The focus this year with the community play projects has been planning a Community Play for the City of London. The invitation came from the City of London Corporation's Assistant Director of Neighbourhood and Children's services, Jacquie Cambell. She had seen a community play years ago that we did in MInehead and, knowing the town, was impressed by the legacy the play left, even twenty years after the event. The performances on a Community Play project are just the tip of a very large iceberg, the process is long and as far reaching as we can make it. We'd anticipate a cast of around 100-130 but involvement in the lead up projects 600 - 1,000. Planning a lead in project, as we are now doing, comes out of a response to a consultation and feasibility study which we undertook earlier this year and concluded with a public meeting in April where the community voted in favour of doing the play.
The City is a challenge, it now has barely over 1,000 residents. Images of old London heaving with traders, street venders, Dickensian characters is long gone. On a week end it' feels almost deserted, all the shops are closed and the pedestrian traffic is tiny. Week days is another matter, 300,000 city workers descend on the relatively small square mile The division between the resident area and one of the world's major financial capital is palpable.
The parallel project will run from January or February 2016 through the whole year. I am, at this stage, pretty certain it will be some form of Empty Gallery. The Gallery concept was conceived as a vehicle to bring communities together through developing an exhibition of art, heritage and performance that explores and expresses a community's past, present and future. It is also a means by which the community's ideas can further contribute towards informing a play script. By October we will have a programme planned to submit to the Heritage Lottery.