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Cardboard Citizens launches online project Here.Us.Now.

The eight short films examine UK communities

Us. Here. Now.

Cardboard Citizens, the theatre company that works with actors who have experienced homelessness, has released a collection of short online performances based on the real-life experiences of people from social housing estates.

The Here. Us. Now. films are the culmination of a year-long project that the company says "seeks to challenge misconceptions of social housing by reflecting the diverse experiences of residents and exploring issues such as gentrification, the right to buy and community resilience."

Actors were trained in reporting techniques and worked with private renters, homeowners and social-housing tenants on the estates to record their stories, capturing "a varied picture of British city life".

The testimonies were turned into eight shorts directed by Dorothy Allen-Pickard, which were performed by Cardboard Citizens actors in people's homes and around the London-based estates.

One of the actors, John, told WhatsOnStage: "I came to theatre rather late, six years ago in fact, beginning with Go Between at the Young Vic. I have performed at a variety of other theatres and I have even done a sonnet or two at The Globe.

"I began my involvement with Cardboard Citizens over five years ago, but have been particularly busy with them the last two years, which of course includes Here Us Now. The whole process was so rewarding, from visiting the estates, and interviewing the residents, to the performances and films.

"Verbatim theatre is a real craft in itself. It's all about listening, properly. I found out that the average person only hears a third of what a person says and the brain fills in the gap. You cannot do this with verbatim. You are a conduit and must not become the person but let their voice come through you."

Director Dorothy Allen-Pickard added: "I make films to shine a light on experiences and stories that aren't spoken about enough or are often misrepresented. These films give a genuine voice to people's experiences of social housing and I am hopeful they will spark debate and affect real change."

To watch the performances and mini-documentaries visit cardboardcitizens.org.uk/hereusnow

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