Brian Walters caught up with the founders of Outspoken Arts, who are developing a play about a housing development in Brixton.
Theatre company Outspoken Arts are developing a play currently titled ‘Regeneration’. The company founders, Endy McKay and Chetnya Pandya, lived in Brixton for many years, until Endy had to move as the estate she lived on was being redeveloped.
“The play has been in my head since 2010,” says Endy, “I was a resident on an estate in Brixton that’s being regenerated so there’s definitely a personal interest. Living in an area, seeing an area change was interesting to me as a person, as a mother, as an artist. Professionally speaking Outspoken Arts do a lot of theatre which is socially responsive. This was a project where we thought, let’s combine these two roles by working with the community, and then working with professional actors, to deliver a piece with artistic merit, as well as having a social aim.”
They are in the research and development phase, and a sharing of work they’ve developed so far was shown at Ovalhouse Theatre on Friday 24 July, which featured a soundscape, projection, and a group of actors performing both verbatim and scripted material.
“We’re really interested in using theatre to hear voices you don’t normally hear and explore theatre’s conventions. We’ve had thirteen weeks of research and development funded by the Arts Council which has been great, and the next steps of the project would be discussions and thoughts on what we’ve shared today, and a rehearsed reading to test the story and narrative at a later date.”
The play asks questions about social cleansing, the equality gap in London, and the personal set-backs or benefits of a changing area. Endy and Chetnya have held interviews with local residence, councillors, local business and more.
“Regeneration is such a massive issue at the moment. Yes we’re looking at it through Brixton, but I feel it has the potential to tap into much larger issues about capitalism, individualism, and where we’re moving as a society.
“All the material in the play is based on true events, things that are going on in Brixton. Ultimately the interest was about seeing how people in various communities react and relate to what’s going on around them.”
Outspoken Arts are a Community Interest Company, and run workshops and training in schools, offices, theatres and community centres, as well as making plays.
Endy and Chetnya have eleven years experience working as actors and workshop facilitators and are passionate about engaging a diverse range of participants from all ages and backgrounds in dynamic ways.
If you’re a Brixton resident with a story to tell, or if you want to support the project through resources, space or donations, you can contact Endy and Chetnya at www.outspokenarts.com