Brighton People’s Theatre wants to make theatre in a different way.
We want all our work to be underpinned by theatre maker Joan Littlewood’s concept of a mutually beneficial ‘figure of 8’ that she believed should exist between a theatre and it’s local communities.
“The theatre has to go out into the community, know the people, know its community, feed that back into the work they make, and then you change the work you make because of the people. And therefore the people want to come and see it, because you’re not putting it on for their good, you’re putting it on for them because it’s got them in it. Then that feeds the people because the people have seen something amazing and then it keeps doing this figure of 8.” Stella Duffy
People are changed because of theatre and the theatre is changed because of the people.
Of critical importance to this way of working is that this process is continuous and reciprocal. It is not short term. It is not about ‘fixing’ people. E.g. it does not offer a 6-week project targeting young women to warn them about the dangers of teenage pregnancy through theatre. This is art being instrumentalised for a policy agenda. This is not what we want to do.
We believe in the intrinsic value of the arts and want to extend this value to as many people as possible. We also want to democratise the way in which theatre is produced and consumed in the UK today.
We’re inspired by artists and companies like Bryony Kimmings, Islington Community Theatre, Slung Low, Commonwealth and Duckie, who make cutting edge shows with non-professional performers. We have spent time with them during the research and development of Brighton People’s Theatre to learn how they do it.
Our work would not be possible without the partnerships and relationships we have built with others in the city. We partner with community led organisations such as the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project, the Hangleton and Knoll Project and Due East to build relationships with people who might not ordinarily be involved in the arts.
We also partner with the city’s major cultural institutions, the Brighton Dome and the Brighton Festival. We rehearse and perform our shows at the Dome and our work with the Festival enables us to take a range of shows and workshops into communities that might not usually access the arts.