Home Theatre (UK), Theatre Royal Stratford East’s ambitious theatre project that had thirty one-person shows staged in thirty homes across London on Saturday 17th October, is to move into its second stage with a broadcast of all performances taking place on the theatre’s web platform stratfordeast.tv on Saturday 31st October, 2015. From 8am, one new performance will be released every thirty minutes, with more than fifteen hours of theatre in total.
Performances took place in a wide-variety of homes across the capital. Home Theatre (UK) went to a homeless charity in Canning Town, a care home in Newham, a Victorian terrace in Brockley and on to the roof of a flat in Ealing Broadway. The project participated in a surprise celebration for a wife in South Woodfood, a family reunion in Leytonstone and a gathering of neighbours and friends in Battersea.
Home Theatre (UK) took place following a summertime public call-out for hosts, where members of the public from across the capital applied to have a tailor-made performance created for them in their own home. The performances were bespoke and tailored to each of the 30 selected hosts and ranged as broadly as a play on multi-culturalism devised especially for children, to a piece for a journalist based loosely on his own writings.
Audience and host feedback:
Sharon Zhu, a performance host said: “THANK YOU to you and your colleagues for bringing a most memorable production to our house. David Mumeni (the performer) did a fabulous job, and all our audience members – adults as well as little ones – had a wonderful time”.
Paul Evans, a performance host at Genesis Housing Association said: “What a success. The event at Colin Winter House was amazing, Ashley Gerlach (the performer) and the team did a fantastic job. We had 30 people attend and all had a wonderful time.”
The performance artists were supported in the creation of their work by six directors and thirty third-year students from the University of Reading’s Film and Television degree course, who recorded all performances using iPads and iPhones ahead of the broadcast on Saturday 17 October.
Home Theatre is now an international project happening on a global scale working in different geographic contexts. The international Symposium took place on Monday 19 October at Theatre Royal Stratford East, supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Speakers from across the world came together to share their experiences of creating theatre in homes, and how to further develop the notion of using theatre to reach out to people in a non-theatrical setting. Speakers included:
Cora Bissett, Theatre Director and Actor
Simon Sharkey, Associate Director at National Theatre of Scotland
Dr John Gibbs, University of Reading (discussed the digital element of Home Theatre (UK))
Amal Khatib Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, Palestine
Mathilde Lopez Theatre Director discussing her works at National Theatre of Wales
Tessa Walker Associate Director Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Aubrey Sekhabi, Artistic Director of South African State Theatre, Pretoria
Marcus Faustini, Festival Internacional de Cenas em Casa, Rio de Janeiro
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said “Home Theatre (UK) is about telling great stories. It’s an opportunity for artists and London audiences to come together, share a meal and have an open dialogue about their stories and the project. With the International Symposium we took this further by opening up the debate and inviting other artists to come in, talk about what we’re doing and how they might also get involved. We want to share our experiences on this project with other people in the arts and help them to explore how they might use that in their own work with their audiences and communities. Our aim is to open up the arts, to broaden its appeal and reach. We want audiences who regularly experience theatre to do so in new ways, and also to reach out to people who have never been inside a theatre before, and enable them to experience new, something entertaining and hopefully something that will make them realise that theatre is for them. It’s for everyone.”
The International Symposium has generated further interest and is stimulating the conversation around Home Theatre, and how other organisations can learn from it.
The Home Theatre (UK) 2015 project will be streamed to www.stratfordeast.tv on Saturday 31 October from 8am onwards, in 15 hours of continuous broadcast. The broadcast is free of charge to watch.