Theatre, with its ability to transport audiences to different worlds and lives, evoke emotions, and provoke thought, always has a unique way of leaving a lasting impact on the audiences who experience it. It’s why we make theatre; to bring people together.
“It exceeded all expectations. It was thoughtful, interesting, incredibly well put together. It was clear a lot of work had gone into the writing, directing and performances. I was really blown away to be honest.”
People were at the heart of Born and Bread from the very outset. The show evolved through stories woven together from over 100 different conversations we held in April 2022. Stories that were gifted by the people of Brighton. And many of those people we spoke to through our research period were part of the audience for the final performances, perhaps hearing their own stories reflected back to them.
“A show of incredible energy. A diverse cast in age, gender and ethnicity. A show that came from Brighton people.”
One of the unique things about Born and Bread was the way it drew the audience into the heart of the show. Audience members sat at small round tables set within our Community Kitchen, right where all the action was. Cast members joined them at their tables at times throughout the performance, sometimes having a chat, sometimes singing a song with them.
“The show was really moving, with highs and lows – just like real life. It was really immersive as you sit around the kitchen table, with performers at every table in the crowd. Funny at times, and tear-jerking at the next. Wonderful experience – not at all what I expected from the theatre.”
At the end of the show, our cast served our audience soup and bread whipped up by the Real Junk Food Project, actually made on stage during the performance. The smells and sounds only added to the audience’s experience of the show.
“Fantastic show, very moving and thought provoking. Loved the cast, the setting, stage design and interaction. Kudos to the Junk Food Project for a delicious soup!”
We fed nearly 700 audience members across four shows over one weekend. Not forgetting that we opened up our dress rehearsal so more people could experience Born and Bread. We had a waiting list of people in the last week wanting to see the sold-out show.
“It was an emotional play which seemed like everyone had been involved in making it. There was a supportive atmosphere between the audience and the actors which was enjoyable. The songs punctuated the story in a fun way. I especially enjoyed the egg and chip song.”
It was magical to see our cast and audience come together and chat over a bowl of soup. We witnessed the sparks of conversations and there was a real sense of community that emerged. It was incredibly powerful to observe the connections that were made through the performances.
“Beautiful show about community and friendship and how food brings us together, connects us to our past, and helps us build better futures. Great ensemble piece with lovely songs.”
Our lead character Amina is a beautiful composite of lots of people’s stories and experiences. Hers is really a shared, collective story of our City. We hoped that this would unearth in our audience members some of the universal elements of what it means to call Brighton home. In fact, 80% of audience members said they felt the story of Born and Bread was relevant to their own lives.
“It was so full of people’s stories of living, or arriving to live, in Brighton and good and hard times. It was active throughout with songs and lively choreographed movement. The stories prompted many personal memories for me – fun ones and difficult ones. It was great to share food at the end.”
After the show, we sent out a feedback survey to everyone who came to watch Born and Bread. We asked people to describe the show in three words. We created this word cloud to highlight some of the things that came to mind for people.
Judging from some of the audience feedback we received, we’re really pleased that it landed with so many people. 100% of audience members said the show was ambitious and many people commented on the high quality of the production and the talent of the non-professional cast members involved.
“ It was interesting, entertaining & an absorbing performance bringing together a diverse community. It told an important human story in a reflective personal & powerful manner. It empowered the actors, gave agency to their stories illustrating the power of theatre to educate & change perceptions.”
It seems Born and Bread left its mark on our audience members. A gentle reminder to us as a team, when we’re caught up in the whirlwind of the creative process, of the power of theatre to captivate, engage, and leave thought-provoking memories for those who experience it.