London on Lockdown is a creative record of the first-hand experiences of Londoners experiencing or at risk of homelessness during COVID-19.
In April 2020, our Artistic Director Adrian Jackson began working with a group of Cardboard Citizens Members (people with experience of or at risk of homelessness) on Zoom to read Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year together, partly as a way of reflecting on and documenting our lives through the COVID-19 year we are experiencing. Defoe’s text is a semi-journalistic, semi-novelistic account of the mid-17th century plague, published in 1722, which contains highly prescient parallels with our contemporary context.
Participants were encouraged to document and share their own ‘Journals of the COVID-19 year’ through writing and videos. We have now produced six short films which document the diverse stories of our Members during COVID-19.
Here.Us.Now. is the fruit of a year-long investigation to hear the voices of people living on three London housing estates. The film series looks at the role social housing now plays in modern-day London.
Actors with experience of homelessness listen to the real voices of social housing residents, and speak their words out loud – on occasion watched over by the residents themselves. Filmed with a beautiful, humane eye by director Dorothy Allen-Pickard, the films are often funny, sometimes uncanny, and reveal the joys, the challenges, and the importance of social housing to a thriving capital city.
Cardboard Citizens makes theatre for social change. We empower people with lived experience of homelessness and strive to change society’s perceptions of homeless people. We make theatre for homeless and ex-homeless people and for general audiences. Often our theatre is participatory, informed by the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology. We are the UK’s leading practitioners of this approach. We believe that theatre, whether experienced as audience or participant, can be a space for better understanding ourselves and who we could be, and the world we live in and what it could be. We create work as a catalyst for debate, to influence opinion and stimulate change.