I am the founder Director of New Vic Borderlines at the New Vic Theatre in Staffordshire. New Vic Borderlines is the theatre’s outreach department responding directly to the needs of the community locally and to the issues nationally and globally which have an impact on the lives of ordinary people. As Director of New Vic Borderlines I focus on working with individuals, groups and communities who exist on ‘the borders’, who are marginalised for various reasons, and as such have reduced prospects to impact on the conditions which affect them, pursue opportunities for positive change, and are deprived of the rights to celebrate as well as contribute to the wider community.
As well as working closely with those existing on the borders my work involves directly statutory organisations and agencies as wells as NGOs who are charged with reducing isolation, disconnection and social exclusion and creating opportunities to bring disparate groups together in a meaningful and productive way.
My approach uses documentary theatre techniques and embraces the historiographies of the people I work alongside, creating opportunities for policy makers and those in power to be able to access and understand the ambitions of these individuals and communities and thereby create an environment where individuals can play a role in shaping their world and realising their aspirations and ambitions.
This work operates on both a micro and macro level and always begins with the importance of validating the language used by participants to describe their experiences, placing the ‘mantle of expert’ upon their shoulders in exploring what changes they would like to see, who should be involved and how to make it happen.
Our participants include young people at risk, young people and adults in the criminal justice system including prisoners, victims of crime, people with mental health issues, people with disabilities, isolated communities including older people and members of the black and minority ethnic communities of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent and Gypsy and Traveller communities and Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
I also design and deliver training for a range of professionals who work within community settings and with the Social Agenda i.e. Police, Magistrates and Judges, Crown Prosecution Service, Teachers, Lecturers, Social Workers, Council Workers and people involved in the third sector and private sector.
My documentary theatre drama, ‘All Our Daughters?, commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Forced Marriage Unit was described by the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the UK as ‘Life-Saving’. My current work ‘Inside Out’ with girls at risk of exploitation is funded by the John Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust.