Homelessness festival for Coventry

Published: 24 September 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Cast and key creatives of The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency Credit: Joe Bailey

A week-long festival co-produced by people who have lived experience of homelessness is to take place in various venues across Coventry.

HOME: Art and Homelessness Festival is a “celebration of arts and homelessness projects” and coincides with World Homeless Day on Sunday 10 October.

Highlights include the première of Cardboard Citizens’ new musical The Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Estate Agency which will be presented at the Belgrade Theatre and is a co-production between the Belgrade and Coventry UK City of Culture.

The festival is a co-creation between Coventry City of Culture's caring city team, the charity Arts and Homelessness International and the arts and homelessness steering committee, more than half of whom are or have been homeless.

The project aims to nurture and develop skills and provide a legacy of experience to continue creative work beyond the life of City of Culture. This is being achieved through a three-year project to embed arts and creativity into the homelessness strategy of the city council and strengthen and connect arts and the homeless around Coventry.

Chenine Bhathena, creative director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said, "when we set out to create UK City of Culture in Coventry, it was clear that our citizens and communities wanted to have meaty conversations and draw attention to some of the big global issues in the city.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with residents with lived experience of homelessness to discuss the state of the nation in the 21st century.”

The festival will run from Friday 8 until Saturday 16 October.