This has been a truly remarkable journey so far and one I am really proud to have been a part of. We approached Finn about turning his original concept into an entirely new production on the 7th of January 2013 and less than three months later, we arrived, opening at the Cockpit on April 4th with an entirely new book, a new creative team, new songs, and a very vibrant, talented and wonderful cast.
Finn’s original production of Streets wasn’t based around the riots because it was written before they’d even happened, but the piece focused on gangs and finding an escape from a dark and hopeless situation. To take the original concept and place it slap bang in the middle of the London riots, seemed like the perfect marriage. Because whether you looted, whether you feared it, whether you sneered at your television screen – we all lived it, and we all have an opinion on it.
We, however, wanted to delve deeper, we wanted to look at why? What kind of lives might these people be living? Were they trying to provoke a reaction, or were they reacting to a provocation? Why, a week before the 2011 riots did Chavez Campbell make the statement that he did? - ‘there will be riots, they’ll be riots’? Why is it that some foretold the situation, yet nothing was done to prevent it, and why does it seem that things are only set to get worse, with even more Government cutbacks? Many say that the riots will return, bigger and badder than before, because if you feel you already have nothing to lose, what’s stopping you?
Rather than make a bold political statement, we wanted to put a microscope on a representation of young people living in an underprivileged area, through our characters. What hope do they have? What are they faced with? What options are there? Do you join the system? Do you dodge it? Do you beat it? What’s out there for you? We are all so quick to judge but not so quick to put our feet into the next man’s shoes. Behind every closed door, there is a story, there is reason, there is a ‘why?’ behind the outcome. Every story has its ending, when does the beginning become that end? In creating this piece we just hoped that we might be able to alter an audience members pre-conception, even just sligthtly, failing that we hoped they might feel that they had something to debate or discuss on their journey home.
We believe that STREETS is a new breed of theatre, for a new kind of audience, for a new generation. People didn’t want to write about us, people ignored our emails, and press releases, because we weren’t tried and tested.
This is a show for the people in society who so often have their voices ignored. If we want change, we’ve got to make change. We are one society; ignoring a minority because we feel safe in a majority isn’t going to solve the issues that we feel so free to comment on.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson.
A NOTE FROM TORI ALLEN-MARTIN (Co-Writer of the STREETS book)