For the past two years People First Merseyside have been working on a Heritage Lottery funded project about the 30 year history of their organisation. Their members have researched this history using archive photos and documents and then designed and curated an exhibition to share the history with the public.
At the beginning of this year, Unity Theatre became People First’s delivery partner for the next stage of the project, which has involved creating a performance to bring all of the strands of research together. The performance has been created by members of the group, sharing their own stories and experiences, led by People First’s Project Development Worker Holly Gilson and directed by actor and theatre practitioner Joe Shipman.
Throughout the summer of 2019, The Advocacy Story will tour around venues in Merseyside and will tell the story of People First Merseyside in an accessible way.
The group will also perform excerpts from the piece for Light Night at Blackburn house on 17th May.
Project Development Worker Holly Gilson:
"Our members have created a performance which is both comic and deeply moving in order to share the highs and lows of running a self-advocacy organisation. Working on the performance has been a great way to consolidate the research that the group has done over the last two years and everyone has really enjoyed bringing The Advocacy Story to life."
"We're doing a play to teach people about the last 30 years and how far we've come. It's going to be original and exciting, so people should come."
From Joe Shipman, Theatre Practitioner:
"People First is a fantastic organisation whose contribution to the betterment of others lives can't be underestimated. I have loved working on this project with it's members who are some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the chance to meet."
From Louise Flooks, Unity Theatre Participation Manager:
"It has been a privilege to work with such a well established organisation as People First to put this performance together. They are exemplary in making real differences and positive contributions to improving the wellbeing of people, the effects of which can be seen on their everyday lives. This project clearly demonstrates the positive impact that quality arts participation has on our communities and their futures."
From participants in the project themselves:
"Working with the Unity has made me realise that people with learning disabilities can do drama, we just have to learn in a different way." -- Siobhan
"I’m really excited about the play because everyone will be able to look at the past of People First and where it came from. I don’t think this history should ever be forgotten." -- Paddy
The Advocacy Story
Unity Theatre, Fri 5th Apr 2019.
Tickets can be booked online here or by calling 0151 709 4988.