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 forthcoming Cardboard Camp programme will include staff training, network events, performances and projects with marginalised and homeless people in Manchester and the North-West.
The following events have been planned:
• Cardboard Camp Planning Meeting
Fri 1 March, 11am-1pm, Royal Exchange Theatre Studio
• Arts for Social Change: Bringing Campaigners & Creatives Together
Thu 28 March 2019, 11am-5pm, Royal Exchange Theatre Front Room
• Forum Taster Forum
24 May or 25 May 2019
Venue: Swan Street Rehearsal Room (47-53 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JY), Royal Exchange Theatre.
• Cardboard Residencies
Dates to be confirmed
How can art and creativity affect social and political change? And how can we, as campaigners or artists, work together to challenge perceptions and affect real social, systemic and political change?
From music, theatre, contemporary art, graffiti and banners, to mass-distributed media such as films and photography; to design and branding; Art and Culture frame our understanding of the world around us – challenging and changing our perception of our world and the issues within it.
We’re inviting organisations from both the campaigning and arts worlds to discuss:
• How people in arts and culture can have a greater and lasting social and political impact with their work
• How campaigners can harness the arts and culture as an essential tool of creating innovative, change-making campaigns
• How we can work together better and become a force for making the world a better place
Confirmed attendees include Sean McAllister and Steve Arnott (from the documentary A Northern Soul), Grime4Corbyn, and With One Voice Festival speaking about the Jigsaw of Homeless Support.
When: Thursday 28 March, 11am-5pm
Where: Royal Exchange Theatre, Front Room
Book online: through Eventbrite here
Cardboard Citizens is renowned as being one of the world's leading Forum Theatre companies.
Join us for a taster and insight into our approach in how to use the Forum Theatre approach to identify barriers, overcome challenges, and engage marginalised groups.
- Practical examples of Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques and tools
- Insight into the use of the Forum Theatre approach with people with lived experience of homelessness, in London and across the country.
- Examples of how the approach can lead to both individual and social changes.
Anyone interested in TO approaches and creative ways of engaging vulnerable people. Specifically, practitioners working in theatre and the arts; public and social sector staff; people with lived experience of homelessness.
Following the training: there will be an opportunity to apply to support the North-West Cardboard Camp - Cardboard Citizens' ongoing programme in the North-West, in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre
The Equal Opportunities and GMCA Districts sections are required because the Royal Exchange Theatre and Cardboard Citizens receives money from a number of public funding bodies (for example, the Arts Council and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation), and we are asked to report back information on the demographics within the network.
Please click here to fill in the form.
Dates: 24 or 25 May 2019
Time: 9.30am-6pm on both dates
Venue: Swan Street Rehearsal Room, Royal Exchange Theatre (47-53 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JY
Creative Residency projects will be brought to vulnerable people in Manchester, exploring the barriers they are facing and identifying solutions, through fun, creative workshops and performances.
These Creative Residencies will be run in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre, Cardboard Citizens and a housing association (to be confirmed).
This work includes bringing intensive Forum Theatre projects, which raise confidence, improve self-esteem, help people overcome personal issues, boost employability and break down barriers, to at-risk communities across the UK. These projects also incorporate staff training, focused around improved customer engagement and better communication between service users and staff.
As part of the Residencies, there will be training of local arts practitioners in forum, enabling genuine legacy work to continue with the group.
Watch this video about Cardboard Citizens’ previous Creative Residencies in Manchester.
When: Dates to be announced in Autumn/Winter 2019.
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.