Current Projects

The Great Austerity Debate

Forum Theatre Project 2016-2018

Pilot Tour: October 2016

National Tour: March-April 2018

Director: Patrick Morris

Partners: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Collaborators: Dr Mia Gray and Professor Susan Smith.

Great Austerity Debate - Web 1

The Great Austerity Debate is a collaboration with Mia Gray and Susan Smith, who are currently engaged in research around the uneven application and effects of austerity.   Patrick Morris wrote and directed a forum theatre piece, A Life in the Week of Megan K., which undertook a pilot tour to diverse venues around the country.  Each venue chose to host a performance for very specific reasons and it is through their interest and goodwill that the events took place.  We toured to the following venues:

  • Cambridge Festival of Ideas – St Paul’s Church
  • Great Yarmouth Community Trust – Priory Centre
  • Ireshopeburn Literary Institute
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of East Anglia
  • Unite the Union, London and Eastern Regional Office.

As in all forum theatre pieces, we involved the audience as “spect-actors” or creative participants, helping to solve problems to the play’s thorny questions.  The performances were largely free and the project was documented on film which you can see below.

Mia Gray and Susan Smith, our two collaborators, toured with the project.  Their areas of research and their questions inspired the content and narrative of the piece and the performances themselves have influenced their ongoing work.  The project will tour again in March 2018.  Read a response here to our performance at Unite the Union in London.  And click here for a glance at some tour stats.

Great Austerity Debate - Web 2

Great Austerity Debate - Web3Forum Theatre was invented and developed by Brazilian theatre director, writer and activist Augusto Boal (1931-2009), most famously articulated in his book, Theatre of the Oppressed.  The event is hosted by the ‘Joker’, whose job it is to encourage ‘spect-actor’ participation without suggesting a specific course of action.  The Joker prods, provokes, questions and challenges people to try out specific suggestions.   In this way, a group of people can ‘rehearse’ different futures and explore which choices might be the best in a given situation.  Forum Theatre aims to empower people to be imaginative, courageous and articulate in their attempts to solve particular social, political or cultural problems.  There are many exponents of Theatre of the Oppressed around the world – we have used Boal’s model as a robust and provocative tool to empower lay audiences to engage deeply with complex academic questions which have clear social and economic connections.

Project Credits:

Performers: Caroline Rippin, John Shield, Bianca Stephens

Composer and Production Manager: Ashley Day

Assistant Stage Manager: Maya Ellis

Filmmakers: Ryd Cook and Carl Peck

Writer, Director & Facilitator: Patrick Morris

All stills photography by Andrew Wilkinson