For the last four months Contact Young Company and Battersea Arts Centre’s Homegrown Company have been keeping tabs on all things Brexit.
Since we last swung by the Ramping Up rehearsal room, the team met in London to premiere their show at BAC’s Homegrown Festival, the place where ‘young and underrepresented voices occupy all corners’.
Making a show is a difficult task. Making a show about Brexit, a topic that leaves so many of us confused, is even harder. Taking on this challenge, we’ve checked in with the team to find out about their process and the ideas being discussed.
Speaking to the Associate Director, Eleanor Henderson, she said, ‘we wanted to explore the idea of loss around Brexit but in a more expansive and thematic way’.
Initially, shared sessions focused on devising techniques and creating more broadly, but further down the line the group chose to write poetry to explore their ideas. ‘The line “March 29th I lost…” came from George in the London group…’ says Bonnie, Assistant Artist ‘…a happy coincidence’
With the initial Brexit date line as a writing prompt, various ideas were discussed, particularly ideas around agency and loss of voice.
March 29th, I lost my voice, I was denied a choice but it doesn’t matter because we’re young
– Mia K
I never had no choice, only a teen, no voice…
When my passport becomes my prison I’ll keep writing
Many of them expressed frustration with being unable to vote in the referendum two years ago because they were too young. Yet, it has been detrimental to choices they are making for their futures.
While March 29th was an important Brexit day, they also wanted explore other directions. ‘We gave them various prompts, that all had to begin “On March 29th I lost…”. We divided them into three groups, one had to write about an object they’d lost, one had to allude directly to their feelings around Brexit, and one had to think of an emotional loss unrelated to Brexit.’ says Eleanor.
‘We said they could either be true or totally made up if they’d prefer, although nearly all that made it to the final piece were true.’
On March 29th I lost my photo,
The one by my bed on the table,
The one that encapsulates his image so perfectly,
Where we’re both smiling and everything was fine.
– Mia K
While the show asks some tough questions, the company made the decision to set the show during Easter celebrations in spring, a time of new beginnings. While yes, they’re expressing frustration, confusion and loss, they’re also hopeful and the company want that to be clear. In the end, the line becomes ‘March 29th I didn’t lose…’
On March 29th I didn’t lose my drive. Or my passion. Or my life. My goals haven’t changed and I’ll still continue to strive.
‘In the final London shows, the date was changed (with a wink) from March 29th to April 12th, to May 22nd’, says Eleanor ‘… who knows?’
CYC + BAC HOMEGROWN COMPANY: RAMPING UP
The Bread Shed
Fri 3 + Sat 4 May
Having inherited a future they don’t necessarily want, in a country fragmented by beliefs and paralysed by confusion, what do the youth of today have to say about this mess we’re all in?