Housing misconceptions

Published: 28 March 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Buckingham Palace Credit: Cardboard Citizens
I am not a quitter Credit: Cardboard Citizens
A bit of a divide Credit: Cardboard Citizens

A series of films, The Here. Us. Now., based on the testimonies of three social housing estate residents, has been created by Cardboard Citizens and is now available online.

The pieces, which were filmed in people's homes, celebrate the social diversity of social housing residents and challenge misconceptions about them and the damaging narratives that have arisen around the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Developed using a technique called headphone verbatim theatre, where the actors listen to the voices of the person they represent, the themes of the films also reflect the concerns of those private renters, homeowners and social-housing tenants, such gentrification, right to buy and community.

As a company, Cardboard Citizens works with actors who have first-hand experience of homelessness; the director is Dorothy Allen-Pickard.

Cardboard Citizens' Adrian Jackson said, “the Grenfell Tower disaster has shown how damaging the narrative is that social housing residents don’t matter. These performances challenge those misconceptions by celebrating the diversity of life on social housing estates while showcasing the acting talents of people who have experienced life without a home. We hope this collection will help to change the conversation about social housing and homeless people.”

Here. Us. Now. can be seen on YouTube with behind-the-scenes mini-documentaries available also on YouTube.