On Cardboard Citizens and Legislative Theatre
Adrian Jackson, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Cardboard Citizens, UK
2,5 hour workshop
Part of the 2018 ATHENS GREECE INTERNATIONAL THEATRE/DRAMA & EDUCATION CONFERENCE
organised by the Hellenic Theatre/Drama & Education Network (TENet-Gr)
Legislative Theatre is the methodology Augusto Boal invented during his time as a vereador (legislator) at Rio de Janeiro City council to use theatre to create law. The same methodology can be used to involve groups and participants in any rule or policy-making process. In this lecture/workshop Adrian Jackson will talk about how cardboard citizens has used LT in its work with homeless and vulnerable groups in the UK to influence policy making at the highest level; practical exercises and video will form part of this workshop.Cardboard Citizens toured a production of a new play, Cathy, inspired by Ken Loach’s film ‘Cathy Come Home’. After the show, audiences were invited to take part in a law-making process and forum theatre session. In this way over 500 suggestions of laws were collected. The top five of these laws were presented in the House of Lords in London’s Parliament building, on the evening of the second reading of the Homelessness Reduction Bill. The company collaborated closely with major homelessness charity Shelter, who was the sponsors of this bill which subsequently became law. Theatre is a particularly enlivening and engaging way to involve the public in discussions of issues of importance, in a manner which draws people in and engages mind, body and soul in the conversations. The company has other lower-key experiences of how this ‘Legislative Theatre’ technique can be used to influence policy. From 2000-2005 it toured a new play, Home and Away, about the reception of migrants and refugee children into London schools, which culminated in a policy making session by the teenage audiences involved, who drafted suggestions of policies their own schools should adopt to make the reception and integration of asylum seeking young people more effective and more pleasant for all involved. The workshop is aimed at activists, theatre makers, and those involved in the life of communities.
Adrian Jackson is the Founder, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Cardboard Citizens, a theatre company working particularly with homeless people, which he founded in 1991. Since then he has directed over 30 productions for the Company, devising and writing many of them. As well as directing and writing many Forum Theatre pieces, Adrian has also directed all the company's larger-scale site-specific productions, including Pericles and Timon of Athens, co-produced with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Beggar’s Opera (with ENO), The Lower Depths (with London Bubble) and the Evening Standard award-winning Mincemeat (also co-writer). He wrote and directed A Few Man Fridays in 2012 about the expulsion of the Chagos islanders which played to critical acclaim at Riverside Studios. In 2015 he directed Sarah Woods’ Benefitandin 2016 an updated version of Cathy Come Home, Cathy, by Ali Taylor, both of which toured nationally. In 2017 he commissioned and co-directed a season of new plays around the history of housing, Home Truths, with new work from 9 playwrights- Stef Smith, EV Crowe, Heathcote Williams, David Watson, Nessah Muthy, Chris O’Connell, Sonali Battacharya, Lin Coghlan and Anders Lustgarten. Adrian is one of the world’s leading experts on Theatre of the Oppressed. He was Augusto Boal's translator on five books Games for Actors and Non-Actors, The Rainbow of Desires, The Legislative Theatre, Hamlet and the Baker's Son (Boal's autobiography) and The Aesthetics of the Oppressed. He led workshops with Boal on many occasions, and they collaborated on The Art of Legislation, an Artangel-sponsored piece of Legislative Theatre at County Hall in London. He has taught this work in many contexts, throughout Britain and Ireland, and many places throughout the world, including master classes across Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa. He was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours. This year (2018), he will revive Cathy in March for Soho Theatre and touring, and then co-directing a film for Artangel.