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News / How can the performing arts bring people from different backgrounds together?

How can the performing arts bring people from different backgrounds together?

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The Faith & Belief Forum

23 / 08 / 18

Eli Tamir, Development and Fundraising Coordinator, the Faith & Belief Forum

After visiting several rehearsals at the National Theatre of the Public Acts production of Pericles, I’m buzzing with excitement and am reminded once again of the power of the arts to bring people of all walks of life together in a seemingly effortless way. Watching a cast of two hundred community performers from all backgrounds and ages ranging from 4-80 years from across London boroughs, I feel a sense of being part of a wider movement for social change. I feel energised by inspiring artists and individuals whatever their ability getting stuck in, challenging themselves to be the best they can be.

There is a unique atmosphere in the rehearsal room of creativity, collaboration and connectivity which seems to say: ‘we are one’, ‘we’re stronger together’. I believe that this production of Pericles will reach the hearts of people with themes that can resonate with us all. A few themes that speak to me include movement and journeys, sense of home and place, connection and loss. All of these subjects are made real through emotive music, poetic words and powerful individual and collective performance thanks to a cast of 200 performers and a huge back stage production and creative team.

Public Acts is a new initiative to create acts of theatre and community. The production of Pericles live on the Olivier stage between 26-28 August marks the centre point of a two year partnership.  The Faith & Belief Forum is proud to be one of the community groups the National Theatre has chosen to partner with as part of the Public Acts project and grateful to be engaging with seven other inspiring community organisations that include Body & Soul, The Bromley by Bow Centre, Coram, DABD, Havering Asian Social Welfare Association, Open Age and Thames Reach.

Between January-April this year a group of 20 participants who included former Faith & Belief Forum interns and programme participants took part in Pizza and Plays – a series of creative writing workshops facilitated by a professional writer and director from the National Theatre. I should mention that none of us were professional actors. We read and discussed iconic plays of the past century which focus on different faith and belief traditions whilst eating pizza together. We also had a go at writing our own plays and performing them. What better way to bring people together? 

I’m extremely proud that following the workshop phase, half of the group entered the unknown and joined the cast of Pericles. This show is an epic celebration of our multicultural city. I wish them all the best this week in preparation for the bank holiday performances.

Performances are taking place during the evenings of 26-28 August on the Olivier Stage of the National Theatre. More information about the production.

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