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Community arts project finds what connects people across Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:04 28 February 2020

Olly Hawes and Nick Cassenbaum from take stock exchange who are putting together a free community storytelling project at the Kenneth More Theatre on March 8. Picture: Olaf Hiensie

Olly Hawes and Nick Cassenbaum from take stock exchange who are putting together a free community storytelling project at the Kenneth More Theatre on March 8. Picture: Olaf Hiensie

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A group of artists are undertaking a community storytelling project to find the common thread among the diverse people of Redbridge.

They interviewed people from 12 different community organisations to get a snapshot of the borough today for their project You, Me, The World and Redbridge. Picture: Stratford CircusThey interviewed people from 12 different community organisations to get a snapshot of the borough today for their project You, Me, The World and Redbridge. Picture: Stratford Circus

The community arts organisation "take stock exchange" interviewed people from 12 different community organisations, which span a wide range of age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds to get a snapshot of Redbridge today.

Artistic directors Nick Cassenbaum, who grew up in Woodford Green, and Olly Hawes spoke to the groups about their connection to the borough and and the end result is You, Me, The World and Redbridge, which they will perform at the free show at the Kenneth More Theatre on Sunday, March 8.

Olly said: "The biggest thing that's come out of this project is this yearning for community.

"We had one older man from the Jewish community and a young immigrant from eastern Europe and both of them expressed a yearning for community and the obstacles that get in the way.

"It's amazing the things that unite people across the spectrum."

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The seed for the community story-telling project started in 2013 when the pair, along with producer Anna Smith, received a small grant of £250 from Redbridge Council to deliver a small scale project in Wanstead.

They asked people from five different community organisations questions about their relationship to Wanstead.

Olly said: "We wanted to create a dialogue with people that share the same geographic area but don't interact with each other."

"This time around people talked about how much they love the diversity, the green spaces and the vibrancy of the borough but they also talked about the divide between rich and poor."

For the new project they're inviting people to have a communal meal before the performance and encourage everyone to eat with friends and strangers before Nick, Olly and a musician will perform the groups' stories.

The project is personal for Nick because he gets the opportunity to revisit his old home and find out the topics that are most important to people in Redbridge today.

He said: "I don't say this lightly, but the people of Redbridge are amazing and the most important part of this project is to connect with people and showing them that coming together will create some sort of solidarity, so they know they're now alone within their community."

For more information and to book tickets, visit https://redbridgedramacentre.co.uk/RedbridgeDramaCentre.dll/WhatsOn?Programme=255621.

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