THE FUTURE OF THE THEATRE
A STATEMENT FROM OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM: ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE CLOSES ITS STAGES UNTIL AUTUMN 2020
PARTNER CASE STUDIES
During the afternoon sessions of the Backstage? Me? national event, attention was focussed on the variety of other arts-based approaches used when working with homeless individuals. Find out more about the practice of our Backstage? Me? partners below.
The Dukes Theatre (Lancaster) and Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service
Digital Sparks: Community Arts North West (CAN) and Petrus (Rochdale)
MISSING VOICES: WOMEN AND YOUNG MEN
Whilst developing the Backstage? Me? national event and online resource, it became apparent that there were two distinct communities whose voices were missing in the building blocks of the partnership and in the case studies from partner organisations: women who have experienced homelessness and young people who have experienced homelessness. We wondered why the Booth Centre drama group was largely male / aged over 35, and started to reflect on why there weren’t more women or young men participating.
The low numbers of women accessing the Booth Centre isn’t because women don’t experience homelessness. Instead, we believe it is more to do with the nature of the service and provision that is required (for example women who are homeless have often experienced domestic violence). 40 years on since the groundbreaking film Cathy Come Home, homeless women continue to endure traumatic homelessness situations and experiences. As Alexia Murphy, Director of New Business and lead on Women's Strategy at St Mungos, stated in The Guardian: "Homeless services are predominantly developed by and for men, because they make up the majority of clients. The women we work with often enter services at a much later stage than men, and when their problems have become more severe and enduring." For further information and examples of good practice in this field please refer to the Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign (a national 18 month campaign to raise awareness of women’s homelessness).
One example of a Manchester-based organisation who provide services for women is The Pankhurst Centre - a women only space that provides a unique environment in which women can learn together, work on projects and socialise. The Royal Exchange have been working with The Pankhurst Centre since 2012 - read more about the partnership here.
Generally speaking men under 25 who are at risk of homelessness in Manchester don’t access the Booth Centre but instead engage with the Men’s Room (an arts and social care agency that works creatively with young men). This is partly due to the provision of the City Centre Project by the YPSF which works with young people experiencing homelessness, but is also linked to the circumstances of sex working and maintaining confidentially.
The Royal Exchange have been working with the Men's Room since 2011 - read more about the partnership here.