Crush Hate Crime and Just a Bit of Banter
Anti-hate crime week is over and the team at Reality Theatre is taking a well earned rest. We launched the week with the ‘Crush Hate Crime’ Festival, held in two venues in Newport City Centre: Warehouse54, which hosted a day of theatre, guest speakers and acoustic acts, whilst Meze Lounge entertained with a range of metal, punk and ska live bands, all committed to raising awareness of hate crime.
Profits from the ‘Crush Hate Crime’ festival will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity that does some amazing work to try and change attitudes; to date we have made around £170, which will be making its way to the Sophie Foundation this week and which will, in a small way, help them to continue with the amazing work they do.
Mid week, we performed Just a Bit of Banter at the Pen and Wig, Newport, where John Griffiths AM and Adam Smith from Rainbow/Pride spoke to the audience and engaged with the Q & A afterwards. A great response to the play and lovely to see new faces in the audience.
The week ended with the Gwent Police’s ‘Let’s Stand Together’ campaign, held in the Riverfront, Newport, where Just a Bit of Banter was performed to a wonderfully receptive audience, who engaged in the best Q & A we have held to date.
Now, reflecting back on the week, I am struck by the very different responses and approaches to the play by the three different audiences: ‘Crush Hate Crime’ audience and speakers focused on the political, the power of the people to change society, joining together to demand change and create a better society; at the Pen & Wig, the focus seemed to be on the character of Joy, a transwoman who suffers emotional abuse and crisis of identity in the play. The speech made by Adam Smith highlighted the impact of LGBT hate crime, especially poignant when he listed the names and dates of suicide victims. The Riverfront audience raised questions and made comments primarily on the racial and religious elements of the play, portrayed through the character of Priya, a young female Muslim, who suffers racial abuse, but is brave enough to report the crime. The role of the family in society was discussed, with a particular focus on the character of Jane, the racist mother, and her little family unit, as well as the role of social services, the police and the justice system.
Reality Theatre deals only with social issues, aiming to tell the stories of real people in our communities, thus giving a ‘slice of life’ view into how so many people live their lives. We aim to provoke and disturb our audiences in order to engender discussion and debate, frequently challenging ourselves with the content and character depictions. This play has been particularly challenging for all of us, and I feel a great sense of achievement at the end of this anti-hate crime campaign; however, I must say that I also feel a great deal of sadness, that so many people are forced to live their lives like those we have depicted.
Until the next project…