London is home to a sprawling combination of communities, cultures, and identities, but how do we genuinely connect on a daily basis? Beyond the superficial, how deeply do we truly encounter each other?
Iris Theatre's series of storytelling workshops and activities culminated in Encountering 1001 Nights, a free interactive sharing event that was put together in a day by director David Gilbert (credits: Frantic Assembly, Cambridge Junction) in a promenade performance featuring Hackney people of all ages and backgrounds.
I produced this bespoke audience development and engagement programme which reached over 220 people who have a connection to Hackney. This strand of work consisted of a series of workshops led by black women facilitators from the borough that enabled the stories and experiences of Hackney locals from all backgrounds to be discussed and transformed into Encountering 1001 Nights.
The project was to go alongside their productionArabian Nights, the first production the company have worked on outside of central London since they were founded over 10 years ago. I worked closely with the Artistic Director and Producer on this process, implementing audience development plans to engage local residents, businesses, students and more with the range of activity on offer – encouraging them to participate in theatre with the aim of them seeing Arabian Nights.
This project went beyond a theatre company flying into an area, putting on a show and disappearing again, but wished to challenge local residents to create meaningful and sustained relationships with each other well beyond the show.