What is it?
For WELCOME we pair up theatre makers and residents. They meet, and then the theatre maker will have 1 week to create a brand-new piece of theatre especially for their host, inspired by their story and their home. They then perform it in the host’s home, for their host and anyone their host wants to invite.
We then bring everyone together for Act Two - where all the hosts, guests and theatre makers join together, and maybe meet their neighbours for the first time.
Have you done this before?
We ran a pilot project in 2018 with 5 residents and performers (funded by the Higham Hill ward forum) and it went well - we’re now trying to raise enough to take the project to 5 different neighbourhoods in Waltham Forest, including some of the most deprived, to give even more people the chance to benefit from this unique experience.
Who is involved?
The project is being run by directors Derek Bond and Ursula Early and creative producer Catherine Skinner. Derek is a theatre director with credits including Tom Fletcher's The Christmasaurus (Hammersmith Apollo) and the award-winning production of Sweet Charity (Manchester Royal Exchange). Ursula is an actor, director and producer, she is Producer and Programmer for Walthamstow’s CentrE17 and a founded Big Bear Theatre Company. Catherine is an actor and producer, who has worked across theatre and TV, and co-runs The Equilibrium - a company who produce gender-balanced work. All three live are proud Waltham Forest residents. There's more about us on our website.
How will you make it happen?
We've already have a great network of Waltham Forest-based theatre makers (we're always looking to meet more), and we’re going to work with people in the communities of each ward to help us meet hosts - especially those who perhaps haven’t got involved in theatre or culture before but have a great story to tell. To make sure we can pay everyone properly, and keep it totally free for the hosts, we're going to be applying for further funding. We'll be applying to Waltham Forest's Borough of Culture programme, the Arts Council and others - but that's where you come in...!
Why do you need help?
We can't apply to those funders unless we've already got some support. Your support will enable us to apply for match funding - and to make this project happen. It all starts with you!
Will it be good?
You bet. Here’s some of the feedback from our pilot project:
“Such a fabulous idea - a brilliant thing for the community”
“I loved that it brought people together”
“I loved connecting with amazing people who live locally”
“Thank you - a beautiful concept especially in London where it’s so difficult to interact with people”
How can I follow the project?
We're planning to make a short film, documenting the process, and also a podcast of the conversations between the artists and the hosts. We'll make this all available on our website for everyone to enjoy. We'll also be documenting the process on social media.