Cardboard Camps is our programme of residencies taking place around the country. The three-year project aims to build networks of those interested in using arts for social justice, training individuals and organisations in Cardboard Citizens techniques, and hosting residencies with partner theatres around the country.

Each ‘Camp’ will see Cardboard Citizens partnering with a local theatre, which will become a hub for activity that will draw in local expertise, charities, housing organisations, and artistic practitioners. It is the hope that each residency forms the foundations to leave a lasting legacy to bring change for those affected by homelessness in the region.

Cardboard Citizens sparked a fire in me that had been dormant for 10 years

Alex Collins – Participant – Bristol Camp

South West Hub

Bristol Old Vic (Year 1)

The Cardboard Camps residency in Bristol was based at Bristol Old Vic. From a number of outreach workshops a group was formed to create a performance focused around the themes of unethical landlord practice, working environment, the spiral of decline leading to unemployment, eviction and homelessness. The audience then discussed the themes and worked together to come up local policy changes.

Katy Rubin, founder of Theatre of the Oppressed, NYC chaired a legislative theatre panel discussion including:

Cllr Paul Smith, Bristol Cabinet Member for Housing

Val Thompson, Shelter Leader, Spring of Hope Women’s Shelter

Paul Blake, Campaigner, Right to Shelter

Outreach partners include – YMCA, Wild Goose Cafe, Shelter, the Bristol Drugs Project, Spring of Hope and Ron Jones House

Theatre Royal Plymouth (Year 2) 

We launched the Plymouth Camp in January 2020, bringing together key social sector organisations, arts practitioners and public sector agencies including the Plymouth Complex Needs Alliance.

We have delivered training in our creative approaches to staff at local social sector partners including Path Devon, Salvation Army and Shekinah Mission and local arts practitioners, as well as people with lived experience of homelessness that have already experienced TRP’s work.

Participants from Cardboard Camps residencies across the country

North West Hub

Royal Exchange Manchester (Year 1)

The Cardboard Camp in Manchester kicked off with an Arts for Social change meeting and culminated in a performance by people with lived experience of homelessness through our outreach partners. These included Rochdale and Oldham DePaul, Wilson Carlisle House and the Men’s Room, De Paul Central, CentrePoint and Back on Track

The final performance was attended by family and friends of the participants, people who were experiencing homelessness, local social sector staff and policy makers, including the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham

Katy Rubin chaired the Legislative Theatre session, and the panel included:

Roli Barker – Fair Housing Futures
Molly Bishop – Strategic Lead for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping at Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Dr Ruth Bromley – Chair of the MHCC Board
Paul Dennett – City Mayor of Salford
Fee Plumley – Chair of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership’s Arts and Heritage Action Network

The policy ideas that emerged from the audience discussion with the panel are now being taken forward included:

Developing a Greater Manchester Bill of Rights

  • Creating a Greater Manchester definition of what is affordable housing
  •  Taking into account people’s needs and wishes when placing someone in temporary accommodation

North East Hub

Northern Stage, Newcastle

We ran an Arts for Social Change event in January 2020, which showcased fantastic local examples of how the arts are being used for social change in the region,  provided an opportunity for local social sector organisations and arts organisations to connect, and we heard from Newcastle City Council on their work around homelessness and how the Council has engaged with the arts.

We have delivered training in our creative approaches to local social sector staff and arts practitioners as well as people with lived experience of homelessness from the local Fulfilling Lives programme.