What’s been so special about working on Deal vs the people (as a digital artist), is how it allowed me to engage with hundreds of people in Bradford and the City itself. When we went out to ask people to send a message to people in power, we didn’t just slap a whiteboard in their hands and rush a response from them. These interactions we’re deeply emotional events. People reacted with fear, despondency and anger, but also with playfulness, inspiration and hope. Given the opportunity to speak, people we’re extremely generous with their thoughts. These photos are just a fraction of what we could learn about the sentiments of a city. What blows my mind, is that these photo’s will be turned into a piece of public art, that will be experienced by the audience as part of the play. People collaborating with digital collaborating with set design (collaborating with sound too, but I don’t want to give too much away!) It feels like a city-wide collaboration.
Lyn Gardner wrote an article on democratic theatre making, and it was the last paragraph that resonated with me: “they’ve (Shopfront Theatre) stopped looking for what might be an opportunity for them and instead found a way of making opportunities for others“. I think the Deal versus the People achieves just that. it’s an extremely giving play, employing 9 new actors, a £1 ticket option, and a level of public engagement I’ve not witnessed before in a piece of theatre. And it’s staged in the City’s decision making hub – Bradford City Hall’s Council Chambers. We’re inviting people to say what should be said in those chairs. Inviting people to demonstrate the sort of passion that should be displayed in those walls. Inviting people to let those in power know that we’ve had it up to ‘here’ with their lies and bullshit.
Instead of building a community of mutual interest and support, theatres become fixated on building an audience so they can sell more tickets.Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Deal versus the People is a piece of activism. It’s an infiltration of power via art, and the digital experience needed to adapt to that. notstupid.co.uk isn’t just a website to archive the play, it’s the beginning of a campaign to empower people with politics, and passion (starting in Bradford!) that can be taken to Brussels with its message: We’re Not Stupid! It’s not just us.