How does a university theatre become civic centred?

Empowering Community Voices – is a programme of activity which asks the question – how does a university theatre become civic centred?  It has seen music, song spoken word and rap workshops take place over 8 weeks run by community partners, Galeforce Productions Universal Ltd and the Romel Foundation.

This culminates In a community performance on the 8th June, which also includes a performance by Serwah O’Neill a graduating Drama student, on the experience of being mixed-race.  The weekend of the 8th and 9th also sees 12 young people, who have experience of the care system, use verbatim Drama techniques to share their lived experiences.

 Young people record their testimony, which is then listened to by another participant and then, in real time, told to others. There is then a series of free theatre performances in June and July including Dr Natasha Oxley Chiff Chaff Theatre Company, Dave Hockham’s Dead Rabbits Theatre Company tradditional African song and storytelling by BFEG – (Black Female Entrepreneur Group) in collaboration with the Nigerian community  as part of Greenwich’s African Festival.  

The work is attracting interest cross faculty with future collaborations between the Carribean Social Forum and Tracey Reynolds for a wind rush event, and a paper planned in collaboration with the Business School on the challenges of becoming civic centred.  The programme of work has been supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Drama, Theatre and Performance Research Group, the Applied Sociology Research group, Arts Council England, The People’s Palace Project and Woolwich local council.

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