Saturday, 17 December 2011

Sticky Labels

Just finished the 'recruitment' stage of No Fixed Abode and I feel the need to rant about labels. How demeaning, destructive and dehumansing they are. 

That’s why this new theatre project at The Core is so important. It gives a platform to those who have lost their voice, their place in our community.  And the participants/actors - the ‘homeless’ ‘teenage parents’, ‘excluded students’, etc, etc, - have just taken their first steps in discovering that their stories and experiences matter.

And believe me, once you listen to them it’s not a label you see but a person, a face, a name. Actually brave people willing to walk into an intimidating large theatre and try a new form of being and communicating together.

Looking beyond the labels is what this innovative theatre production is all about. But that’s a challenge - real life, like real people, is messy and complicated. So unlike most information, entertainment and yes, theatre that we neatly package and passively consume nowadays, No Fixed Abode requires participation and effort from not only its neophyte actors but also its audience (which I’ll get to later). 

This is conventional theatre turned on its head. It is going to take a little explaining because it’s deep but then anything worthwhile in life requires attention doesn’t it? And like every decent creative work it’s also not clear quite where we’re going or how we’re going to get there - or for that matter whose going to take part.  What I do know for sure is that everybody involved in No Fixed Abode is now on a significant journey. And that definitely includes me.

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