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Ayesha's Blog

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Verbatim Theatre

18 November

The provision of social housing. The term “gentrification”. Rising housing prices? Everyone is affected, “rich” and “poor”.

When an area has been neglected, degraded, set on fire… then rises – the renaissance of Brixton! When the ones who helped to re-build the area can no longer afford to live there…what will Brixton become?

I’ve found verbatim theatre a brilliant way to deal with political and complex issues like the provision of social housing and the changing identity of communities. As an actor, I’ve felt intimidated tackling these issues in our new play “Where Will We Live?”. What do I really think or understand about regeneration? What do I really know about social housing?! As I invite people to come and watch the play, I have no idea about their politics on these issues, are they even part of what others see as the problem? I feel safe and comforted because this is a verbatim piece. I can research and find the ethics and philosophy of the real people I am portraying and my job is simple, present it. I don’t have to conclude, on this emotional topic, just leave the audience with these real stories.

An experienced theatre director recently expressed very passionately to me that theatre does not change lives, people do. Our theatre piece is not going to change lives, but we will give our audience a chance to listen, we will offer them all we have found in our research, all we have learnt as a cast. They will hear the voices of a varied spectrum of people sharing their experiences, through us.

Brixton is changing. Verbatim Theatre is essential to capture this change. For this play, “Where Will We Live?” it helps to give a real picture that cannot be objectively seen – the politics of home.

Ayesha Casely-Hayford feat. in "Where Will We Live?" a new verbatim play by Elisabeth Winkler and Lucy Curtis

Ayesha Casely-Hayford feat. in “Where Will We Live?” a new verbatim play by Elisabeth Winkler and Lucy Curtis

Ayesha Casely-Hayford feat. in "Where Will We Live?" a new verbatim play by Elisabeth Winkler and Lucy Curtis

Ayesha Casely-Hayford feat. in “Where Will We Live?” a new verbatim play by Elisabeth Winkler and Lucy Curtis

 

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