It's International Women's Day, and All The Lights Are On!

Posted on: 07 March 2019

Written by: Flora Newbigin

Flora Newbigin, Citz Programme Delivery Manager writes:

Happy International Women’s Day! All over the world, people who identify as women are coming together to champion the voices, achievements, needs and rights of women. These moments of partnership, unity and solidarity are both exciting and vital to amplify voices that don’t always get listened to.

And at Cardboard Citizens, we are delighted to be part of a new and unique creative partnership, championing women’s issues. All The Lights Are On, which performs next Friday, is the first ever collaborative project between Cardboard Citizens and Clean Break, the women-only theatre company working with women with experience of the criminal justice system. Working with artist Paula Varjack, this project has brought together a group of female Members from both organisations to create a piece of performance based on their lived experience, and posing the question: "What needs to change to improve the lives of women today?" It's a promenade, site-specific piece, performed at Clean Break's HQ, will play with ideas of entitlement to space, hope and freedom. It will draw on film, sound, movement and be driven by the stories the women want to tell.

So why now? For a combined total of 67 years, both organisations have been championing the creative voices of people with lived experience, taking theatre outside of conventional spaces to engage hard to reach audiences and working to push unheard stories into the public sphere to challenge stigma and advocate for change. We recognise we have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with each other, and that together, our work, the voices of our members can only be stronger. We know that the lives and stories of our members are complex. Both homelessness and experiences of the criminal justice system frequently come with multiple other challenges and barriers, which are often interconnected and this is particularly the case for women. This partnership for this project will offer a deeper picture of both issues and how they intersect.

Through collaboration comes new things, new energies and new ideas, which as creative organisations is truly exciting. Through working together, our work, its message and its reach is stronger, better enabling our members to get their art and their stories out to the people who need to see and hear them most.  


Look out for further blogs and videos from the All The Lights Are On rehearsals and performances next week and for the rest of the month. Follow the hashtag #CitzCleanBreak for more.


My journey as an artist continues to be an exciting one. When I was a teenager my dream was to become a theatre director. It led me to move to London to train in technical theatre at RADA, and maybe has been an undercurrent driving me ever since. Finally that dream is becoming a reality, and in the most extraordinary way. Today I have completed my first week at @cardboardcitz developing “All The Lights Are On.” an exciting new performance by an ensemble of thirteen wonderful women, that I am very proud to be directing. Cardboard Citizens and Clean Break, two highly regarded socially engaged theatre organisations, have joined forces for the first time for this project. On March 15, after only 9 sessions working together, (albeit very full days) An ensemble of Members from both theatre companies, will perform a site-specific multi-media performance, that they have devised in this time, informed by their experience of homelessness and/or the criminal justice system. Taking place over the entirety of the @cleanbrk building , it will ask what needs to change to improve the lives of women today I would post the link in my bio but due to the extremely limited capacity of the performance, all three shows are already sold out. Special shout outs to producer @floranewtrue producer of the project, @haase.andi assisting and filmmaker @chuckbluelowry filming both documentation and collaborating to film video that will be used in the performance . . . #devising #theatre #citzbreak

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