Inclusive. Interactive. Imaginative
‘2moro?’ Festival is all about now
A future vision of Hackney, cyber bullying, and youth drawn into adult crime were the themes explored onstage by young actors at the thought-provoking ‘2moro?’ Theatre Festival held at Woodberry Down Estate’s Robin Redmond Resource Centre 21 – 24 February 2011.
Three Estate Based Youth Theatres (EBYT’s) came together to create and produce a trio of original and timely scripts of hope, aspirations and intergenerational understanding. The ‘2moro?’ Festival was a Team Hackney funded youth theatre project and the Genesis Housing Group, delivered by Immediate Theatre in partnership with Fairbridge and the Council’s Young Hackney Service. The goal of the ‘2moro?’ Festival was to engage young people in addressing issues related to gun, knife and gang crime.
The cheerful and welcoming circular community hall at the Robin Redmond Resource Centre was transformed for the festival into the dingy inside of a foreboding concrete silo as imagined by set designer Mamoru Iriguchi -- a claustrophobic space shared by audience and actors alike. A dozen realistic security cameras glared down on the unsuspecting audience. Original video, sound effects and music supported multiple themes of repression, challenges, personal responsibilities and hope for the future.
The Road, written by David Lane, developed by the Fusion EBYT actors and directed by Rob Watt was set 11 years in the future in a dystopian Hackney fractured by barbed wire-encircled post code districts and controlled not by gangs, but by armed soldiers enforcing martial law. The young actors portrayed Hackney inhabitants struggling to assert their individuality while making the transition to adulthood and a better future in an East London community stripped bare of its present-day identity.
Juvenile, written and directed by Tony Gouveia in coordination with Shoreditch EBYT, devised their script after being inspired through discussions with a Hackney police officer. The story follows the fictional but all-too believable misfortune of a young man newly arrived on an estate who slips under the influence of a local gang and becomes implicated in a shooting. The script and the actors purposely left questions open for discussion amongst the audience after the performance.
There’s More To Come, created and directed by Tony Gouveia with input from the Woodberry Down EBYT brought to light the subject of cyber-bullying, the stress it causes and the self-harm that sometimes ensues. Given the current real world Dispersal Zone status on the estate that prevents young people from congregating on the streets, cyber-bullying is seen by many young people as a growing risk. The actors brought a chilling believability to the performance.
In total, more than 50 young actors took part in the ‘2moro?’ Festival which was seen by approximately 60 youth group members, many of whom also took part in lively workshops, discussions and an expert panel question and answer session.
The panel discussion, which took place mid-way through the festival on Wednesday, 24 Feb was chaired by Immediate Theatre founder, Jo Carter. The panel members included Chief Inspector Jane Easton from Hackney Police; Cllr Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member for Hackney Youth Services; and Ian Levy who set up the Robert Levy Foundation in memory of his 16 year old son who was murdered in Hackney in 2004. The panel discussed thought-provoking questions and comments from the young audience for over 30 minutes.
The ‘2moro?’ Festival, produced by Immediate Theatre’s Associate Director, Tony Gouveia and Training Coordinator, Rachel Drew has been in preparation for the last nine months through workshops, script development, rehearsals and feedback discussions. Throughout this process, four ex-young offender Peer Facilitators have been instrumental to success of the ‘2moro?’ festival. Daniel Gordon, Ornella Hardie, Seyyid Ozicer and Terrance Smith received professional theatre training, enabling them to co-develop the festival plays and to lead other young people in using theatre to examine alternatives to gun, knife and gang crime as well as bullying issues.
Immediate Theatre’s aim of providing essential mentoring and training for Hackney’s young people continues despite ongoing government funding cuts. Upcoming interactive programmes will include youth theatre, road safety, relationship building, sexual health and anti-bullying. The work of the award-winning charity, which offered issue-based drama projects to more than 7,000 young people last year is becoming even more important against a backdrop of persistent social exclusion and poverty.
Support for Immediate Theatre programmes comes from a wide range of grants, sponsorship and donations. Individuals and businesses that are interested in supporting Immediate Theatre’s work may phone 0207 012 1677 for more information.
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