Queen’s Theatre partners with National Theatre to stage participatory production of Pericles

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is excited to be working with the National Theatre (NT) on an exciting new initiative, Public Acts.

National Theatre - Photo by Philip Vile

Public Acts is a nationwide initiative to celebrate community and create extraordinary theatre, inspired by Public Works, The Public Theater’s ground-breaking programme of participatory theatre in New York.

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is the first theatre partner for Public Acts which will see a two year partnership between Queen’s Theatre, NT and a number of community organisations across Greater London including local organisation The Havering Asian Social Welfare Association (HASWA). Through these partnerships, members of London’s diverse communities will be invited to take part in regular creative activity and join in the creation of theatre productions.

The first of these will be a new production of Pericles on the NT’s Olivier stage in August 2018. It will feature a small cast of professional actors together with a large community ensemble, who will be cast through their connection with the numerous community partner organisations. The NT has commissioned Chris Bush, a writer with extensive experience working with large community ensembles, to adapt Shakespeare’s Pericles which will be directed by NT resident director Emily Lim.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said, ‘I’ve been passionate about making theatre with communities since long before I became Director of the National Theatre in 2015, and one of the first decisions I took was that this work should become part of our DNA. We’re really excited about Public Acts and working with all our partners over the next two years, coming together as a community of people and of organisations who might otherwise not have met, sharing experiences and learning together through the act of creating theatre.’

Community partners for Public Acts over the next two years will include: Body & Soul, a charity dedicated to transforming the impact of childhood adversity; Open Age, a charity that works with older Londoners to create opportunities for them to connect, learn new skills and combat isolation; Thames Reach a London-based charity helping homeless and vulnerable people to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives; The Havering Asian Social Welfare Association (HASWA) works with all sections of the local Havering community, particularly of Asian origin with specific emphasis on isolated and disadvantaged individuals; Bromley by Bow Centre supports vulnerable young people, adults and families to help create a cohesive, healthy, successful and vibrant east London community, Coram, the UK children’s charity that helps children and young people develop their skills and emotional health, finds adoptive parents and upholds children’s rights, creating a change that lasts a lifetime and Three Faiths Forum (3FF) who work to build good relations between people of all different faiths, beliefs and identities.

The project is generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Sackler Trust, founding supporters of Public Acts. The first 3 years of Public Acts is also supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.

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