…the woman and man in the street do not know that they are speaking theatre. Augusto Boal April 16 1931 – May 2 2009
The pioneering Leith community theatre group, Active Inquiry is making its debut with SPACE, the story of Maggie, an ordinary woman who finds it difficult to persuade people in the local community to help her save the neighbourhood park from being turned into a car park. (Next performance Wednesday 13th May).
This could hardly be a more timely moment to perform a play based on the real words, thoughts, and actions of real people. After just a few weeks rehearsal, the first performance of SPACE at the Lighthouse on Saturday (2 May) coincided with the death of Augusto Boal, the revolutionary Brazilian playwright who used theatre to inspire community and political activism – and changed a few laws in the process. (He obviously knew how to activate the community better than most of us.)
Active Inquiry is drawing on the ideas of Boal (perhaps best remembered for creating the Theatre of the Oppressed ) as they develop a unique theatre project in Leith with the help of local actors and people who have never worked on a stage before. You can see the results for yourself in Leith this month and during Leith Festival in June. As Gavin Crichton, artistic director, points out, performances are all free of charge.
SPACE – exploring people’s relationship to the space around them – is at Out of the Blue, Dalmeny Street, on Wednesday 6 May, 7pm. And at Duncan Place Resource Centre, Duncan Place, EH6 8HW the following week, Wednesday 13 May, 7pm.