E15

“Finally, for the first time, we are being seen.” In this incredibly powerful and important piece of verbatim theatre, LUNG platforms the voices of the most under-represented members of society as it tells the true story of the Focus E15 Campaign.

An accomplished and moving piece of drama that will stay with you as you walk out of the theatre

Handed eviction notices by their social housing unit, facing skyrocketing private rental rates and forced relocation out of London, 29 single mothers join forces to campaign for their rights. Documenting these real events, E15 is constructed from interviews with charity workers, civil servants, politicians and, of course, the E15 mums themselves. A fantastic ensemble cast assume multiple roles in a performance that is loud, challenging and relentlessly sincere.

Alternating between static monologue delivery and effective, understated choreography, the show’s visual simplicity adds to its emotive power. Moments of humour punctuate the action, giving the show a balanced tone; a demonstration of the ‘eye-brow training’ that council workers receive is especially funny.

The show features an extremely high level of talent in its five actors who are all magnetic as they tell their stories. Special mention must go to Helen Monks who was standing in for Francesca Knight for this particular performance - she was utterly captivating as Sam.

As you walk into the performance space which is plastered in banners and slogans, a protest is in full swing: “Social housing not social cleansing!”. Flyers are given out to the audience and petitions are handed round.

Throughout E15 the audience is continually reminded of the fact that the issues addressed are not confined to the stage, they will not cease to exist when we walk out of the theatre. We are forced to recognise that the characters onstage here actually represent real people whose lives have been changed by these events. Indeed, the show’s effective power is such that during this particular performance a member of the audience was moved to share his own experience of being homeless.

Ultimately E15 is as much a call to arms as a documentary endeavour. It is an accomplished and moving piece of drama that will stay with you as you walk out of the theatre and perhaps (hopefully) even stimulate you to engage with the real-life issues upon which it is training the spotlight. They leave the audience with a clear instruction: “Do something!”. 

Reviews by Iona Gaskell

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'We want social housing, not social cleansing.' Facing skyrocketing rent and forced relocation out of London, 29 single mothers united to confront Newham Council’s gentrification of their hometown. From the streets of Newham to the Houses of Parliament, this bold and pertinent piece of documentary theatre is adapted from the real-life testimonies of the most under-represented and prominent voices on the political spectrum – providing a truthful retelling of the Focus E15 Campaign, Britain’s housing crisis and how one group of women refused to be marginalised. This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.

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