Among the reasons that I have chosen The Tempest as the provocation for the work with young people is that it captures and articulates its universal human truths in a form that crosses cultural boundaries and barriers.
The play sheds light on and raises questions of relationship eg between parent-child, lover-loved, carer-caree and oppressor-oppressed roles, loss, personal transformation, fear, resolution, what it is to be free/not free and what it is for a person to find themselves – not of their choosing – in a strange land and what this means to identity and the difference between ́living ́ and ́surviving ́. The message of the piece for me so far is:
It is only by passing through our darkest hour that we truly change.
In 1976, as a child, after years of homelessness we were finally moved to Worlds End, Chelsea from the Trenmar Lodge Hostel for homeless families, Willesden. It was winter. Outside our just-built new home, I announced my response to our arrival into the snow for the world to see.
After the snow thawed, the words still remained, etched into the newly laid turf in letters ten feet high: ´LAWRENCE LIVES HERE´.
In time, the Chelsea Theatre on the Worlds End estate became an oasis of support and of possibilities. Its then artistic director, Francis Alexander, placed trust in me, and gave me the support and resources to initiate and deliver creative projects that would have been beyond my reach otherwise.
Since then, I have maintained my relationship with the Worlds End Estate and Chelsea Theatre. I share the vision of the Chelsea Theatre of realising the potential of engagement with artistic expression to create positive influence in the community and to change lives.
To that end, we are collaborating with Michelle Abbey and Kathryn Stephens-Berry at the Chelsea Theatre to deliver the The Tempest : Strange Lands project for young people to work alongside Company C to develop and perform their own pieces in conjunction with our rehearsals and preview performances of The Tempest.
Click here to find out more about the The Tempest : Strange Lands youth project.
Click here to book tickets for the Etcetera Theatre
Link for tickets at the Chelsea Theatre TBA