Thames Reach, a homelessness charity in Camberwell, has joined hands with the National Theatre to for a Public Acts production of Shakespeare’s Pericles, writes Anisha De…
Public Acts is a new initiative from the National Theatre which creates sustained partnerships with communities and theatres across the UK, to produce ambitious new works of participatory theatre.
The production marks the mid-point of a two-year partnership with Thames Reach and seven other organisations who deliver visionary work in their communities, together with theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.
The National Theatre has been working closely with the charity since September 2017 on this programme, conducting workshops, trips and opportunities for exchanges.
Denise Vilanou, Support Worker from Thames Reach, said: “This amazing collaborative opportunity with the National Theatre has had a tremendous impact on Thames Reach’s service users.
“The weekly workshops have provided a space for service users to be themselves, build confidence, think independently, be part of team and most importantly have some fun.
“The feedback I have received from our service users has been heart-warming with one service user saying ‘this is now my family. I do not have any friends outside of this group and this project is the one thing I look forward to every week’.
“This is just one example of how the collaboration with the National Theatre has addressed issues such as isolation and health and wellbeing.”
A company of over 200 people of all ages from across London will join together with professional artists to breathe new life into the classic tale of Pericles, through a musical version, on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage from 26 – 28 August 2018.
Apart from familiar faces in the theatre such as Ashley Zhangazha, Audrey Brisson, and Ayesha Dharker, the cast has been exclusively selected to represent the cultural diversity of London.
National Theatre’s resident director Emily Lim, who will direct the play, said: “Public Acts is founded on the belief that theatre can be a force for change, bringing communities together to experience the power of collective purpose and imagination.
“We are so excited to be celebrating our first year of community partnerships this Summer with Pericles, our first Public Acts production, under the National Theatre’s Artistic Director Rufus Norris.”
Public Acts is inspired by Public Works, the Public Theatre’s ground-breaking programme in New York and by the visionary participatory work of other theatres across the UK over the past decades.
To book tickets visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/pericles