Drama see memories flooding back - 2015 floods

September 08, 2016 - 12:00am

Drama see memories flooding back - 2015 floods

“The floods of December 2015 will go down in the collective memory of Lancaster as the days which brought the city together through adversity… Alternative Outcomes’ perspective on that night has come together in a creative expression of community.”

Lancaster & Fleetwood MP, Cat Smith

When the lights went out all over Lancaster in December following Storm Desmond, it brought the community together as rarely seen before.

The atrocious weather conditions put homeless people on an equal footing with others, as thousands faced the kind of adversity and challenges tackled by them on a daily basis.

These experiences will be reflected in After the Floods, an original production by Alternative Outcomes, a theatre company formed at The Dukes in 2013 by a group who access Lancaster District Homeless Action Service.

With familiarity of day-to-day hardships, the group found themselves confidently coping with the challenges of the floods while providing support and assistance to others.

During the following week, they also noticed a change in attitudes as they became a part of the community through their shared experiences.

The Dukes Associate Director, Alex Summers said: “The show will be a celebration of community spirit and of homeless people being part of a society they are often excluded from.”

The audience will be invited into blacked out tents to experience an immersive installation and performance piece exploring all the company’s extraordinary accounts of those 48 hours last December.

Alternative Outcomes Lead Artist, Jon Randall said: “The show will be unlike anything the group have created in the past. We aim to offer an authentic exploration of local stories from the group with a contemporary approach that will blur the lines between performer and audience.”

After the Floods is the brainchild of Dylan Hernandez, an active member of Alternative Outcomes, who suggested the group explore the floods after rehearsals for their 2015 Christmas show were interrupted by the blackouts.

The tent experience is also inspired by the story of one performer’s journey after waking in the night to find the river had risen through his ground sheet whilst camped on the banks of the Lune.

After the Floods has been funded by an Arts Council England National Lottery grant and will premiere at The Dukes on December 5-6 before touring homeless centres in Morecambe, Preston, Blackpool, Liverpool and Manchester.

Schools will be invited to see the show and learn about the experience of street homelessness through secondary school workshops run by Alternative Outcomes.

This project kicks off a broader year-long programme at The Dukes to engage a diverse cross-section of Lancaster’s community in the creation of a second original piece about the floods’ impact called Blackout, scheduled for autumn 2017.