On 26 September, as part of our ongoing Violet Nights series, we welcome Cardboard Citizens to Southbank Centre to present their latest theatrical piece; No Box No Label. Ahead of this interactive theatre piece, Beyoncé Meikle of Cardboard Citizens Youth Ensemble gives us an insight into the process behind the work.
Cardboard Citizens is an amazing company that create theatre with and for individuals who have experienced homelessness as a way to tell our stories. Act Now is the young person group of Cardboard Citizens, for people aged 16 to 25. Each of us were given the great opportunity to audition for a role as part of the ensemble for the show. Working with five talented actors alongside a creative team, the devising of a show intended to shine a light on youth homelessness began.
The piece of theatre that we are creating is forum theatre meaning some audience members will get the chance to come on stage, take the role of the protagonist and make decisions to try to change and rewrite the story in order to hopefully achieve a better outcome for this character.
The process began with a simple game of ‘Yes, let's!’ which creates different scenarios that anyone can suggest; these are subsequently improvised into short scenes. Being at the funfair was a particular scenario that stood out for us, leading to us developing it further, adding music, movement, dialogue and new ideas to create a part of our play. It's really cool to be able to see everyone's individual ideas come together and to be able to play around with them and see what we can do.
No Box No Label is a campaign linked to this show which looks at the effect of stereotypes and labelling on young people, especially when it comes to homelessness and mental health. Taking this campaign into consideration, we want to be able to show the effect homelessness can have on mental health, while also looking specifically at hypervigilance which is being in a state of enhanced awareness.
Violet Nights x Carboard Citizens: No Box No Label is a free, but ticketed, performance, appearing in Royal Festival Hall’s Blue Room on Thursday 26 September