Theatre performance highlights homelessness

Cathy, a play abiut homelessness, performed at St Helens Central Library
Cathy, a play abiut homelessness, performed at St Helens Central Library

A library’s sold-out theatre performance has been engaging residents on the rising issue of homelessness.

St Helens Central Library hosted a performance of Cathy - a play about one family’s decline into homelessness - last week.

Inspired by the 1996 Ken Loach television play Cathy Come Home, the story broached the sensitive issue of housing and homelessness, and was given the support of homeless charity Shelter.

Cathy was brought to Central Library by inclusive theatre group Cardboard Citizens, which has been making life-changing theatre with and for homeless people for 25 years, often in unique venues like libraries, prisons and hostels.

The play was researched with the support of housing and homelessness charity Shelter and the performance ended with an interactive ‘forum theatre’ debate – an interactive style of theatre that empowers audience members to have their say and change the outcome of the story.

Audience members were encouraged to suggest how different courses of action might affect the outcome narrative and to suggest laws which might improve the situations the characters’ experiences. Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Change was among those who took part. He said: “It was really interesting for the audience to be able to get involved in the performance and try to improve the outcome. The play highlighted how easy it is to find yourself homeless in today’s broken housing market, and the plight of those that do, with a story that is just as relevant and

moving as it was in 1966.”

Event-goers also donated dozens of items to St Helens Foodbank, helping local people in crisis.