Being a part of a community is an important job, whether it be your local community or a community where a group of people get together to partake in something they have in common, which in this case, is theatre.
Hopelessly De-Voted is London Bubble’s intergenerational project for this year. It explores the local community’s strong opinions or complete disinterest in the political system. It’s an interesting topic to tackle, especially leading up to the elections in May.
I’ve entered the #HDV project in the rehearsal stages merely to observe, and though it’s nearing the final stages, the atmosphere is still very relaxed. I think this really works for everyone at London Bubble, particularly as this is an intergenerational group project and it tries to get people of varying ages involved in theatre. It’s a good way to show the community that a group of people that may be very different can work together to make something amazing.
The creative director, Peth, always makes sure everyone is feeling relatively comfortable but keeps them somewhat calm and serious so they can actually get down to rehearsing. When something is changed in a scene, whether it be a prop added or a person changing positions, they practice that scene several times until it sticks. If anyone makes an accidental mistake or happens to forget their lines then they start again and repeat it until it’s remembered. With not too much complaining, the participants demonstrate how committed and determined they are to this project by persevering every time something goes wrong.
Their aim this week was to rehearse the Goggle box scene, which gets a lot of its’ reaction from an audience. It focuses particularly on the different views people have on politics and how these views may sometimes clash, which could often happen in a community in real life. With different ideas being thrown around, and a system of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t for a specific scene, this environment makes sure everyone feels as though they’ve contributed to the overall piece. Making Bubble a very good example of a community that works well together for the same final goal.
I interviewed some of the participants about how London Bubble has benefitted them and the local community and there was a lot of agreement on the advantages of the intergenerational group. The fact that it’s inclusive to all sorts of people from the community and people of all ages is a positive as they get to meet people with different life experiences and opinions. It being free was also definitely a plus. One of the participants said that the last intergenerational project got good feedback from the community as people related to it and saw something that they knew, which is perhaps another bonus, as they interview people from the local community and actually use their opinions to show it back to them.
A lot of people have been involved with the project from the beginning, and some people just prefer to do the acting and remembering their lines part of the project. However, others were interested in the foraging aspect of these projects as they get to see it develop from start to finish. Perhaps in some way, the final theatre production can be viewed as a sort of prize to their hard work over the months, and that may be what keeps them all motivated to be more creative; having an end product to look forward to makes sure they stay on task.
Several participants also commented on how open and comfortable this space is for anyone who wants to get involved. For example, London Bubble offers opportunities for people over 25 to get into theatre whereas other places may not. Additionally, it gives the participants a sort of introductory training on theatre which will benefit them in the future. Bubble is something they probably won’t ever forget, whether it aided them in their journey through theatre, or they were just doing it for fun, with one participant even stating that, “Bubble will be a part of you no matter what”.
Though I’m personally not part of the local community, I can see how London Bubble can help make the area a better place and actually impact people’s lives in a positive way, no matter what age you are. It’s a good experience and a great little community to be a part of.