‘The House’ is the second in a trilogy of performance projects exploring family history. It was commissioned by the University of Manchester as part of a research project: ‘Poor theatres: a critical exploration of theatre, performance and economic precarity’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, led by Jenny Hughes.
‘The House’ explores the relationship between performance and welfare regimes past and present, and how this relationship intensifies the extraordinary pressure of not having enough to get by. During the performance, you encounter a series of female characters caught up in the spectacle of welfare, and witness how their lines of escape are imagined, attempted, realised and frustrated.
‘The House’ was the outcome of a collaborative research project that used the creative process of making a performance to explore the relationships between performance, poverty and welfare, particularly focusing on the experiences of women.
‘The House’ draws on my research into my family’s engagements with welfare regimes dating back to the Victorian poor law. My mum was born in a hospital that was previously a workhouse, and my grandmother (‘nana in hospital’) was institutionalised for most of her life.