We are an all-female political theatre company made up of housing activists from Focus E15 Campaign, people at risk of homelessness and people who have experienced the Social Housing system. Our ethos is – DIY Theatre: DIY Resistance – where creativity and activism is for anyone and everyone.
We believe theatre has the power to transform and can be vehicle for community action. We aim to bring people out of isolation and develop collective celebratory practices while creating a platform for marginalised voices. We focus on making a radically Inclusive safe space for women, where everyone has access to the tools for making art. Women bare the brunt of austerity and our role is to collectively challenge these difficulties on and off the stage.
Radically inclusive: we encourage participation from women and non-binary people from a variety of backgrounds, ages and abilities.
Non-elitist: everyone is paid the same and child care is provided so that mothers can be part of our cast and crew.
Accessible: on estates tickets are free and at theatres they are subsidised. Workshop participants get food and travel expenses.
Our debut production, ‘Land of the Three Towers’ tells the story of the 2014 Focus E15 Occupation of four empty flats on Carpenters Estate, of which we were key campaigners. The occupation criticised Newham council for leaving perfectly decent homes empty and demanded they repopulate the Estate. It ran for two weeks and resulted in 23 homes being reopened for people who need them. Using exclusive documentary footage we tell the story of this historical moment in the fight for ‘‘Social Housing, Not Social Cleansing!’’ The International Times gave us 5 stars: ‘‘From a new generation of thinkers who have, in this inaugural work, taken theatre in a whole new direction’’.
In early 2016 Land of the Three Towers enjoyed a sold out run on Carpenters Estate as part of Camden People’s Theatres festival, ‘Whose London is it Anyway’. Our audience feedback stated that 92% of people were more likely to get involved in local housing campaigns after seeing the show. Our coinciding workshops included: Know Your Rights, Theatre of the Oppressed and Eviction Resistance.
Over three weeks in late 2016, again supported by Arts Council England, we visited two estates threatened with demolition: Silchester Estate, Kensington and Cressingham Gardens, Brixton – as well as a sold out run at Camden People’s Theatre. We also expanded our outreach programme, adding ‘Make a Protest Song’ in which we use real words and real stories from residents to collaboratively create a song for the estate.
Land of the Three Towers will next be developed in 2018 when we will work with a new group of non-actors who have experienced housing difficulties, including young people from Silchester Estate and Carpenters Estate. We will interweave personal stories and exclusive material from together we will answer the question: How can we resist social cleansing? This will be performed at London estates resisting demolition and Brighton Fringe, so watch this space!