Theatre in Wales

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Cardboard Citizens presents: Benefit     

Cardboard Citizens presents: Benefit

Written by Sarah Woods | Directed by Adrian Jackson
Aberystwyth Arts Centre Wednesday, 15 April | UK TOUR, 18th March – 10th June

With the Welfare State on the agenda in the build-up to the General Election, this new play explores the lives of three ‘job-seekers’ and the pressures their status puts on them and those around them. In the second part of the evening, using Forum Theatre, the audience is invited to join the debate to look at strategies for the characters which might lead to a better outcome – both in the world of the play and in society at large. 

The play will tour theatres, homeless hostels, day centres, and prisons, creating discussion and dialogue in these venues. Benefit is directed by Cardboard Citizens’ Artistic Director Adrian Jackson and features a cast drawn from Cardboard Citizens members, all of whom have experienced homelessness.

English graduate Rosa is haunted by the history of her Chilean family, Craig suffers from a sex addiction that is destroying his relationship and Patrick is rendered near-speechless by his inability to understand the Kafkaesque world into which he is thrust seeking support. By telling the stories of these individual true-to-life struggles, Benefit looks at the impact of austerity and asks how we can best deal with the world we are now in.

Cardboard Citizens Artistic Director and CEO Adrian Jackson said “The show looks at people living precarious lives affected by features of the modern world such as welfare changes, benefit sanctions and zero hours contracts has.

By taking Benefit to the very places where people are most likely to have been touched by the issues it raises and opening a space for audiences to discuss those them, we hope to have a positive impact in those communities.”Cardboard Citizens has been making theatre with and for homeless people for over 20 years and is one of the world’s leading practitioners of the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology, which is a platform for discussing and enacting change. The technique invites audiences to view a play and then consider how it might have been different - to change the outcome, to debate, to disagree, even to participate in the production. The company also offers workshops and qualification training for homeless and ex-homeless people to grow confidence and learn skills – at the same time as telling untold stories. Cardboard Citizens has won national awards for the positive impact they create and an Evening Standard award for its theatre.

Recent productions include Glasshouse by Kate Tempest (2014), A Few Man Fridays, (2012) and Mincemeat (2009), both directed and co-written by Adrian Jackson.

Sarah Woods is a playwright and activist whose work focuses around choice and change in the face of current global challenges. She regularly works with Cardboard Citizens, most recently with her play The Help, which also toured around hostels in the UK. Her work has been seen at Soho Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, the RSC, BBC TV and radio as well as many regional theatres. Woods’ previous credits also include The Thief of Baghdad (Royal Opera House Linbury Studio in partnership with UNICEF) and My Life with Flu, which aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra in 2014 to critical acclaim.
@CardboardCitz | #BenefitPlay |

Running Time: Play 60 minutes, Interval 15 minutes, Forum/debate 60 minutes | Recommended for ages 16+

Company Information

Directed by Adrian Jackson
Written by Sarah Woods
Soundtrack composed by David Baird
Lighting Design by Elliot Griggs
Design by Lucy Sierra 

Cast Includes: Amy Cartridge, Carly Hutchinson, Mark Lockyer, Herman Stevens
web site

Tuesday, March 24, 2015back



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