At a time when immigration and the housing crisis feature strongly in national debates, Arts at Old Fire Station, Music in Detention and Chris Goode and Company will explore the possibility of co-creating theatre with homeless people in Oxford and immigration detainees at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre. The approach will combine theatre and music, handling political themes, keeping participants in the centre and exploring the artistic uses of simultaneous absence and presence.
The project will be led by participants with experience of past trauma and deep insecurity about the future. It will start by asking homeless people and detainees what stories they want to tell; it may, or may not, directly address issues around detention and homelessness.
This phase of the project will enable us to familiarise ourselves with each other’s worlds and research three crucial areas:
- How can we create live theatre that includes performers directly or indirectly who, because they are detainees, cannot be physically present on stage? What is the artistic (and/or technological) solution to enabling the absent to be present?
- How can we enable people at the sharpest end of the immigration debate and the housing crisis to share stories with each other and, crucially, with the wider public? What are the logistical, artistic, ethical and political issues around involving both homeless people and immigration detainees?
- How could the answers to the above lead to an entertaining, high quality piece of theatre which could be piloted at Old Fire Station and go on to become a full scale production with touring potential.
The artistic investigation will be led by three members of Chris Goode and Company in partnership with musicians from Music in Detention. Arts at Old Fire Station and Music in Detention will contribute project management, partner liaison, space, reflection and planning.
Music in Detention has never worked with a theatre maker or venue before and this project is an opportunity to extend its artistic practice and make the humanity of detainees more visible.
Arts at Old Fire Station’s work with homeless people includes the creation of exhibitions and performances in a public setting in partnership with Crisis. This project represents an opportunity to deepen that partnership. Commissioning work is fairly new to the venue – as is working outside the building and exploring digital technologies in performance – and so this project takes them into new territory.
The complex technological and political issues underpinning this project present intriguing challenges for Chris Goode and Company.
|September 2015||Planning and negotiating with Campsfield House (CH) ad Crisis|
|October||CG meet with MID musicians|
|October/November||All partners visit CH|
|November||CG visit music workshop with detainees at CH and Crisis drama workshop with homeless people at OFS. Partners familiarise themselves with each other’s approaches.|
|December||Digital technology research|
|January 2016||Reflection and sharing|
|February||Preparing for next stage|