Making theatre with my neighbours

by Jess Thorpe | 1 September 2017

We called our creative experiment The Albert Drive Project

“Art is not merely contemplation, it is also action and all action changes the world, at least a little.”
Tony Kushner, How do you Make Social Change?

In 2012 I started to think about the fact that I didn’t really know many of my neighbours. I live in Pollokshields which is an area in the south side of the city of Glasgow, just across the River Clyde. It’s a very diverse area – a mix of ethnicities, ages and religions all living alongside each other. I had moved to Pollokshields soon after graduating from drama college and had lived there for eight years before I realised I didn’t really know that many of the people living right beside me. I took a train from just outside my house into the centre of the city to work every day and spent very little time engaging with or thinking about the immediate community that was right on my door step. Who were these people? What things did they like? What did they do in their spare time? What kind of things were important to them? Were they the same as me or very different? Did that matter? Why did it matter?

I started to think about these questions more and more with my friends Tashi and Rachel (we run a theatre company together) and so we set ourselves the challenge to get to know all of our neighbours and to see if we could make a piece of theatre with them. We decided to focus our efforts around Albert Drive which is the street that runs all the way through Pollokshields.

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