“Seeing how leaving supported housing affected them as human beings was quite heartbreaking.”
— Audience Feedback - Carriageworks Theatre
Imagine If entered a research and development phase for new play‘Displaced’ in 2016, led by Artistic Director Francesca Joy and supported by producer Deborah Dickinson, Director James Blakey and Co-Writer Taj Atwal. The story of ‘Displaced’ was borne out of first-hand experience of living within supported housing and the courage it takes to survive in a world that is alien for some, and normal for others.
Life wasn’t one big tragedy, it was punctuated with some of the most inspiring, incredible, and more often than not, hilarious moments, with some of the best friends they could have met. Taj and Francesca bonded over their shared experience and quickly began to realise that they had a mutual vision of writing a story that encapsulated all their memories and experiences.
‘Displaced’ is a multi-platform play that tells the story of homeless teens living within the supported housing system. “The concept of homelessness has broader connotations, for ‘home’ has both physical and psychological meanings” (Homelessness Factfile 2003, Crisis)
Imagine If conducted the first stage of Research & Development held over three weeks in May 2016 kindly supported by The Arts Council England. This R&D consisted of two weeks of research within hostels across Yorkshire; meeting, interviewing and leading drama workshops with the current residents, staff and external support team; all who have their own version of the current system. This assisted the creation of characters, stories and environment that underpinned the initial foundation of‘Displaced’.
A week was then spent at Carriageworks Theatre with six professional actors and a director unraveling our research and trying out scripted and improvised scenes, playing with characters/ensemble movement, physical relationship dynamics and the development of characters.
A supported housing hostel comprises of service users aged 16 – 25, support staff, key workers, administration, security and overnight staff. It’s a home unlike any other and we strive to encapsulate that within our play. We want to continue to explore the dynamics within that hostel, and the life and influences of the characters outside the hostel.
We would like to thank:
Carriageworks Theatre, Horton Housing, SASH, Scarcroft Project, St.George’s Crypt, Foundation Harrogate and Howe Hill Hostel.