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end ov the nineties we were working across the north-east in community arts. we didnt wear a tie, were poorly paid but we made things happen. self-taught, coming from disability, bisexuality, homelessness & more, our creativity wznt valued tho we were allowed to help others in gaining voice. power-plays from within as much as without made it clear we were to offer ourselves as 'community ally' & not discuss our disabilities for e.g. this would allow status quos to continue & individuals rather than collectives to keep hold ov narrow territories.
were hit by a car chased by the police & without help / support ('services', arts, legal etc) couldnt continue working. life happens. gatekeepers in services then work hard to keep yu out, retraumatising. arts largely copy the same power-structure as 'services' (an average artistic director is close to psychiatrist or ward-manager, think about it), try asking them for a voice they then re-retraumatise. lanyard-spreaders ov these worlds unite. restart in west yorkshire having to also contend with librarians (?is a shudder ov librarians their collective noun). held at gunpoint outside our towerblock, without help / support we become homeless (again), sectioned (again), end in a homeless hostel a long way away trying to return to be housed in the north-east & also be heard creatively.
we were fortunate to meet cardboard citizens (homeless / ex-homeless theatre) & Augusto Boal & learn about 'spect-actors' & 'cop-in-the-head', how our brain boils down the essence ov theatre ov the oppressed - a technique ov reframing narratives, regaining voice, rewriting futures. we made it back to the north-east, just where Vici-Wreford-Sinnot did her best supporting us & others collectively help make change via arcadea, & much more recently at Arc Stockton. in recent times others have also helped - including Greyscale Theatre, sound&music, the NewBridge Project, Alma Zevi Venice, Graeae, Third Angel, Slung Low, Museum of Homelessness, Futures Venture radical independent arts fund. Vici wrote the successful application for provoked to tour safely, the first time solo work ov ours has received arts council funding. (2 theatre companys included our writing in their ace-funded work). despite being in the clinically extremely vulnerable category we managed to safely & ethically tour & contribute to local foodbanks, homeless, refugee, trans / queer & other projects along the way. we've also created a body ov work on the shared DNA ov homelessness & disability called 'housing contains the word sing' with & for Museum ov Homelessness & Disability Arts Online (were associate artists with both). provoked ... show was made possible by Third Angel, Slung Low, Museum of Homelessness, & our brilliant access support worker Lindsay. CPT seed commission & Arc Stockton residency also supported the work while the 'set' & e.p. ov sound-art was exhibited thanks to Dolly Sens Art ov Protest in Bedlam; zines & original artworks have also been distributed; & our bilingual (BSL & spoken-english) film cant start revolutions sitting on yr arse has now been viewed over a thousand times.
it took 20year to be supported to safely / ethically tour 'provoked 2 madness by the brutality ov wealth' about some ov those homeless experiences while collectivising & placing it in a historical context & offering 'spect-actors' (active audiences) ways to reframe narratives, regain voice, rewrite futures. cardboard citz said the shows title wz the best ever. its a phrase from Engels conditions ov the working class we read in a homeless hostel after a 'support worker' said 'what dya need books for yr homeless?' Engels was writing about the Seaham miners during the 1840's co Durham miners strike. our show provoked is about revenge. revenge by 13year ov reading, graduating from the open university, 2016. its also about our current council flat subsiding on the Heaton colliery mining disaster ov 1815 where 75 men & boys died underground because the local mine owner cut corners. its also about artist Hieronymous Bosch who painted those visions & torments having watched his home town burn as a child & whose art gave us meaning as a teen when thatcher was provoking us to madness. Bosch's hometown is where most red tape was manufactured binding legal documents to say oi, this matters. red tape saves lives. this show reframes narratives, tells good news stories, invites more 'oppositional defiance disorder' (its in that psychiatric bible, the diagnostic & sadistic manual). housings not difficult, its a human right.
'a moving, powerful, eloquent show.' Slung Low Leeds
'what a beautiful energy yu brought.' Colchester arts centre
'majestic.' MGC Futures
'insightful & imaginative ... lots ov food for thought as always.' Mandala Theatre
'beautiful & important & yr words about small islands will stay with me.' Unfolding Theatre
‘’dizzying & hypnotic, cutting edge social commentary, part creative resistance & part performance. ... spellbinding’’ Museum ov Homelessness
https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/gobscure-reframes-personal-stories-to-create-a-bigger-picture-in-their-latest-show/ DAO review
were so proud ov provoked & those who support us, angry that systems have kept us out until our life is this limited.
there will be a launch ov 4 miniature films from the world ov provoked shot by brettinthecity at slung low leeds, supported by third angel, spring 2022.
what next? again supported by Third Angel & MGC futures, were working on heart-felt - a new solo show about hearts & heartlessness. alongside our two heart-attacks as 'side-effects' ov enforced antipsychotic medication, expect politicians (not much heart), doctor who (two hearts), octopi (three hearts, they produce their own ink, & yu cant burn their libraries - theres evolution!) & edible loveheart poetry. love&rage