|A ‘FOOD Bank Generation Game’ is set to highlight the experiences and challenges of the increasing number of people using food banks as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.
Created by Theatre Space North East (TSNE), and commissioned by award-winning arts project The Cultural Spring as part of its Bitesize programme, the show has been produced with the help and co-operation of Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen
Corinne Kilvington, Artistic Director at TSNE, explained: “The Food Bank Generation Game fuses the unlikely components of hunger poverty and classic television game shows to explore the issue of food bank use – to look at the increasing pressures on Sunderland residents who have no option but to use the services.
“We’ve worked with Andrea Bell and her team at the food bank to understand their work, and the needs of users, and we’ve volunteered in order to meet and talk to the wide variety of people who the food bank helps. We learned about the amazing work the Food Bank does, but also about the gaps between services, which cause real problems for people.
“As a legacy, we’re thinking about is how do we get all the organisations involved around a table to discuss how services can be more joined up.
“Our interactive show – think The Generation Game, Supermarket Sweep, Play Your Cards Right – features practical games and tasks, but aims to highlight the stories of food bank users, and issues surrounding the growing need for them in our communities.
“We want to shine a spotlight on the increasing dependency on food banks across the region, but we’ll be doing so through themes such as community, friendship, support and pride.
“We’ve worked hard to bring real stories to life, and move away from lazy stereotypes that are often perpetuated in the media and reinforce the sense of community which is at the heart of the work going on in our communities.”
Jamie Brown, Associate Producer at TSNE, added: “ For many people, food banks are a springboard, not a final destination. They’re there to get people back on their feet, a temporary solution, not a long-term answer, and The Food Bank Generation Game reflects this.”
A portion of all ticket sales will be split between Sunderland Soup Kitchen and The Forage Community Project.
The Food Bank Generation Game will be performed at five community venues next month: 17nineteen on Wednesday, April 12 at 6pm; Thompson Park CA on Thursday, April 13 at 6pm; St Paul’s Church in Ryhope on Friday, April 14; ELCAP in Easington Lane, Hetton-le-Hole on Saturday, April 15 at 5pm and at The Forage Community Project in Westerhope Road, Washington, on Sunday, April 16 at 5pm.
The Food Bank Generation Game is one of four Cultural Spring Bitesize commissions, the other three are:
· Sweet Caroline and the Football Boots from We Make Culture: Laura Brewis, founder and director of We Make Culture, said: “Our show will be an interactive, music-led performance for children and their families. We’ll be working with musicians Paige Temperley and Ashleigh Lowes on the show which will be about a young girl, Sweet Caroline, who wants to be a footballer. To do so she enlists the help of an older neighbour. The songs will be a mixture of original music and some well-known football songs. Sweet Caroline and the Football Boots will be performed at Hetton School on Monday, April 3 at 11am; Washington Millennium Centre on Tuesday, April 4 at 11am ; Monkwearmouth School on Wednesday, April 5 at 11am (sold out); Back on the Map on Wednesday, April 12 at 11am (sold out).
· Milk, Two Sugars from Woven Nest Theatre: Liv Hunt, Co-Artistic Director at Woven Theatre, said: “Our immersive, multi-sensory show is for older adults in care homes, hospices or community centres. Our show is based around buta tea trolley, a popular feature in care homes which are often at the centre of what’s going on. Hopefully the tea trolley will encourage people to stay and have a cuppa and a chat.” The show will be performed one-to-one or in small groups at the following venues: Pallion Action Group on Wednesday, May 31 at 2pm and The Rectory in Houghton-le-Spring on Friday, June 2 at 2pm.
· Redcoat from The Six Twenty: Mel Rashbrooke, Founder and Artistic Director at The Six Twenty, explained: “We’re working with Cozmic 3piphany (correct) a group that gives young LGBTQ+ people in Sunderland a voice. Together, we’re developing and adapting our one-man show Redcoat which was written and is performed by Lewis Jobson on whose experiences the show is based. It’s about identity and belonging.” Redcoat will be performed at: ELCAP on Tuesday, May 23 at 6pm; The Volt in Pallion on Thursday, May 25 at 6pm; Columbia Association on Friday, May 26 at 1.30pm; 1719 on Saturday, May 27 at 6pm and Redhouse Community Centre on Saturday, June 3 at 6.30pm.
The Cultural Spring is looking to replicate the success of a similar project held throughout South Tyneside in 2018.
A selection panel which included The Cultural Spring’s Community Champions, who are Sunderland residents, chose the commissions.
For more information about the commissions, or to book tickets, go to … https://www.theculturalspring.org/bitesize Tickets are priced at £5, which includes a bowl of hearty soup provided by Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and a pasta dish from The Forage.