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Home Truths: Cardboard Citizens explores the history of housing

Cardboard Citizens, the theatre group that works with the homeless, presents a series of plays about housing written by some of the UK's most exciting playwrights

If you’re reading The Big Issue, the chances are you already have more than a passing interest in issues around homelessness and housing. If theatre is another of your passions, then the latest series of plays from the Cardboard Citizens – a London-based theatre ensemble that has been working with homeless and marginalised people for 25 years – could be right up your street.

Home Truths comprises nine plays, told in three cycles (for the really hardy, all three cycles will be performed consecutively on special Tri-Cycle days), by an ensemble cast of ten actors. The plays, at underground theatre The Bunker near London Bridge station, explore 250 years of housing history.

From Victorian Slums and ideas of the ‘deserving poor’ (Slummers by Sonali Bhattacharyya) to the Notting Hill race riots of 1958 (Put The Schwartzes into De-Stat by Nessah Murthy), squatting in the 1970s (The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency by Heathcote Williams with Sarah Woods) and the all-too-current trauma of PIP testing for the sick and disabled (Grip by Chris O’Connell) – all of housing history is here.

Associate director Caitlin McLeod says the show is for “… anyone who is interested in how theatre can be a vehicle for social change and is interested in doing that in a really active, vibrant and colourful way.

“Cardboard Citizens for me are on the frontline, actively putting into practice the things we all talk about wanting to change,” she adds. “They do it in such imaginative vibrant and really human ways – to make plays that embody the kind of people that don’t usually get a voice on our stages.

Anyone who really enjoys old-school theatre, this is the good stuff

“Anyone who really enjoys old-school theatre, this is the good stuff. This is a group of people in a space, in a live dialogue about what is important in the world.”

The Home Truths series follows Cardboard Citizens’ acclaimed and timely revival of Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home last year – entitled Cathy (pictured above) – which included a sell-out performance at the Barbican and a nationwide tour.

A programme of free public events focusing on issues around housing and homelessness will complement the season – funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £45,000.

Home Truths: An Incomplete History of Housing Told in Nine Plays, April 17-May 13, The Bunker, London SE1. Tickets from £10

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