Royal Exchange Theatre are partnering with Cardboard Citizens as its Manchester partner of creative residences around the country – Cardboard Camps. It seeks to train people in the creative arts, including Forum Theatre, and empowering communities to explore their stories and make real change. The ‘camp’ will see the Exchange become a hub for activity that will draw in local expertise, charities, housing organisations, and artistic practitioners.
Cardboard Camp Manchester draws on the legacy of the three-year partnership between 2011-2014 between the Exchange and The Booth Centre. The result was an online resource documenting the learnings gained from using theatre processes and practice as creative tools to develop the social and personal skills of adults who have experienced homelessness. Read more below.
Working together with Cardboard Citizens, the Cardboard Camp programme throughout 2019 has included staff training, network events, performances and projects with marginalised and homeless people in Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North West.
The programme is built around the following events:
• Planning Meeting - March 2019
• Arts for Social Change: Bringing Campaigners & Creatives Together - March 2019
• Forum Taster Forum - May 2019
• Outreach Workshops in local hostels and homelessness organisations - October and November 2019
• Full time residency at the Royal Exchange Theatre - November and December 2019
• Network meeting - November 2019
• Get Involved, Change The Outcome - December 2019
• Follow up workshops - January 2020
In April 2014, the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Booth Centre delivered Backstage? Me?, a one day national event looking at homelessness and theatre. This event offered an opportunity for debate, discussion and intelligence sharing with other homeless charities, arts organisations, practitioners and social change professionals, exploring the rich variety of conversations, progressions and reflections taking place with people living in poverty.
Read more here.
At the end of the partnership, an online resource was produced by the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Booth Centre, written by Ben Turner (Community Programme Leader) and Gerri Moriarty (project evaluator) with contributions from Janine Waters (lead drama practitioner).
The resource is intended as an honest and informative reflection on a possible approach to this kind of work based on our experiences. Although the resource is pertinent to partnerships between homelessness organisations and theatres (as this was the nature of programme that has informed it), it is also relevant to other organisations and projects which work with adults with complex and multiple needs including mental health, alcohol and drug dependency and social exclusion.
Read more here.