Leeds-based theatre company imagine if will stage ‘Is Anyone There?’, an outdoor community theatre performance, at The Holbeck on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August 2021.
‘Is Anyone There?’ is co-devised, bringing together a team of theatre professionals (including Slung Low’s Alan Lane) and members of imagine if’s Phoenix programme. The production will be staged outdoors and will explore themes of social inequality, masculinity, poverty, and class.
Phoenix is imagines if’s resettlement programme delivered in the community which uses the arts to develop key employment and life skills. Phoenix also provides practical support and arts-based opportunities to assist in positive resettlement and maintain motivation to cease offending behaviour.
Artistic Director of imagine if and Producer and Writer of ‘Is Anyone There?’, Francesca Joy, said:
“‘Is Anyone There?’ isn’t about giving our Phoenix participants a voice, because they already have one. It’s about creating a space where they’re listened to and can tell their stories.
“‘Is Anyone There?’ breaks down the traditional barriers of theatre – we’re outside, it’s Pay What You Decide, and our audiences won’t be able to see any difference between our fantastic professional actors and our brilliant Phoenix participants.”
‘Is Anyone There?’ will be the first live show imagine if have staged since Covid-19.
On why it’s important for audiences to experience live theatre again, Francesca added:
“Through Covid, although we’ve all been in the same storm, not everyone has been in the same boat – some people haven’t even had a boat. And all those people will come together for ‘Is Anyone There?’, bringing with them all the pain, hurt and joy they’ve experienced over the last eighteen months. To have that communal connection, that only live theatre can bring, is so important for us all.”
Tamsin Cook, the Community Director of ‘Is Anyone There?’, added:
“Creating ‘Is Anyone There?’ has been a great experience for everyone. We’ve had community members, who have never done this kind of thing before, devising and creating stories, as well as putting in wonderful suggestions for the creative possibilities for the show.
“‘Is Anyone There?’ is such an important opportunity for our Phoenix participants to express themselves on a public stage. Most of them have never performed publicly before and I hope they’ll enjoy the thrill of performing and seeing their ideas come to life as much as the creative team do.”
In addition to making up the majority of the cast, participants from Phoenix are also taking up roles in stage management, front of house and sound design.
Ryan, a Phoenix participant and cast member, said:
“Originally I came across imagine if through Bird on the Wing, [imagine if’s flagship theatre and employability intervention for prisoners due for release] which encourages prisoners to try something different and think differently. I’d never been involved with theatre before – and it was something I’d never considered getting involved in – and I just kept going from there.
“I’ve loved being in rehearsals for ‘Is Anyone There?’. We’ve been listening to each other’s experiences to shape characters, ideas and stories for the show. I hope audiences who come to the show get some new perspectives, maybe reconsider the traditional view of prison-leavers and people with convictions, because we want to challenge the perceptions of who we are.”
Tickets are Pay What You Decide and can be booked at: www.slunglow.org
Free* tickets: We have two free tickets to see this show in return for a written review. If you wiould like to take this offer up please email email@example.com
This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of imagine if