None of the Clocks Work – How young people, theatre and Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities have come together to create change
The Race Equality Foundation’s Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC) team have been working with Bridge the Gap Studios, a social enterprise that works with young people and their families in London, to bring together our expertise around parenting within Black Asian and minority ethnic communities together with a youth led agenda for system change. Together, we want to address some of the challenges identified and faced by young people, including community violence and intergenerational trauma.
Bridge the Gap specialises in using the ideas of Forum Theatre in their youth work, to help young people set the scene – mapping out how to get from where they are to where they want to be. We have been supporting their ideas in development with their latest production: “None of the Clocks Work”, which will be showing at Theatre Peckham between 12th and 24th September.
Tsion Martin, Director of Bridge the Gap, trained as an SFSC facilitator just before the pandemic. His mother was an advocate for the model and had delivered the programme herself for many years. Tsion has been vocal in identifying SFSC as one of the inspirations for this project. Keen to address patterns that replicate through generations and how communities, families and care systems can be called on to change what they do for the better, he identifies SFSC as a crucial piece of the puzzle.
None of the Clocks Work is the culmination of a project that is part of a community-led intervention aimed at creating large-scale change. Written and developed by Removing the Blindfold, a youth collective from Bridge The Gap Studios made up of 12-19 year olds; the result is a challenging production following one family through the 1970’s, 1990s, to the present day.
But this project is much bigger than one production. The ambitions of the young people in leading change means that a number of local schools are involved in this work too. Young people from these schools have been offered the opportunity to take part in a programme of work that sees them learning theatre craft: costume, set design, and lighting, ensuring that they learn new skills and are exposed to potential career opportunities in the arts.
The vision also includes panel discussions on the opening and closing night of the theatre run (12th and 24th September) to engage broader stakeholders in the debate identifying what needs to be done to provide safe and nurturing environments for young people. As well as our own Bernadette Rhoden providing a Race Equality Foundation perspective on what the solutions are, the panel will include a representative from Active Communities Network, Violence Reduction Unit, a Clinical Psychologist, a member of the cast and a parent.
The SFSC team will also be offering workshops for parents at Theatre Peckham on each of the Saturdays during the production run (17th and 24th September). These are open to any parent or carer but we are hoping to particularly engage local parents in Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham. We hope that this will include many of those who have attended the play and want to explore the issues that have been raised by it through the lens of SFSC. The workshops will be interactive and utilise scenarios from None of the Clocks Work to hold discussions and explore strategies for change. Workshops are free and can be booked in advance via Eventbrite.
This project has been innovative in many ways and we are proud to have been involved with something that has placed young people front and centre in defining the issues, raising awareness and bringing about change. We hope that local people attend the production in September and come along to our workshops, but particularly encourage practitioners and policy-makers in the space of family work to take the opportunity to attend the show and engage with the discussion.
As None of the Clocks Work shows, the responsibility for healing lies with us all, not just within families and communities, but with the systems around us, social care, education, and criminal justice.
None of the Clocks Work is on at the Theatre Peckham from 12th to 24th September, book here
Panel discussions are taking place on the 12th and 24th September following the show.
Parent workshops are on the 17th and 24th September, book here
Please share the flyers through your networks.
Leandra Box is Programme Manager at the Race Equality Foundation.