensive rent.
This is a major crisis, due to the lack of social housing being built, particularly in London, so when I heard about this production I was intrigued to find out more.
The 3 Cycles are as follows;
Slummers 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.
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.
Back2back2back 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 in hospitality are explored in this poetic domestic drama that examines the difference between a house and a home.
The Table 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.
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?
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…
Henrietta 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…
Nostalgia 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.
GRIP 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.
As you can see from the variety in each Cycle, that there is an array of scenarios, set over a variety of generations and years.
You can choose to see 1, 2 or all 3 cycles. See below for dates, times and ticket prices.
Performance dates & times
CYCLE 1 (RED)
24th and 27th April, 3rd, 6th, and 10th May, 19:30
CYCLE 2 (BLUE)
25th and 28th April, 4th, 8th, and 11th May, 19:30
CYCLE 3 (YELLOW)
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
I’ve never seen a production by Cardboard Citizen, but they are an award-winning company & I hear they have a great reputation for ‘forum theatre’. (theatre that empowers the audience).
Off to see Cycle One this week, so will upload a review, very soon.
To learn more about Cardboard Citizens – www.cardboardcitizens.org.uk