The Outreach work of iceandfire became a fascination of mine almost immediately upon my arrival to the UK from Canada. I was on the hunt for a company that explored human rights through a verbatim performance medium and I became involved with iceandfire as an intern at the beginning of January, eager to soak up as much information and knowledge Artistic Directors Christine Bacon and Sara Masters.

It is quite easy to sit down with a cup of tea on the tube and read a newspaper article describing various human rights violations happening in far away lands. ‘That’s awful’ one might think and then turn the page, sip on one’s drink, and continue on with the day. The story is dismissed and potentially forgotten.

However, it is quite different to sit in an auditorium and hear a first-hand experience of a human rights violation that has happened (and is likely still happening) to somebody in the UK. Suddenly one becomes connected with the issue, an audience member becomes a witness, and that story in the newspaper now becomes humanized and local. One begins to realize that human rights issues are happening here, at home. The story is no longer easy to dismiss and forget, as the voices put behind these truths are meant to linger, provoke thought, and motivate action.

The impact of iceandfire’s outreach work is unique, impressive, and no doubt difficult to capture in 3,500 words- though this is what I’m attempting. The case study I’m working on will likely capture only a snapshot of AFHR, though I hope it will act as a stepping-stone for a more in-depth analysis of their work as I believe it is worthy of a proper academic investigation. My aim is to write about my developing knowledge and understanding of AFHR’s current theatre practice and how their work is positioned within an applied theatre discourse working with and for vulnerable groups within the UK. I will be drawing from interviews, written documents, and observations to form my study. I hope to shine light on its many strengths, highlight its incredible potential, while also posing critical questions/ recommendations for future improvements.

Off I go!

Chrissi Forte – Student, Central School of Speech and Drama

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