Performing arts students teamed up with local residents to create a play about life in Knowsley.
The students from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) joined with Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT), part of the First Ark Group, in a production which brought together local residents and decision makers.
They worked together to develop the story and KHT residents, from Octavia Court in Huyton, which is managed by SHAP and Sheltered Schemes in Prescot and Whiston, also acted in the final performance.
The result is an interactive piece of theatre highlighting what life is like in Knowsley and where changes could be made to improve the borough for everyone.
“There are many ways that KHT is working to make the borough a better place, and this starts with the people of Knowsley and their aspirations for their communities.
“We want to give residents as many ways as possible to engage with us so that we can work together to keep communities thriving.”
They rehearsed the play, which is for a part of their Community Theatre course entitled ‘Theatre for Democracy’, over a number over of weeks and it was then performed to KHT and Knowsley Council managers, KHT directors and local councillors.
The performance involved music, role playing and interactive voting where members of the audience were asked to give their opinion on a number of local issues such as anti-social behaviour and dog fouling, how they perceive Knowsley and what is important to communities.
Third year community drama student Samuel Erskine, 22, said: “We found similar issues across several of the communities in Knowsley that we worked with. Residents were very passionate about the issues raised. By bringing everyone together with one voice we hoped to make a bigger impact.
Student Jacob Crutchley, 24, said: “We wanted to create a forum for people to have their voices heard, and open up dialogues about issues in communities with local councils, police and other organisations to try to come up with some solutions. Hopefully the forum continues after this project.
“The residents’ acting was brilliant, it was real people with real issues. They don’t have to pretend because it’s real to them which makes it 100 times better.”
One of the performers, Christine Doyle, 71, a KHT resident, said it was a great opportunity to bring different generations together: “We can teach them an awful lot and they can teach us.”
You can view a film of the play here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w79xQi-AToQ