A pop-up street theatre performance tackling the subject of loneliness and our obsession with using mobile phones, is visiting Age UK centres across Lambeth as part of the Celebrating Age Festival. After spending the summer touring south London, Liverpool, Somerset and cities in Italy, the Cabaret’s final leg comes back to its roots, and the community groups that helped develop it. Age UK Lambeth’s, Celebrating Age Festival runs between 4 and 7 October in various Age UK Centres in the borough.
BeautifulMess theatre company developed the cabaret by working with community organisations in Lambeth including the Age UK centre Vida Walsh in Brixton. They ran workshops with people about their personal experiences with loneliness and friendship, giving the theatre company an insight into people’s lives.
Kati Francis, founder of BeautifulMess who wrote and performs in the show said: “At a time when our cities and towns are so crowded, loneliness rates are higher than ever. It’s staggering and I felt compelled to try and highlight the need that we can all make things better – just by talking to one another, thinking about others and being in the ‘here and now’ rather than seeing the world through a phone or a screen.”
Despite the show’s sensitive topic, it uses puppetry, live music and comedy to entertain the crowds. The show tells the tale of an eccentric bag lady and a stressed businessman who’s paths cross in the high street and despite initial hesitation, forge an unlikely connection. At the start of the performance the ‘businessman’ character is sitting among the public, surprising audiences even more when he starts to perform in a comedy sketch with the ‘bag lady’.
Kati Francis went on to say; “The (Loneliness) Cabaret shows you that no matter your job, your lifestyle or your background we can all share a conversation and some time together – and the benefit that it can make to your day and your life is incredible. It’s so simple yet it’s so necessary.” BeautifulMess have performed the show more than 200 times this summer, with people saying they recognised themselves in the characters in the show.”