Amina has just moved to Brighton, with her daughter Darya. She’s doing everything she can to settle into her new home in Whitehawk, but every time she looks out at the sea it doesn’t quite feel like home.
That’s when she finds an invitation to the Community Kitchen, takes a deep breath and a chance, and ventures into a world filled with boisterous bakers, ‘magical’ mixing bowls, and sweet, sour and salty stories.
Brighton People’s Theatre invited our audience to the Community Kitchen to join our ensemble of Brighton-based performers as they served up a joyous, funny, hearty meal made from stories from across the City.
Born and Bread is a fictional story inspired by the stories contributed by the people of Brighton. In 2022 Brighton we had conversations with over 100 people across the City about food, belonging and what it means to call Brighton ‘home’.
From Bangkok to Bevendean, Whitehawk to Mexico City, the stories paint a picture of the City from a perspective never seen before. A love letter to the past, a challenge to the future, revealing who we are today. We shared these stories as part of our research and development process to a sold-out ACCA auditorium in July 2022,
In the year after this first R&D sharing, we ran a series of workshops with the original cast to develop these stories into a full play. After open auditions in April 2023, we cast an ensemble of talented, local, non-professional actors whom we rehearsed with once a week to bring Born and Bread to life.
In September/October 2023, we held four shows at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts; a matinee and an evening performance on each date where we fed our audience as part of the show.
“It made me feel like I’m alive again. It helped tremendously to build my confidence around people. It’s a huge progress for me and I’m so grateful and thankful to BPT who welcomed me and gave me this opportunity.”
Born & Bread R&D cast member
Thanks to Arts Council England, Unity Theatre Trust and People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting this project.
The Development Process
The idea for Born and Bread grew from our 2019 People’s Inspiration Meeting where we invited people from across the City to share ideas for new shows. These ideas were explored in our weekly theatre workshops in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout 2022 Jack Parris, our Associate Director led the creative process to develop Born and Bread into a show. We went out and about across the City talking to people and listening to their stories about food, belonging, and identity. We spoke with over 100 people from all parts of Brighton. The script was born out of these stories, written and directed by Jack Parris, alongside our Guest Director Tanushka Marah.
Participants were actively involved in shaping and contributing to every aspect of the production.
We performed the R&D show at The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) to a sold-out audience in July 2022. 100% of the audience wanted to see us develop the show into a full production. Our Associate Director Jack Parris worked with BPT’s Dramaturg Lou Cope to rewrite the script. We workshopped material at our weekly workshops with cast members.
“Just like bread, it (Born and Bread) has taken the raw ingredients of sometimes very raw actors, and brought out unexpected talents in a brilliant way – and it has given each of us a new joy, and a feeling of connectedness in a city that is sometimes very lonely. And there is no greater joy than making other people happy – BPT does all that and more.”
Born and Bread participant
The photos below were captured by Rosie Powell at Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts in autumn 2023.
Naomi started work on Brighton People’s Theatre in 2015 and established it as a Community Interest Company in 2017. She did this because she was fed up with how out of touch theatre often is and wanted to do something to change this. She has a background in both community development and theatre. She has worked for organisations such as the Hangleton and Knoll Project, Locality, Battersea Arts Centre and The Old Vic. She is a 2019/2020 Clore Leadership Fellow for Theatre and a member of Battersea Arts Centre’s Co-creating Change Network.
Luke Barnes is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and theatre-maker using live performance and film to tell stories and make a good night out that’s also useful as humans and as a community. Highlights include: Freedom Project (Leeds Playhouse), The Jumper Factory (Young Vic), The Sad Club (National Theatre), No One Will Tell Me How To Start A Revolution (Hampstead Theatre), All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (Bush Theatre, Paines Plough Roundabout with Middle Child), Bottleneck (Soho Theatre with HighTide), Chapel Street (Bush Theatre), Weekend Rockstars and Ten Storey Love Song (Hull Truck with Middle Child), and The Saints (Nuffield Theatre).
Lou Cope is a Performance Dramaturg with over 15 years of experience in working with artists, organisations, and academic institutions to creatively and collaboratively develop both their processes and productions. Shows Lou has worked on have won: 2 Olivier awards, The Benois Prize for Dance, The Critics Choice Award, UK Theatre Award, Total Theatre Award, Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award, ACTA Eastern Eye Award, Herald Angel Award & a Lustrum Award. She is also Dramaturg in Residence for South East Dance and works as an Organisational Dramaturg to a number of companies. She is an alumna of the Clore Pulse Leadership course.
John is a set, lighting and prop designer and maker and actor with ten years of previous experience as a stage technician and Stage Manager across the UK and the West End. Currently working as a carpenter and Company Stage Manager for the New Venture Theatre, Brighton. Stage Manager on
award-winning Thirdspace Theatre’s production of Bakkhai 2023. Has to date performed in three productions at the New Venture Theatre and set designed for ‘Pyrenees’ and lighting design for ‘Suddenly Last Summer’.
Guy Hughes is a composer, musical director, and actor with previous experience working with the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, Cheek By Jowl, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman. His recent musical, The Lost Musical Works of Willy Shakes, was included in the Telegraph’s Top 20 shows to see at the Fringe 2019.
George is a soon-to-be graduate of Drama, Theatre & Directing at the University of Chichester. Alongside working for BPT, his debut one-act play ‘Staying’ which he has written and directed is being performed at the Interact Festival in Chichester (June 2023). He has also written, directed and acted in various productions while at university. Outside of theatre, George has produced charity fundraisers for Cancer Research UK and TOFS (Trachea Oesophageal Fistula Support) and has experience of SEN disability awareness. George is also trained in active listening, trauma within arts practice and mental health crisis prevention.
Tanushka was the founder and Artistic Director of Collisions which toured for ten years in theatres and outdoors across the UK and abroad. She was a winner of The Genesis Young Vic Young Director Awards in 2002. Her production of Medea toured international festivals in Cyprus and Albania. Tanushka now works as a freelance director and movement coach and has directed many plays including Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, Macbeth, and Animal Farm. In 2017 she worked with Brighton People’s Theatre as a guest director on Tighten Our Belts. Tanushka runs a youth theatre company Windmill Young Actors, whose production of Berkoff’s Agamemnon won The Outstanding Theatre Award at Brighton Fringe 2017. Find out more about Tanushka here.
Ben has over 20 years experience of design and lighting design for theatre, dance, devised performance, and galleries/installations designs. He is excited about collaboration, communication, participation, sharing, stories, experiences, and ideas. His work has been seen in theatres, opera houses, tunnels, art galleries, community centres, shopping centres, warehouses, wardrobes, woodland, the internet, and a palace. Find out more about Ben here.
Jack is a performer, theatre-maker, writer and facilitator. Prior to his work with BPT, Jack worked as a teacher, musician and actor and experimental film-maker Egg (2016), The Hex (2017) and Words (2018). Jack retrained in Theatre Laboratory at RADA in 2019 and now his practice focuses on co-creating physical theatre through play using embodied approaches influenced through his time working with David Glass Ensemble, Theatre Re, Peta Lily, Gabrielle Moleta Company and Gecko. Jack currently works with the devising ensemble Kreants, Saksi Bisou and Bunkum, whose recent experimental film Dangling Man was in the official selection at the London International Film Festival and the Montreal Film Festival.
Sarah Sayeed is a musician, composer, sound designer and writer with over 15 years of experience working collaboratively with a range of artists and organisations.As a musical artist, her practice focuses around contemporary works that are influenced by a plethora of styles and musical traditions. Sarah has created compositions and sound designs across Western classical choral works, Indian and Bengali classical vocals, instrumental pieces and her first love: contemporary jazz, soul and hip hop. Sarah plays instruments tanpura and shruti, and is the lead vocalist in international duet Myth of Her with violin and electronic artist Anne Eltard (Copenhagen, Denmark). Find out more about Sarah here.
Lillian is an award-nominated theatre director born and bred in Brighton. Her practice celebrates inclusivity and challenges theatre’s boundaries in small and big ways. Highlights include: In A Cave A Voice – Director (Brighton Fringe 2022, nominated for the Brighton International Fringe Encore Award). My Period The Cockblock – Assistant Director (Vaults Festival 2023, nominated for Show Of The Week).
Dani is a freelance stage manager who has trained at the University of Chichester and The BRIT School for Performing and Creative Arts. During this time she has worked on a variety of shows in a variety of roles. Most recently she has completed a Stage Management Placement at SpongeBob the Musical UK Tour. Other Theatre credits include Deputy Stage Manager ‘ Buckets’ ( Showroom Chichester), Lighting Operator ‘ 60 minutes of Mood Swings’ (Showroom Chichester & Brighton Fringe 2023), Followspot for LP Creatives ‘Cinderella’ (Leatherhead Theatre) Followspot for LP Creatives ‘Snow White’ (Leatherhead Theatre) Assistant Stage Manager ‘2020 The Musical’ Tour (Camberley, Leatherhead and Sevenoaks) Deputy Stage Manager ‘ Taming of The Shrew’ (The BRIT School, Brit Theatre), Assistant Stage Manager ‘RENT’ (The BRIT School, Brit Theatre).