Forum 4Us

April & May 2012

Forum 4 Us group in a line

A forum theatre project for visually impaired young adults aged 15-30, ran in April and May 2012.

Forum 4Us was Extant’s 2012 young adult’s project funded by the British Council’s Youth in Action programme. We ran this project with our partners Aculco Radio.

British Council logo      Aculco Radio logo

 

A white director shouts angrily but with comic effect, mouth wide and hands splayed. Four white actors smile in the background. Photo in black and white.

Under the direction of Tony McBride of Cardboard Citizens with assistance from Extant’s Christine Laurence, the participants, aged between 15 and 30, worked over 5 weekends during the spring to devise a Forum piece of theatre.

A black male Forum Assistant and a young white female actor perform side by side, smiling in conversation. Five other actors, black and white, look on as audience laughing at them.

A black Forum Assistant stands centrally, fingers splayed expressively as he explains something to the group, who aren’t visible in the shot.

‘Stick it to them’ is the name they gave to the piece that reflects their life experiences as young visually impaired people.

A shot panning across all of the actors who stand next to each other in one long line.

They presented their Forum Theatre piece on Monday 14 May 2012 at the Half Moon Young People’s theatre to an invited audience.

A young white actor playing the role of ‘Teacher’ stands in a long gold coloured overcoat, looking up and reaching for an imaginary object with his right hand.

The audience were encouraged to interact with the actors and discuss and unpick the stories they told. Together they help to find solutions to some of the social challenges that the characters faced.

A black and white close up of a black female actor; seated, right hand held up in line with her face. She stares intently at her hand as it appears to unfold.

 

Young Participants comments:

“Taking part in this project has given me more confidence to deal with difficult social situations and relationships where I feel stifled”

“I’ve thought of new career prospects as a result of taking part in this project”

“This project has helped me to accept my disability more fully, and to begin to use the mobility aids I need, and ask for help when I need it.”

“I’ve made friends, and feel less isolated now that I know other people like me.”

A black and white shot. The director stands alone centre stage, contemplative, hands resting by his stomach and fingers pressed together. His head twists downwards in thought.

Three black actors and one white actor, all male and female, sit together having a conversation. Another actor is in the background relaxing in front of a keyboard.

Two female actors, one white and one black, sit on an imaginary bus, one facing front and the other to the side reading a book. One actor twists round to look at the other, a questioning look on her face and pursed lips.

The black female actor stands reading aloud from a book whilst holding her hand over the head of the seated white female actor, who squirms uncomfortably.

A black and white photo. The black female actor stands reading aloud from a book whilst holding her hand over the head of the seated white female actor, who squirms uncomfortably.

The young white actress sits on the imaginary bus with her head in her hand. The black female actor stands talking to her; she is holding an open book.

On the bus, a white actor with an imaginary pram approaches the young female white actor, who looks taken aback. The black female actor with the book looks round inquisitively.

A black and white close up of a young white female actor staring straight ahead, a line of four actors can be seen in the background.

A close up of a black female actor ‘fixing her face’ with an imagery mirror in her left hand.

A close up of the young male white actor playing ‘Teacher’. As he talks to the group, his hands are resting at his stomach with his fingers pressed lightly together. Photo in black and white.

The male actor playing ‘Teacher’ stands with a grin, looking at his hands which appear to hold something near his chest. Three actors sit behind him, distracted by other things.

The young white female actor stands on the imaginary bus; a black male actor is seated talking to her as she plays with her fingers uncomfortably. The black female actor with the book looks on. Photo in black and white.

A close up of two black male and female actors, one smiling ahead, the other looking behind her.

Two white actors male and female at an imaginary cinema; they stand smiling at each other in conversation.

The director is thinking, his fingers to his lips. Actors wait in the background having a conversation. In black and white.

The director talks to the group.

The director talks to a young white female actor who is expressing herself with hand gestures. Photo in black and white.

A shot of the whole group of actors in a line and smiling as if preparing for a final bow. Photo in black and white

 

Forum 4 Us is the first project that Extant has embarked on with young visually impaired people.  Knowing how deeply effective this form of theatre can be, having used it with visually impaired adults in 2007 (see our Forum Theatre project page).

We have been pleased with the results that this style of theatre has had among a new age group of visually impaired people.

 

Podcasts

Aculco Radio, A South London internet community radio station broadcasting in Spanish, Italian and English, teamed up with Extant to document the Forum 4Us process.  Two documentaries, researched, edited and presented by Liam O’Carroll, with the support of Aculco’s Director Juan Toledo, can be heard by visiting the below links:

Full Programme (.mp3 – 49MB)

Full Play (.mp3 – 74MB)

 

Forum 4 Us Participants:

  • Amin Abdullah
  • Joy Addo
  • Anita Barzey
  • Matthew Bridge
  • Rayon Campbell
  • Keren Cardoza
  • Lynnet Gichini
  • Adara Kabara
  • Jason Monero
  • Tara Nasiry
  • Harrison Ward-Mullis
  • Susie Djouma
  • Suvi Kivinen
  • Courtney Nugent
  • Ewan Waker
  • Ramona Williams
  • Miranda Turner

Forum 4 Us Team:

  • Project Manager: Liz Porter
  • Director: Tony McBride (Cardboard Citizens)
  • Workshop Co-Facilitator: Christine Laurence
  • Writer/Documenter: Louise Jenkins
  • Assistant Project Manager: Cyril Thomas
  • Youth Production Assistant: Keren Cardoza
  • Radio: Juan Toledo (Aculco Radio) and Liam O’Carroll
  • Access Support Team: Kate Lovell, Jenni Halton, Ruby Wild, Claudio Barbosa Freire, Gabriella Honeybud, Louise Dickson

Extant would like to thank:

Anuska Casas Pinto and colleagues at The Royal London Society for the Blind.
Kirin Saeed, Sandy Easton, and Gabriella Honeybud for donating time and services to Forum 4Us.
And everyone else who helped us produce Forum 4Us and recruit participants.

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