Cardboard Citz give Bristol's young homeless the stage

Posted on: 02 March 2017

Written by: Charlie Marshall

This month we’re working with Bristol based youth homelessness charity 1625 Independent People (1625ip) to run an exciting, three week life-changing project with young people who have experienced homelessness in the city as part of our Cardboard Citizens National Residency programme.

Cardboard Citizens' Terry O'Leary with young peopleThe group, who are aged between 16 and 25-years-old, are working with Cardboard Citz and local arts practitioners from Wyldwood Arts and Stepping Out Theatre to create a piece of Forum Theatre based on their own stories and experience.

With just over a week to go, the group have already named their piece: Remembering Zero. The final result will be performed at Bristol’s Wardrobe Theatre on Friday 10 March at 3pm to invited guests including local Councillors, MPs and other young people in Bristol.

Cardboard Citizens’ National Residency projects bring together groups of homeless or marginalised participants, social sector staff and locally based arts practitioners to explore their issues and barriers through Forum Theatre, creating pieces based on their experiences to be shared with wider audiences, to discuss the issues, raise awareness and identify solutions.

Speaking about the residency, one of the participants, Andrew, said: “At first, I didn’t want to do the residency; I thought it was going to be boring but they got my attention and interest on the first day and I decided to do it.

“It was a very friendly and flexible environment. I love telling people about my experiences and opening their eyes to reality. I have lived in a lot of different environments, some of them nobody knows and probably never will.”

Cardboard Citz Programme Director Michael Chandler explains more, saying: “We're pleased to be working with 1625ip and its young Members to explore the issues they're facing and identifying ways to overcome them. We are using Forum Theatre as an innovative way to tackle the increasing homeless issue Bristol is facing today.  

“This project has brought together a group of local theatre makers, who we hope will be taking forward the work after the final performance to ensure there is a real legacy and offer to those young people and others.

“This Residency follows our tour of Cathy – which was performed in Bristol – and staff and arts practitioner training we provided a few months ago. We hope this is just the beginning of our work in Bristol and the South-west, bringing the Forum Theatre model to a wider audience.”

The Bristol Cardboard Citizens Residency follows 2016’s hugely successful inaugural Manchester residency with young people from St Vincent’s Foyer. You can find out more in the short documentary below.

This project is possible thanks to support from local Bristol partners Wyldwood Arts and Stepping Out Theatre, and funders Arts Council England, Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation, the Rayne Foundation, Bristol City Council and The Gibbs Charitable Trust.


With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded