Two Citz Members' reflect this festive period...

Posted on: 16 December 2015

Written by: Molly

As part of the Pret festive sandwich campaign, two of our Members were asked to reflect on their journey with Cardboard Citizens.

“A while ago I moved from a night shelter to a hostel and I really struggled there. I went into a depression and wouldn’t speak to anyone. Eventually I was lucky enough to move and I knew it was important that I started to join different groups, try different things and build up my confidence.

I first found out about Cardboard Citizens when I was invited along to one of their forums for homeless people and others who may be interested in joining. I loved it and when we left, we were given a little book about them to take with us. I was really interested but kept looking at it and then putting it away. I’d just seen all these great people on stage and I wasn’t sure if I could do that too.

Eventually I met more of the team and they were so encouraging that I was brave enough to sign up. That was just over a year ago and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve done Peer Mentoring, where you learn how to help people deal with their problems and worries. I have also been an ambassador where you help with fundraising at the theatres and you help encourage new members from hostels and prisons to join. It’s like being in a family, the space is so welcoming and you can talk to anyone. It’s like a home from home. I’ve joined the writers club and I love that. I also like to go along to the stand-up nights, but I don’t have the confidence to go onstage there yet. It’s something I’d like to build up to."

"I was with the Prince’s Trust for three months through my Youth Worker. I was interested in acting and they managed to place me with Cardboard Citizens. They’ve helped build my confidence up and we’ve worked on performances about issues that affect us, interacting with the audiences. Not your stereotypical type of theatre. We get different people in to talk to us all the time, you learn something new and you socially expand. Cardboard Citizens has helped me get onto the National Youth Theatre’s course, Playing Up. We learn lots about Shakespeare, improvisation, physical performances and things. It builds you up for further education and employment. Some people are naturally good actors, some learn how to be. I’d tried applying for Drama School before then but hadn’t realised that I wasn’t ready. This course is training and conditioning me so that I’ll be ready next time I apply. I used to say no to things all the time, I didn’t want to try new experiences. Then one day my friend, who’s always so optimistic, said that I should try saying yes, that it’ll change things for me. He said, 'You’re really annoying me now, you need to try these experiences, give it a go.' I’d been so in my own comfort zone, in my own world, closing, like, three doors in one day.

I tried saying yes and it’s hard, but it works. I filmed a scene for an independent film the other day. It’s opening more doors for me, I’ve built some connections. Everyone should live their life that way, saying yes to things."

With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded