Homeless at Christmas

Published: 16 November 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

A new play at Alphabetti by Artistic Director Ali Prichard, developed by Alphabetti in partnership with homeless charity CRISIS, will tell a story about homelessness at Christmas. Present, a festive show with live music, looks at what Christmas can be like for those in need, but with a message of hope and support.

The play follows Dave on his journey to creating a new Christmas tradition. It’s 23 December and as usual Dave is in the park. It's freezing but he doesn't care—in his head, he is having the time of his life in a Christmas rave. In his head, he is dancing because he wants to. In real life, he is dancing to keep warm.

Dave is brought back to reality by a text from his daughter, a text containing hope and opportunity—the chance to meet his grandson for the first time this Christmas. He dances in real life now because he is happy; this is his chance to get back on track and make amends with his family and create new traditions for himself.

The play explores the challenges and successes that Dave faces in getting clean and off the streets, showing the real difficulties and problems that homeless people can face at this time of year.

The play features live original music, along with some Christmas classics, from Newcastle favourites Diji Solanke, Martha Wheatley and Wilf Stone (Dansi), with musical direction from Mariam Rezaei.

Performed and choreographed by Malcolm Shields, Present will run from 17 to 23 December, including (unusually for Alphabetti) Sunday and Monday.

With support from Arts Council England, Alphabetti Theatre has worked closely with CRISIS members to deliver arts workshops in creative writing, photography and art to produce work focused on the past, present and future, which will be displayed at Alphabetti Theatre during the run of the performance. The creative writing segments that the members have produced will be included in the printed version of the play’s script, which will be available to purchase on the night.