We’re ready to share our programme for Spring/Summer 2022 – Chris Sonnex’s first since joining us as Artistic Director and Joint CEO – alongside our new manifesto.

The new season will include the world premiere of Bangers, a new play by Danusia Samal (writer of Busking It, Out of Sorts) touring to hostels, schools, day centres and prisons across London, ahead of a three-week run at Soho Theatre this summer; Citz Futures Traineeships, a brand new nationwide paid training placement programme; Cardboard Collective, a new initiative for young performers; and a relaunched Members’ workshop programme featuring guest artists: Ola Animashawun, Emma Baggott, Anna Jordan, Lemn Sissay and Nina Toussaint-White. Further details on the new programmes, and how you can get involved, are included below. 

Over the past three decades, Cardboard Citizens has blazed a trail in the field of arts and social justice. Today, it is led by an Artistic Director with lived experience of housing instability and homelessness, and for the first time in the charity’s history, is opening up its entire programme to people experiencing poverty and inequity. This broadening of focus is two-fold: to explore impactful solutions to challenge the systemic causes of homelessness in the UK today, alongside concrete commitments to redress the inequality of opportunity in the performing arts industry. These commitments are outlined in Cardboard Citizens’ new manifesto, created in collaboration with its staff, Board of Trustees and Members.

Chris Sonnex

Chris Sonnex said: “Theatre and art have the most incredible capacity to change things for the better. It can give you a voice or make you feel seen, and at best, allow you to imagine new worlds, ones that you couldn’t have seen before – ones that inspire hope or rebellion or growth. That’s what we aim to do at Cardboard Citizens, enable new worlds for people that watch, participate, or create our work.  

However, working in theatre for people that have lived experience of poverty, homelessness and inequity can seem daunting. With our new programme we hope to change that. Committing to inspire people to watch theatre, enabling a new workforce of creatives and theatre professionals that can be instrumental in helping create a more open, diverse, and vibrant industry. Cardboard Citizens’ new manifesto sets out our mission to make change in the lives of individuals and in their communities. A home for everyone. As theatre should be.”

Our new programme includes:

World Premiere of Bangers at Soho Theatre and on tour

Three people are stood in front of a green screen, laughing with one another. The person on the left is wearing a black durag, white long rolled sleeve shirt, and maroon jogging bottom trousers. The person in the middle has curly black hair and is wearing a triangular patterned yellow, blue, red, and black dress with light brown cardigan over. The person on the right has curled hi-top brown hair with blonde tips, and is wearing a black & silver zipped tracksuit hoodie and orange tracksuit trousers.

Bangers is a new play from award-winning playwright, Danusia Samal (Busking It, Out of Sorts), and a debut for Chris Sonnex as Artistic Director of Cardboard Citizens. A two-hander performed by Danusia Samal and Darragh Hand, with actor and composer Duramaney Kamara as on-stage DJ, Bangers traces the highs and lows of a group of young Londoners navigating love, sex, sexual identity, relationship breakdown and housing insecurity. Bangers is our first co-production with Soho Theatre, where the show will run in the Upstairs space from Monday 13 June to Monday 4 July, preceded by a three-week tour to hostels, schools, day centres and prisons across London.

Citz Futures Traineeship

Two people sit in a rehearsal room laughing and chatting

The Citz Futures Traineeship is a commitment to making the creative workforce more diverse, inclusive and reflective of wider society. This new programme supports people without significant prior work experience and with experience of homelessness, poverty and inequity to take their first steps into the industry. We are offering paid part-time training placements in a range of backstage, production and administrative roles. Last month, Citz Futures opened the first round of applications for placements supporting our upcoming tour of Bangers, and the first four trainees are being appointed this month. This programme is supported by the Foyle Foundation.

Cardboard Collective: Unlocking the power of live performance

A group are dancing on stage - the person in the foreground is holding their hands in the air and is wearing a black tank top and trousers.

Cardboard Collective is a new initiative that has been inspired by the idea that a love of live music can offer a gateway to the discovery of theatre, and that theatricality is a highly transferable superpower.. Open to young people aged 16 to 25, this is an opportunity to take an artistic interest or passion to the next level, to grow experience, skills and networks. Guided through the year by industry professionals, we will demystify the mechanisms of live performance – from marketing a show to producing a gig – building towards a series of live public events.

Emma Baggott, Anna Jordan, and Lemn Sissay OBE join the relaunched Members Programme

A person with shoulder-length blonde hair is looking at camera. They are wearing a black top with white dots across it. Behind them is a suburban street.

Open to anyone experiencing homelessness, poverty and inequity, the Members programme offers a range of theatre courses, masterclasses and professional qualifications, as well as bespoke advice and guidance. The entire programme is free of charge and expenses are offered to remove all financial barriers for participants.  

Launching this season are two brand new year-long courses run as weekly sessions over three 12-week terms: Citz Writers, led by Anna Jordan, whose TV screenwriting credits include Killing Eve and Succession, and Ola Animashawun, a National Theatre Associate, former Associate Director of the Royal Court, and founder of their Young Writers Programme; and Theatre Making, an introduction to acting, directing and movement, led by Emma Baggott (Almeida, RSC, The Bunker). 

The monthly drop-in session, Routes into the Arts, will bring together guest speakers from across the industry to share their insights on building careers, and the fun and creativity-focused monthly Community Drop-in sessions, curated by Members, will enjoy a one-off masterclass from Nina Toussaint-White (Bodyguard, Emmerdale) and from the BAFTA nominated and multi-award-winning writer, Lemn Sissay OBE.

Looking further ahead, we have commissioned a new play from Vinnie Heaven (She’s A Good Boy, Charmane) on the youth trans housing crisis. Further details will be announced later in the year.

Questions and Press Contact

If you have any questions about the new programme, please email mail@cardboardcitizens.org.uk

If you are a member of the press, please speak to our PR representative Jenn Reynolds – jenn@jenniferreynoldspr.co.uk / +44 7736 84 22 37